Tag Archives: farming

Summer crops are almost here!

IMG_5935Today’s sky was unusual for around here. The thin clouds hung around all day, allowing for a very easy-on-the-eyes day and a perfect day to take pictures. And since it’s been a month since my last post, this is long overdue. I apologize for my absence. My unorganized self is fully to blame.

Garlic chives in bud

Garlic chives in bud

Winter squash field

Winter squash field

Picked over beans, in the foreground. The next crop is flowering in the background.

Picked over beans, in the foreground. The next crop is flowering in the background.

Shaggy asparagus

Shaggy asparagus

Couldn't resist two watermelon pictures...

Couldn’t resist two watermelon pictures…

Sugar baby melon

Sugar baby melon

Two charentais melons

Two charentais melons

Allysum, marigolds and tomatillos

Allysum, marigolds and tomatillos

The first tomatoes are sizing up!

The first tomatoes are sizing up!

Flowering cilantro is humming with bees.

Flowering cilantro is humming with bees.

Onion beds are such an extraordinary color.

Onion beds are such an extraordinary color.

Sunflower sprout flats, after harvest.

Pea shoot flats, after harvest. We’ll harvest the soil too.

Shishito peppers are quite a bit shorter than their more famous cousin, the pardon. And full of flowers.

Shishito peppers are quite a bit shorter than their more famous cousin, the Padron. They’re full of flowers.

Red raspberries

Red raspberries

Watering the carrots deeply

Watering the carrots deeply

Lettuce and frisee with corn, tomatoes and sunflowers in the distance.

Lettuce and frisee with corn, tomatoes and sunflowers in the distance.


June’s here…

…and changes continue.

IMG_5676There is so much to see, as one walks around the farm right now. Spring crops are finishing up. The asparagus is growing up and beginning to “frond”. It will continue to send up wiry, ferny stems until late in the fall, when it yellows and dries out. January or February next year, the bed will be “cultivated” or cleaned-up and spears will begin emerging in February or March.

Bye-bye chives...

Bye-bye chives…

We’ve had a spectacular crop of shelling peas this year. (I’ve even been able to put some in the freezer. Feels like money in the bank, they are that good.) The peas are almost done, beginning to dry in their pods. Another thing that is finishing for us is Salad Mix. We don’t grow a mix in the summer. It saves the crew having to fit that labor intensive task into their Tuesday and Thursday, while there are so many other things to pick. The salad mix is a wonderful convenience for our customers and we love it ourselves, but a break gives us the chance to look forward to Salad Mix coming back in the fall, to practice patience for produce we love. Beginning tomorrow, head lettuces will have to do.

There are a number of crops right around the corner … Romenesco (a green cauliflower with a most unusual shape), raspberries, potatoes and cucumbers, basil, raspberries, green beans …

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German butterball potatoes are flowering like crazy.

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Romanesco grows on an enormous plant.

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The white cauliflower seems like a prize, all wrapped up.

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Cucumbers are crawling.

And what will take up so much time in the coming months, you may ask? What will be on the menu in our household and others’ in our community and beyond? Standard summer fare with a few curveballs thrown in to keep everyone on our toes, to keep those routines from becoming a rut. There are naturally tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, melons and beans,  even some sweet corn this year, surprise, surprise!

Our farm stand opens on Saturday, June 14th. Lots of buzz and as much as we love sharing all the bounty, we’re relishing the last few weekends without it. The summer hustle is about to begin!

This bed of just planted shallots is growing on buried drip line, a refinement we hope will save precious water.

This bed of just planted shallots is growing on buried drip line, a refinement we hope will save precious water.

 

The first planting of tomatoes has been staked

The first planting of peppers have been staked. These padrons grow so tall, and they are rather fragile. Staking keeps them from tipping over and breaking.

 

Peppers are flowering and have been staked for support.

The first planting of tomatoes and have been staked for support.

 


New Spring Crops

First tomatoes

First tomatoes

First and second planting of peppers

First and second planting of peppers

Napa cabbage

Napa cabbage

Potatoes

Potatoes

Harvested carrot bed

Harvested carrot bed

Farm tools

Farm tools

Sage

Sage

Changes happen fast around here. Our second market of the week opened this week, Tuesday, with much fanfare and commotion. We had a busy and successful night. Thanks to all for coming and supporting us and all the vendors. We look forward to another great season.

We are growing some new varieties this year including a new English pea called Penelope (ahhh). It sports a densely packed pod of small, sweet peas, most picturesque. Also, to fan the kale-craze flames, a broader leafed kale called Rainbow Lacinato kale.

Rainbow lacinato kale

Rainbow lacinato kale

Penelope

Penelope

The farm stand will open soon. Still haven’t set a date, but the decor has been planted.

Farm stand is planted...

Farm stand is planted…


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.


Frosty Farm

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This savoy cabbage will be especially sweet!

The weather is much cooler than we are used to here in Sonoma Valley. It’s predicted that we will have more than 10 days in a row of below freezing temps. Everything is compromised with weather like this. We’re trying to keep water running as cold crops fare better when the ground is moist but the pipes are frozen well into the day. Couldn’t get the water on until after 2 on Friday.

The crew is starting later, wearing more layers, working in the greenhouse as much as possible, but no denying it’s no fun harvesting vegetables in this weather.

Recent transplanted Red Russian kale is stalled, but not dead.

Recent transplanted Red Russian kale is stalled, but not dead.

The fennel fronds have diamond necklaces.

The fennel fronds have diamond necklaces.

The lacinato kale is resilient but certainly not growing with this weather.

The lacinato kale is resilient but certainly not growing in this weather.

Some of the most vulnerable beds are covered.

Some of the most vulnerable beds are hooped and covered with remay.

The spinach should grow out of this freeze

The spinach should grow out of this freeze

We don't quite know what to expect with our artichokes.

We don’t quite know what to expect with our artichokes.

The cauliflower is nestled down under lots of full, icy leaves.

The cauliflower is nestled down under lots of full, icy leaves.

I think this broccoli wants to be picked!

I think this broccoli wants to be picked!


Shorter Days

Rows of salad ingredients

Rows of salad ingredients

The beauty of this fall is remarkable. The days have been warm, 65-75* F. and though the mornings are chilly, we have not yet had a freeze. It really couldn’t be much easier for the farm. The shorter days certainly are felt throughout the fields.

Rosehips

Rosehips

The last of the raspberries

The last of the raspberries

Eggplant and tomatoes nearing their finish...

Eggplant and tomatoes nearing their finish…

Tomatoes are almost through.

Tomatoes are almost through.

Cabbages are thriving

Cabbages are thriving

Another shift happens in our marketing. Our one local night market closed last week so we begin our CSA (community supported agriculture) box program this week running until the spring next year. It’s small and local (members pick up at the farm) and another way to connect with our customers. You can see more information about the CSA by clicking on the tab above.

CSA boxes

CSA boxes


Transition to Cool

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Brassicas and beets

It’s happening again. Shorter daylight, cooler nights,

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“Winter Luxury” pie pumpkins

The pie pumpkins are all cut and lined up, as they cure. They will be picked up and brought indoors before it starts raining. We will sell them throughout the winter. Our winter squash crop is small this year. It was planted in new low-fertility ground. Building soil takes time.

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Early morning lettuce picking

Today is Thursday, a big pick and pack day for the field crew.

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Lacinato kale and red-stemmed dandelion

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Rows of cabbage planted about 3 weeks ago

We have some beautiful fields, with fall crops coming in; Lacinato kale, celery, celery root, dandelion greens, savoy cabbage, brussels sprouts,.

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Beautiful savoy cabbage, ready in a week or 2

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Little baby brussels sprouts

The greenhouse is filled with lettuce starts and greens.

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Rainbow chard and collard

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Tomatoes cut from their trellises

And the first crops of tomatoes are finished, the drip lines pulled, trellis lines cut. The stakes will be pulled out soon. Then on to the next crop.


Oh Deer!

This radicchio shows nibbles taken from the center 5 of these 6 heads.

This radicchio shows nibbles taken from the center 5 of these 6 heads.

We’ve been targeted by some lettuce lovin’, high-jumpin’, big-eyed, fast deer. Our farm is really known for its lettuce and we are making many apologies this week due to the losses. It’s especially hard to swallow when we have gone through the trouble of growing the seed in the greenhouse, then transplanting into the field when the plants are big enough. This adds expense in time, but helps keep the lettuce beds relatively clean because the transplants will outgrow the weeds, It also helps grow the number of heads we think we can sell.

The deer are living in the wooded area just over Paul's head in this picture.

The deer are living in the wooded area just over Paul’s head in this picture.

We’re taking measures to prevent the nightly attacks including purchasing materials for a fence for at least the most obvious section of entry, stringing fishing line among the lettuce beds along with the randomly flown “Bounce” dryer sheets (supposed to work… not so sure about efficacy).

Further strategies…diversification, which we are already great at!

Harvesting cucumbers

Harvesting cucumbers

Dill and Cilantro

Dill and Cilantro

 


Summer

The next carrots are looking lush

The next carrots are looking lush.

Oh yes, Summer is here.

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Rows of tomatoes are finally bearing fruit.

There are so many changes on the farm. Let me share just a few. The season is just getting started.

Celery root is up and pushing.

Celery root is up and pushing.

Winter squash is setting fruit.

Winter squash is setting fruit.

Onions drying under a giant oak.

Onions drying under a giant oak.

Cracked melons litter the field. You can smell their sweetness.

Cracked Charentais melons litter the field. You can smell their sweetness.

The foreground field has a turned-in summer cover crop (buckwheat). It's digesting nicely.

The foreground field is digesting a turned-in summer cover crop of buckwheat. 

 

 


After Hours

The garden beside our house is wild these days. Quite a greeting as you venture into the farm.

The garden beside our house is wild these days. Quite a greeting as you venture into the farm.

The farm is in full swing right now and looks beautiful, every corner cared for and organized. Some crops are finishing (broccoli and cauliflower), others are coming into their glory days. The crew is working full days. It’s nice to have easy weather now, 70-80 degrees F. They are striving to keep up with the needs for the whole farm plus pick and pack far more produce. We’ve dropped the salad mix from our “product line” for the second year to help even out the workload.

Paul is always working to restore and improve soils. The rock crusher has been busy lately. It makes a quite nice pinging chorus if you are far enough away. As you approach you can feel the ground vibrating through your shoes and dirt and rocks are flying everywhere.

Growing heirloom tomatoes under the greenhouse tables. We just had our first ripe pink brandywine, last night!

Coming Soon! Heirloom tomatoes growing under the greenhouse tables. We just had our first, ripe, pink Brandywine, last night!

Rows of red onions are drying in the shade. Properly grown and cured dry onions should be good through the winter.

Rows of red onions are drying in the shade. Properly grown and cured dry onions should be good through the winter.

Summer cover crop, buckwheat, has emerged after just 4 days!

Summer cover crop, buckwheat, has emerged after just 4 days!

The area has just been rock crushed. Paul is setting up the beds with a "bed shaper".

I see a painting...

I see a painting…

One of the inescapable features of our landscape is the old Shamrock cement plant to our west. Some friends of ours just bought it! I've always wanted to paint it's portrait!

One of the inescapable features of our landscape is the old Shamrock cement plant to our west. Some friends of ours just bought it! I’ve always wanted to paint it’s portrait!


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