Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 22nd and 25th: Chisel Plow

The Chisel Plow

This implement is one of the coolest I use I think.  It is borrowed from a friend in Bowdoinham maybe once a year, or every other year.  It could also be called a "subsoiler" and the general idea of the tool is to break up the "hard pan" or the impermeable layer of soil created from working the soil to the same depth over and over and over.

The chisel is about 18" long and 1 1/2 inches thick and wicked heavy.  It cuts right down through the earth leaving a very small trench way down so that water has a way to travel through the soil rather than being stuck in the field by the hard pan--kind of like a bath tub. 

I usually chisel plow in the fall so frost heaving can break the pan up even more.  In a wet spring like this, breaking up that subsoil is important so excess water has a way to exit.  Even so, some of my fields are still just on the edge of being able to work and plant.  If I go into the soil too early, it compacts the soil particles together and then when they dry it is literally like concrete.  Worms and other soil microorganisms tend to not like to live in concrete so I try to avoid that.  But alas we are slowly getting plants into the ground.  Yesterday we planted 1000 new strawberry plants for harvest in 2013 and over the weekend we planted 20 flats of leeks, broccoli, lettuce, kale and tat soi. 

Wow it has been a crazy and hectic week and I hope to share some of these events with you but I am afraid to jinx myself so I am going to wait : )  Until then, enjoy the harvest!

This Week's Harvest: various greens (spinach, lettuce mix, arugula?...?), scallions, chives, rhubarb and asparagus.

Next week?  I am not sure yet.  Sometimes, especially early in the season, it will be hard to predict--we may not even have a pick up so we can let things grow.  But I will let you know.


We'll let Ms. Stewart give you the skinny on rhubarb this week.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May 15th and 18th: Agribon

2012 Summer Harvest Shares!

Greetings friends!  Well, here we are a the beginning of another farming season!  As always, I am looking forward to it.  And looking forward to meeting all of you new shareholders this week--welcome!

As some of you know I sit down to write this blog before every pick up.  (Sometimes quite literally.)   Each year I try and give you a picture of what is happening here, what I am seeing, doing...so you can be a little closer to knowing how your food grows.  It is fun for me.  It keeps me in the moment and forces me to take way more photos than I ever would and apparently online I am "funny"--my blogger alter ego I guess.  (Don't expect too much, I am really not that funny.)

So anyway, this year I thought I would focus on the tools that I use here.  From beer to the John Deere, I thought I would introduce them to you one by one.  This week's tool is Agribon, also known as "remay".  It is a spun fabric of varying weights, lengths and widths that is placed over the plants for heat gain, frost protection, sun protection and/or insect protection.  It is an essential part of my farm here right now, almost everything I have planted out in the field is covered with it since it has been so cool and wet. 

I use pvc conduit to make hoops which hold the fabric up and off the plants so they don't get abraded if it is windy or frosty.  Under this little tent, grow the plants all cozy and protected.  The cats love to get under here and run up and down the "tunnels" of remay or wrestle each other right on top of it.  And Simon?  Well he likes to pretend he is a hurdler...except he never seems to be able to quite clear the full span.  Needless to say, I have lots of duct tape on it covering lots of holes trying to make this stuff last at least one season, but preferably three.

Sometimes, remay does not like to cooperate.  I use these little red pins to hold the edge of the fabric down.  It's a light and easy tool except when the wind blows, it tends to rip the fabric or pull the pins out of the ground.  This photo is taken at the end of the day Sunday...nearly all the remay has been blow off.  Lovely.  Working with remay on a windy day is fun, if you are into flying a kite.

Open Farm Day
Saturday May 19th
10am and 2pm tours

This Week's Harvest: spinach and lettuce mix from the hoophouse, scallions, chives and sorrel from the fields and carrots overwintered from last year.  Rhubarb and asparagus are right around the corner, but I don't think I'll have enough for everyone this week.

Recipes and Veggie Notes:

Please note past recipes are listed by alphabetical order on the blog home page!

Scallions (aka green onions, spring onions, salad onions...) are a bit milder than an onion but a little stronger than chives.  You chop the entire plant (minus roots) and use it raw on top of salads or soups or cooked in stir-frys or whatever you wish.

Sorrel:  Sorrel is a lemony perennial herb that mixes well with spinach.  There are lots of recipes on line for soups and salads using the two together.

Spinach and Sorrel Chopped Salad with Pecans and Goat Cheese

(or use Sarah's nice soft cow cheese for sale at pick up!)

Spinach and Sorrel Chopped Salad with
Pecans and Goat Cheese
(2 servings, original recipe by Kalyn)

2 large handfuls baby spinach, washed and dried
1 large handful young sorrel leaves, washed and dried
1/4 cup toasted pecans
2 slices goat cheese (Chevre or Montrachet type), crumbled

1 T white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. Dijon vinegar
1/2 tsp. honey
2 T olive oil
pinch salt

Coarsely chop spinach and sorrel and combine in large mixing bowl. Put vinegar in small bowl and whisk in mustard and honey. Add olive oil, whisking constantly, until dressing is well combined. Toast pecans in dry frying pan for 2-3 minutes over high heat, until barely starting to brown. Toss spinach and sorrel with dressing. Arrange on salad plates and sprinkle pecans and goat cheese over.

This printable recipe from