Saturday, September 3, 2011

What's New at the Farm? Growing Slows Down; Harvest About to Speed Up

It’s been a while since I’ve written this column so I thought I’d start again. There’s so much information on this blog, and we’re all so busy with our gardens and crops, I’d rather not inundate everyone with more information this time of year. As I write this, I look out my window to see the growing slowing down and the harvesting about to pick up.

Many of the crops have been seeded, thinned and weeded, cultivated, sprayed as needed, harvested and plowed under by the first of September. Crops that have come and gone include spring carrots, eggplant, sweet corn, melons and green beans.  The spring lettuce and greens trials have come and gone, the tomatoes are ripening fast and some of the peppers are ready now.  The winter squash and pumpkins are maturing and we’ll be hard at it harvesting before long.

For our seed productions, tomatoes are the first crops to be harvested for seed. We’ll be picking them primarily for the entire month of September, starting next week. Most every day will start out with “What are we doing today?” and to that the answer will be “picking tomatoes”. I like picking tomatoes, but then again I like pulling weeds. It probably stems from the fact I don’t do much of either anymore. Over the past 20 plus years I’m sure I’ve picked lots of tomatoes.

On the farm this week, we’re getting concrete poured in greenhouse # 1. We’ve had this greenhouse since around 1989 and have always had a “dirt” floor. Actually it looks more like course gravel than anything. Tomorrow they’ll pour the first half and next week they’ll finish it up. Concrete is so much easier to work with and to keep clean than “dirt”. Next year we’ll get concrete in Greenhouse # 3 and we’ll be set for a while.

Also on the farm, the onions have been pulled and are drying in the field until tomorrow; then they’ll be crated up and put in a greenhouse with shade cloth to cure.

The last of the weeding is happening now; the fall carrots have been thinned and weeded and final cultivations are occurring in the crops we can get into. Over the next few weeks, depending of course on potential frosts and the ever changing and challenging weather patterns, many fields will be harvested and seeded down. I’m looking at a new, fall cover crop mix, which consists of oats, turnips and oilseed radishes. I’ll let you know how it looks and how it turns out.

As Hurricane Irene was dumping lots of rain on us last weekend, I was left thinking about how more cover crops could have been used to slow or stop erosion around the farm. Luckily we didn’t get the downpours and heavy rain that were predicted so erosion was at a minimum.

Pictures of the farm starting again next week; lots of crops at their peak. Lots of great pictures there already!

Until, next week, Brian

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