Slammed!

 

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The small greenhouse appears to float…

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Water flows toward the lowest part of the farm.

 

Yes, it’s a gully washer. Glad the crew was able to get most everything picked yesterday. Today they pack things into boxes to get ready for deliveries to local restaurants tomorrow. And for the farmers’ market tomorrow morning. The market should be very interesting, with lots of stories to share.

As the crew packed, Paul went out to the fields to check the ditches, the tarps and the general water flow throughout the farm. And he happened to be there as a wave of water washed through his shop and across and under the greenhouse tarps. Up the creek he discovered lots of trash trapped against a bridge causing the water to spread out and overflow the creek bed.

It’s let up some now and I admit to waiting until it slowed to take the photos below. The first two in this post were taken by Paul while the water was at it’s highest. It’s reassuring to see how quickly the water recedes.

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Also looking toward the low end of the farm, about 30 minutes later.

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A creek ran through the farm until a few years ago. This is where it ran.

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The culverts are big enough.

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This is the lowest bed on the farm. Yesterday’s chicory harvest in stark contrast to the flow of water.

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Getting Wet

Picking broccoli in the rain.

Picking broccoli in the rain.

It rained hard, seemed like all night. Thunder and lightening, which is rare in these parts, shook us awake around midnight. Just what we need. And more is on the way.

Here’s what it looks like this morning.

Lowest part of the farm is maxed out.

Lowest part of the farm is maxed out.

Lettuce beds partially flooded.

Lettuce beds partially flooded.

Drains are working...

Drains are working…

The compost is covered.

The compost is covered.

Good example of why to "bed up". This treatment allows the planting area to dry quicker for earlier planting.

Good example of why to “bed up”. This treatment allows the planting area to dry quicker for earlier planting.

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Battening Down the Hatches

Silvery red cabbage leaves

Silvery red cabbage leaves

Rain is in the forecast, a novel situation for us in “Droughtville” (California). We’ve had a couple practice storms roll through, dropping an inch, more or less, just to tease us. But this week, we’ve heard up to 7 inches could fall. The whole community is excited, hoping this will open the storm door and eventually lead us out of the dry conditions we’ve experienced for several years now. The reservoirs are low and steps are being taken to monitor ground water supplies. We have two good wells on the property we use to irrigate year-round. And so far, that’s been enough. Paul has also switched most crops to drip lines for most of their life cycle, rather than overhead, sprinkler-type watering. We trade off using less water for more plastic and more labor.

Cover crop has been planted wherever possible.

Cover crop has been planted wherever possible.

Lush cover crop.

Lush cover crop.

The farm prepares for winter rains every year, whether they come or not. As the day length shortens and the nights cool, fields are cleared of finished tomatoes and eggplant, tilled until smooth and flat, composted and finally cover crop seed has been planted wherever we want to give the beds a carbon boost. Ditches are checked and regraded where necessary.

Hoops to cover beds await

Hoops to cover beds await

Hoops are set up over beds in case the rain becomes too much for small plants. Plastic covers can be pulled over the top of the hoops, if need be. We’re ready and waiting to have time in the shop, to clean and sharpen tools, to change the oil for the many machines, and to get to the projects that await, like the recently purchased cultivating tractor that needs a new front axle and for the whole under-belly apparatus to be rebuilt and mounted.

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Romanesco plays peek-a-boo

So we wait to see how much will fall.

Red beets

Red beets

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Rainbow chard is loving this cooler, wetter weather.

Rainbow chard is loving this cooler, wetter weather.

 

Lots of new pipe. The days of moving pipe from field to field are numbered!

Lots of new pipe. The days of moving pipe from field to field are numbered!

Surprise artichokes are popping here and there.

Surprise artichokes are popping here and there.

Moving compost

Moving compost

Attending the compost

Attending the compost

Two kinds of leeks, King Richard on the left and Lexton on the right.

Two kinds of leeks, King Richard on the left and Lexton on the right.

Joanie came to visit on Thanksgiving.

Joanie came to visit on Thanksgiving.

Brussels sprouts are just beginning to form

Brussels sprouts are just beginning to form

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

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New (used) Kubota cultivating tractor

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Front axle needs work

 


El Verano Potatoes

Field restoration is in full swing. Organic farming, almost by definition, strives to improve the soils. Whether by adding organic matter through cover cropping, taking soil tests and boosting nutrients through application of whatever is needed or rock crushing!

Several of our fields are very rocky. Several years ago, Paul bought a rock crusher, which has been earning its keep this month. The rocky fields are slowly (driving as the crusher runs is very slow…15 minutes from one end of the 100 yard field to the other) becoming rock free.

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Already crushed areas, ready for the next stage.

Already crushed areas, ready for the next stage.

Rocky soils are being "crushed".

Rocky soils are being “crushed”.

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Broccoli grows with such verve, it's impossible to ignore.

Broccoli grows with such verve, it’s impossible to ignore.

Kristen picking kale

Kristen picking kale

Will picking kale

Will picking kale

Surprise artichokes are popping here and there.

Surprise artichokes are popping here and there.


Double Header

Fall is coming on strong, as the summer crops peak. What to do? Just work a little harder, longer and stronger, knowing that rain will come, things will slow down. There will be time next to the wood stove, with a book and a cup of tea. But for now, it’s go, go, go. So glad we are up to it. And thanks to everyone that works for us or buys produce from our farm. We couldn’t do it without you.

Today we were presented with a beautiful fall day, lots of big fluffy clouds, lilting through a big sky, over hill and dale, casting moving shadows on the undulations below. With just a hint of moisture, as the clouds misted the fields, dampening the dust, sweetening the soil and doubling the scents. It’s teaming with life out there!

These kabocha winter squash are close to harvest.

These kabocha winter squash are close to harvest.

Shallots dry under a big oak.

Shallots dry under a big oak.

Rhazes, our new red little gem lettuce

Rhazes, our new red little gem lettuce

Brasiccas ready to go out into the field.

Brasiccas ready to go out into the field.

Yellow wax beans

Yellow wax beans

Rosa bianca eggplant

Rosa bianca eggplant

Lots of San Marzano roma tomatoes, perfect for sauce.

Lots of San Marzano roma tomatoes, perfect for sauce.

We've been gapping with our beet crops, but these are almost big enough to harvest.

We’ve been gapping with our beet crops, but these are almost big enough to harvest.

Celery and fennel, first planting.

Celery and fennel, first planting.

Fennel and celery root, next planting

Fennel and celery root, next planting

Broccoli

Broccoli

Picchu berries, a new crazy delicious berry, we're trialling.

Picchu berries, a new crazy delicious berry, we’re trialling.

Cherry tomatoes are dropping.

Cherry tomatoes are dropping.

Leeks and onions

Leeks and onions

Carrots in the foreground. It didn't rain enough to keep the irrigation from happening.

Carrots in the foreground. It didn’t rain enough to keep the irrigation from happening.

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Summertime Hustle

It happens every year. Juggling price changes, seed and box orders, soil samples to send, staff needs, signage plus new accounts, keeps everyone on their toes.

And then there is what’s happening in the fields. Multiple crops are ready to be harvested and sold. 5,000 heads of lettuce are seeded every two weeks, but now every 10 days, as demand increases. More is required of our bodies and our minds. It feels like a miracle that it all comes together each week… the orders are taken, the crops are picked, packed and delivered, the markets happen and we sell.

We are so grateful for our tremendous staff, in the field and at the markets. Our health and ability to make this all happen has much to do with eating our own great products!

Yellow raspberries are really strong right now.

Yellow raspberries are really strong right now.

Cherry tomatoes are so decorative.

Cherry tomatoes are so decorative.

Flowering potatoes

Flowering potatoes

Irrigation needs patching due to crow damage. Grrr

Irrigation needs patching due to crow damage. Grrr

The culprits ...

The culprits …

Kale

Kale

I'll take the sugar baby camouflage.

I’ll take the sugar baby camouflage.

We've been selling sunflowers at our farm stand on Saturdays.

We’ve been selling sunflowers at our farm stand on Saturdays.

Everyone loves the sweet corn.

Everyone loves the sweet corn.

Winter squash, melons and cucumbers create such a beautiful blanket.

Winter squash, melons and cucumbers create such a beautiful blanket.

Lovely delicata!

Lovely delicata!

Acorn is the first of the winter squash to be ready, maybe a month away.

Acorn is the first of the winter squash to be ready, maybe a month away.

The Rosa Bianca eggplant that won the beauty contest.

The Rosa Bianca eggplant that won the beauty contest.

 


That’s Farming

Red Butter Lettuce with exposed burned edges

Red Butter Lettuce with exposed burned edges

For the second week in a row, we have lost our planting of Red Butter lettuce to a pervasive burn which effects the edges of the leaves. It looks beautiful, until you start to pull it apart. We will face a lot of disappointed customers at the markets, but luckily have other lettuces to offer. The burn seems to correspond to heat during certain parts of the growth cycle.

The old saying, “Don’t put all your eggs into one basket” comes to mind right now. The farm has lots of baskets and they are full of many summer crops. Take a look:

This week's ruined Red Butter crop in the center. Last week's failed crop on the left.

This week’s ruined Red Butter crop in the center. Last week’s failed crop on the left.

The full crew picks beans.

The full crew picks beans.

Asparagus in frond stage

Asparagus in frond stage

Melons

Melons

Tomatoes are beginning to color.

Tomatoes are beginning to color.

Just harvested pea shoots

Just harvested pea shoots

The first row of of a new crop of carrots was picked today.

The first row of of a new crop of carrots was picked today.

Garlic chives are flowering.

Garlic chives are flowering.

Cloudy skys over the winter squash field. The plants are taking off, but not yet flowering.

Cloudy skys over the winter squash field. The plants are taking off, but not yet flowering.

The yellow raspberries are in full production.

The yellow raspberries are in full production.


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