Friday, July 20, 2012

What’s New at the Farm? 7/20/2012

How time flies! Seems like just a few days ago here we were:

And now here we are today:

Same field just a different view. These are squash and pumpkins mulched with hay and in the background is tomatoes.

Here’s a view of the farm in March:

And here it is today:

I guess my thought for today is where does the time go. Let’s see; in February and March we couldn’t wait for spring to get here. In April and May we accomplished much field work earlier than we can remember and then it rained and rained a lot in the next four weeks. Planting and transplanting took place in two and three day spurts and some field were planted by hand to get the plants in.

Then it seems once we had gotten all that rain, we got two or three weeks of hot and humid weather. Talk about being rough on plants! Many crops like the greens and some of the brassicas went directly to bolt stage so we didn’t get much of a harvest. So far we had a dry & early spring, followed by too much rain, then a hot and humid spell followed by no rain. Sounds like farming to me. Now we’re irrigating just about every day; trying to keep the crops from burning up.

And the critters are enjoying our crops as well;’ we have a large population of grey squirrels here on the farm, along with woodchucks, porcupines and skunks. Yippee! Insects are showing up earlier this year but, and I say this quietly, diseases are being held at bay with the dry and warm weather. Cucumber beetles first flush has come and gone and squash bugs are here and there already – about three weeks early this year.

Until next week, enjoy the summer. Brian

The Bangor Daily News Profiles Johnny's Customer North Branch Farm

The Bangor Daily News recently ran a story, "Young farmers working together on the midcoast," on Johnny's customer North Branch Farm. Located in Monroe, Maine, the farm is operated by Tyler and Seth Yentes who bought the operation at just 20 and 23 years old. 

The farm is diverse in its products and the sharing of responsibilities. Seth spearheads the apple orchard and the fruit tree nursery. Tyler handles the dairy cows. Seth’s wife, Anna Shapley-Quinn, handles the vegetable gardens and their winter community-supported agriculture (CSA) operation. Tyler’s partner, Elsie Gawler, 22, oversees the sheep and fleece.

“We all have our responsibilities but when there is a busy time, like planting vegetables or the orchard, we all work together,” said Gawler.

For larger projects, such as the orchard planting, they enlist the help of friends. This spring, a crew of about 15 people planted about 440 trees in two days.

They have applied for organic certification from the Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association. They hope to receive their certificate this year. 

Read this entire article here at The Bangor Daily website

Visit the North Branch Farm website here

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Photos: Early July at Johnny's Research Farm

It's July, and here in Maine we have had unusually high temperatures recently. Our team at the Research Farm have been busy in the fields, tending to crops and fighting off weeds.

Below is a photo taken at the farm in Albion last night, of the fields being watered.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Crop Suggestions for Fall Planting for U.S Northern States

It's time to look ahead to fall and winter markets, yet, it may still be so hot you just don't want to do anything! Although it may seem early to begin thinking about fall crops, in most of the United States mid-summer is the time to schedule these crops.

Kale is harvested in mid-September from a low tunnel built from Quick Hoops™ at the Village Farm in Freedom, ME

You will need to pay extra attention to seeds and seedlings to prevent them from perishing in the heat, but once you get them established, they will thrive as the weather cools off.
  • Johnny's Fall Planting Calculator is a great tool to determine the dates crops need to be planted outside without season extension products.

  • If you are going to grow in hoophouses, Quick Hoops™ High Tunnels or even under row cover, your planting dates can be later than the calculator advises. High and low tunnels constructed with our Quick Hoops™ Benders allow you to extend the growing season for cold-hardy crops with a very late season harvest or overwintering for early spring harvest.
Below are some recommended fall crop varieties for planting under cover, such as a Quick Hoops™ Low Tunnels, Quick Hoops™ High Tunnel or hoophouse:

Forest Green Parsley

Late July – Early August Sowing:
Salad turnips: Hakurei (for late fall/early winter harvest)
Beets: Red Ace (for late fall/early winter harvest). All varieties are good for fall planting, maturing in 45-55 days (longer in fall because of decreasing day length).

Racoon Spinach

August - Early September Sowing:
Greens: Vit is an ideal winter salad item, maturing in 50 days. Vit is a versatile, vigorous, mildew-resistant variety. Other suggestions are Arugula, Sylvetta, Claytonia, and Minutina.
Spinach: Tyee is the professional growers' favorite for fall crops and overwintering. Other variety suggestions are Space and Racoon. Also, Python is a great fall bunching Spinach.
Lettuce: Ruby Sky (Redleaf), Green Forest (Green Romaine), and Sylvesta (Green Butterhead) are all disease resistant and cold tolerant. Plant these up to 60 days before first frost for cool weather (fall) harvest.
Radishes: Rudolf (Red), and Miyashige (Daikon). Crunchy Royale is also a nice hybrid for fall production. 

Mizuna Asian greens

September – Early October Sowing:
Spinach: Tyee, Space, and Racoon
Greens: Arugula, Sylvetta, Broccoli Raab, and Minutina
Asian greens: Mizuna, Komatsuna, Tatsoi, Suiho Chinese Broccoli
Herbs: Cilantro: At just 55 days to maturity, this cool-loving herb can be cut well into fall with some frost protection. Calypso has full, bulky plants that provide a high leaf yield.
Radishes: Rudolf, and Miyashige

For additional crop suggestions for Fall planting, head to

Johnny's Small Equipment for Vegetable Growers Workshop with NOFA VT

Join Johnny’s Tools Manager, Adam Lemieux, and Territory Sales Rep, Chris Hillier, along with NOFA VT for a tool demonstration for gardeners and commercial growers. See weeding, seeding, transplanting, cultivating and harvesting tools in action, try the tools yourself, troubleshoot with tool experts, and learn how to set up a small high tunnel.

Hosted at Alchemy Gardens in Shrewsbury, VT, the workshop is Wednesday, August 1, 2012 from 4 p.m- 6 p.m.

Visit the Alchemy Gardens website
Learn more about this event at the NOFA VT website

Read our blog post on the small equipment demos that took place at Tuckaway Farm in Lee, NH on May 15th. Our workshop at Alchemy Gardens will be very similar to this.