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Sunday, June 5, 2016

June 7th and 10th

Farm Tasks

The tasks on the farm are endless.  They range from daily chores, like feeding the animals and watering the green house, to tasks that are once and done, like staking the peas or laying black plastic. Ok, maybe I should say, we HOPE they are once and done and that the pea trellis does not break and the plastic does not blow off in the wind!  In this photo I am mowing Winter Rye Grass.  It was planted late last fall and, grew to about 10" tall, then waited until spring to resume its growth.  When I mowed, it was about 5' tall.  I chose to mow it at this time because it was starting to head up to make seed and I wanted to be sure and kill it before any seeds dropped.  Otherwise it would not be a once and done task.  It's a fun task because the crop is so tall.  Sometimes we have mowed cover crops that are well over the height of the tractor and it feels like you are roving through the tall prairie. What I was trying to capture in this photo was how beautiful my view was from on top of the tractor; the heads of rye are soft and have hues of red.  Although it was dry and dusty, the tractor loud and smelly, I felt like I was floating through waves of soft color.  Not bad for a task.

The task that appears most on the To Do list in May and June is transplanting.  Thus far we have transplanted well over 12,000 plants and have about 4000 to plant just this week.  It's a tight window here in Maine since our growing season is so short.  If we miss it, frost comes and the plant never had a chance to produce.  I tend to plant to the calendar and not the weather patterns.  I don't tend to take risks and plant things early in hopes of an early crop, because more often than not that once and done task had to be redone.  Even when I plant to the calendar sometimes plantings still fail due to insects, hail, too much rain...or too little rain.  As I type we are getting rain right now (YEAH!!!!). We were in desperate need for it.  In some places, the soil had become hydrophobic, so it's good that we are going to get a good soaker.  (Although I hope I didn't just jinx us!)  Most plants want an inch of water a week.  In the last 6 weeks since we have started planting, we have gotten only 1.75".  That amounts to only .29" in a week.  (Plus we had no spring snow melt, or hardly any snow melt, to raise the water table.)  Although, I will admit, if we got an inch of rain every single week, my heavy soils would be saturated, but anything less than a solid half an inch is dry, dry, dry.  So drink up little plants so we can eat up in the weeks to come!

This week's Bounty: lots of lettuce, scallions, asparagus, rhubarb, chives and carrots!

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