Tag Archives: artichoke

Rain Damage

California has had a bunch of rain this month. And it’s taken a toll on our fields, especially the artichokes. Wet soil and wind combined to flatten many of the tall, in-full-production, gorgeous plants. I guess the weeds, mud compaction and cold hands are a small price to pay for the groundwater recharge. Onward!

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Artichokes blown down

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Flowering kale

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Hopefully this lettuce will recover when the sun comes out.

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Paul’s shop has gotten more attention because of the rain. It shows in the organization here.

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Asparagus is coming. Must be spring!

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We are rich in cabbage, just in time for St. Patrick’s day!

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These brussels sprouts are about done. They look crazy at this stage, like a big Dr. Seuss flower.

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Winter crops are coming

Yes, celery root and parsnips are making an appearance on our table at the farmers’ market this week. We’re all longing for cooler, wet weather. Wandering around the fields this early evening, I am speechless for the beauty.

The crop of beets (red, gold and chioggia) look lush. Should begin to harvest in a few weeks.

The crop of beets (red, gold and chioggia) look lush. Should begin to harvest in a few weeks.

Parsnips were harvested out of this row for tomorrow's market.

Parsnips were harvested out of this row for tomorrow’s market.

Paul's reluctant to pose for me, too busy.

Paul is reluctant to pose for me, too busy.

The romaine this week was huge!

The romaine this week was huge!

Leeks dashes

Leeks dashing across the ground

Brocoli

Brocoli and cauliflower

I promise there are small carrots coming. This is the next 6 beds.

I promise there are small carrots coming. This is the next 7 beds.

Aren't these brassicas Amazing!

Aren’t these brassicas Amazing!

A little creek planting, to slow down the water. Looking ahead toward rain.

A little swale planting, to slow down the water. Looking ahead toward rain.

The onion baby bed

The onion transplant bed

Artichokes

Artichokes

Next week's Little Gems.

Next week’s Little Gems.

Chocolate brown pasilla peppers. Dry them for a traditional mole sauce.

Chocolate brown pasilla peppers. Dry them for a traditional mole sauce.

The low field has been cover cropped.

The low field has been cover cropped.

Pumpkins to sell tomorrow

Pumpkins to sell tomorrow


Hello again…

I am amazed I have not posted in such a long time. I am sorry to jump over months of farm activity.

This year, as always, we have much less produce coming out of the fields, than at other times of the year. We’re running into shortages at the market, running out of salad crops within an hour of the start. Beds in the field are damp and cold, not conducive to plant growth. But ground is drying and things are being planted. Our tables will again be full in a month or so. Let me catch you up, visually.

Fava beans are blooming madly.

Fava beans are blooming madly.

This crop of artichokes is especially delicious. Hope you can get some at the market while they last, another month or so.

This crop of artichokes is especially delicious. Hope you can get some at the market while they last, another month or so.

Yesterday's brassica planting

Yesterday’s brassica planting

This crop of Red Butter Lettuce should be on our market stand next week.

This crop of Red Butter Lettuce should be on our market stand next week.

Kales

Kales

Peas in full flower. We'll have sugar snaps and English shelling peas this year.

Peas in full flower. We’ll have sugar snaps and English shelling peas this year.

Second planting of peas

Second planting of peas

Paul is very busy this spring.

Paul is very busy this spring.

Baby lettuces

Baby lettuces

The greenhouse is  wonderful place to work on a blustery day.

The greenhouse is wonderful place to work on a blustery day.


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.


Busy Spring

IMG_5555The words “busy” and “spring” are synonymous on a farm.

Fields are drying quickly and the cover crop wants to be “harvested” and turned into the soil, creating an instant carbon boost helping with fertility and soil structure. Once mowed the debris from the crop digests for several weeks or until it’s structure is all but gone allowing the finished bed to be even and smooth.

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Furrows help dry the soil.

The cover crop consists of bell beans, austrian peas and oats.

The cover crop consists of bell beans, Austrian peas, barley and oats.

Then the field will be rototilled. Sometimes when a field is tilled, the soil moisture is still too high to plant. To speed drying, furrows are made with shovels on the tractor.

Once a field is flat and weed-free, it’s ready to be planted. And there are many transplants lined up waiting for space.

Transplants and irrigation supplies

Transplants and irrigation supplies

The whole crew works the plantings. The irrigation has to be set up. Most everything is on drip lines which have to be pulled and hooked up to the water supply. Some crops require covers. For example, the first tomatoes and peppers (Padron) are in and covered.

Additionally, many things are being harvested at this time of year, adding to the day’s diversity and the community’s health. We are so happy to be able to grow this excellent food.

The artichokes are finishing.

The artichokes are finishing.

These carrots are just beginning to be harvested.

These carrots on drip lines are just beginning to be harvested.

Asparagus harvest today

Asparagus harvest today

Picking peas and sage in flower

Picking peas and sage in flower

Raspberries with lava beans in the background

Raspberries with fava beans in the background

The first peppers in the field have their own greenhouses to give them a little boost.

The first peppers in the field have their own greenhouses to give them a little boost.

Spring purplette onions

Spring purplette onions

 

Even the sweet peas at home are growing like crazy.

Even the sweet peas at home are growing like crazy.


Planting Carrots

Tools are lined up. The artichokes are being given a soaking in the background.

Tools are lined up. The artichokes are being given a soaking in the background.

It’s a beautiful day. As Christmas approaches, we are collecting our thoughts and preparing to take a few days to devote to our family and friends. For me, that means baking cookies, planning menus and moping the floors.

For Paul, that means planting carrots.

Garlic and leeks are next to the open beds, ready for the carrot seeds.

Garlic and leeks are next to the open beds, ready for the carrot seeds.

This planter will plant three rows of carrots to a bed.

This contraption will plant three rows of carrots to a bed.

The seeder in action, first dropping seeds, then the basket-like wheels roll over the seed, covering it with soil.

The seeder in action, first dropping seed, then the basket-like wheels roll over the seed, covering it with soil and tamping it down.

These beds will grow us carrots ready in the spring.

These carrots will be ready in the spring.

Conveniently next to the carrots being planted are 5 beds of carrots almost ready to pick.

Conveniently, next to the carrots being planted are 5 beds of carrots almost ready to pick.

We’re so excited to be hosting Christmas for the first time ever. Lots of my family are coming to town, spending time in Sonoma. We’re all avid cooks and this is certain to become a wonderful holiday to engage and enjoy each other. It’s sure to live on in my old memory bank as well.

This sprouting broccoli is thriving after the very cold weather. Other varieties of broccoli have really suffered.

This sprouting broccoli is thriving after the very cold weather. Other varieties of broccoli have really suffered.

lettuces


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