Thursday, September 22, 2011

What's New at the Farm? Harvest Begins in Earnest; Field Improvements

What’s New at the Farm?
Well for starters, there is plenty going on at the farm right now. The harvest is well under way with a full plate of tomato seed productions being harvested, processed, and stored in our climate controlled room until we have time to finish the seed cleaning process. We have 33 different tomato varieties to harvest this year, and each one can be picked twice, so that’s a potential 66 harvests in the next four to five weeks. Do the math and that’s up to three harvests per day, each day for five weeks. In theory. Some tomatoes will only get to be picked once. It depends on whether or not all the fruit ripen at the same time. Sometimes we’ll pick a crop twice to get the maximum amount of seed from the crop. This is usually for indeterminates as determinates usually ripen all at once

Besides tomato picking there are still weeds to pull. Many weed species don’t germinate and grow much now, but Galinsoga is the one big exception. It is also known as “quick weed” and needs no dormancy period between maturity of the original plant and germination of the new plant. Galinsoga will thrive right up until a good killing frost. Then it’s done, except in spots that are “protected” from frosts. Then it can continue to thrive until it’s killed.

The big news on the farm is field improvements to one of our fields. Drain tile is being installed to drain the water from the field in the early spring so we can use this ground.  Here’s a shot from last week:
Drainage improvement

Perforated plastic pipe is buried two and a half to three feet deep and covered with fine gravel. This allows the ground water to drain away in the spring so we can get on the fields sooner. Each lateral line feeds into a header line, which dumps the excess water into a ditch at the end of the field. One problem with this field in particular is water; too much in the spring and not enough during the summer and early fall growing seasons. The drain tile will cure the spring water issue and we’re digging a pond to eliminate the summer irrigation issues. Here’s a photo of the work:
New irrigation pond
This pond should hold a minimum of five million gallons of water. This will cover our needs for now and anything we want to do in subsequent years. This picture was taken on the 20th of September; the pond should be completely finished and the ground seeded down by the 1st of October.
Until next week, enjoy the harvest.

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