Saturday, June 25, 2016

June 21st/24th and 28th/July 1st

King Berry 

Strawberry season has arrived!  And just in time to sweeten this tricky start to summer.  We are picking off a new patch that was planted last spring and the plants are looking sooo happy!  Since the patch is just starting to ripen, there are loads of mammoth berries out there.  The first and largest berry to ripen on each plant is called the "king" berry.  It's been fun seeing how huge some of them are!

The picking is awesome--Jean and I picked over 160 quarts this week for your CSA shares.

This week's harvest was full of yummy greens.  I am excited that many of you tried the Pac Choi--I hope you like them.  I just ate some for lunch, sauteed with asparagus, arugula and mushrooms on top of pasta.  This is Cameron, one of my Friday morning helpers, he was "Pig Man" that day...picking up all the "2nds" that came off the greens we were harvesting and fed them to the pigs.  Needless to say, he has 10 more very close friends! 

Simon, as usual, trying to drive the truck,  He barely left room for Joanne and I to sit up front.  

We recorded 0.2" of rain last Wednesday.  Boy did it feel good!  It's back to bone dry again, but it looks like we could be getting a bit more early this week?  Although the dry weather is rough, keeping it all in perspective, I am glad we are not in a flood, and I am thankful for the harvest we are receiving.

This Week's Bounty: lettuce, asparagus, storage carrot, tat soi and shell peas and something else, but I cannot decide between chard and kohl rabi : )

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!