Today’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.
Tag Archives: farming
…and changes continue.
There 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.
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 …
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!
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.
The farm stand will open soon. Still haven’t set a date, but the decor has been planted.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
It’s happening again. Shorter daylight, cooler nights,
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.
Today is Thursday, a big pick and pack day for the field crew.
We have some beautiful fields, with fall crops coming in; Lacinato kale, celery, celery root, dandelion greens, savoy cabbage, brussels sprouts,.
The greenhouse is filled with lettuce starts and greens.
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.
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.
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!
Oh yes, Summer is here.
There are so many changes on the farm. Let me share just a few. The season is just getting started.
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.