Tag Archives: planting

Managing the Heat

It’s 106° right now. Paul has gone out for the fourth time today (it’s Sunday) to “check water”. Daytime highs are predicted to be around 100° for the next 10 days. Keeping the crops and the field crew hydrated is essential to ensure harvestable produce in the next month or so.

Yesterday I took some photos of things as they manage. It was 100°.

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Fennel, Kale, Collard and Scarlett Kale, ready to harvest.

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Potatoes (in the foreground) are looking healthy.

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These lettuces were planted two days ago.

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The bees are very busy in the heat.

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Looking across 6 weeks of lettuce plantings; Red Butter, Little Gem, Rosaine, Cherokee and Romaine. We need to cover the Little Gem in the last stage, so it’s not feeding the rabbits!

Summer is always busy. As the heat continues, we are relieved by the decision not to host the Saturday Farm Stand this year. Because we farm year-round, we have to use our energy wisely. Our sense of pace is maturing.


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.

 


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.


Is this summer?

tomato planting 2_4_1It’s pretty warm today, mid-80s and the crew is planting tomatoes. Sounds like summer to me.

The busy front field has been prepped with compost. It lay fallow about a month, after crops of brussels sprouts, dandelion, kales and collard were mowed. The previous crops were digested well enough to plant today, about 1600 plants, early girls and the heirlooms, 11 varieties in all. This is the second planting for the early girls.

greenhouse_1_1leek bolts_2_1Now, the large greenhouse becomes a shade house.

The leeks are beginning to bolt. The need to be harvested soon.

We have some new residence, in a most honorable spot under the Mother Oak tree. They seem in great spirits with flowers in every direction.

New hives! Thank you, Serge.

New hives! Thank you, Serge.


Spring again…

bye bye sprouts_2_1_1It’s loud around here. From keeping grass along the roads tidy, to aggressively attacking weeds in the beds among the “cash crop”, mowing and spring go hand-in-hand.

The farm stand spot has been mowed.

The farm stand spot has been mowed.

Mowing the carrots(?!) and the weeds.

Mowing the carrots(?!) and the weeds.

asparagus and shamrock_1_1_1lettuce lines_4_1_1We have seen some signs of spring at the farmers’ market; green garlic, a smattering of artichokes and Easter egg radishes. Asparagus is right around the corner…

Easter Egg radishes were harvested Thursday for Friday's market. So tender and mild right now.

Easter Egg radishes were harvested Thursday for Friday’s market. So tender and mild right now.

open ground_5_1The crew is planting whenever there is time, as more ground is ready to go.

Onions being separated before planting.

Onions being separated before planting.


Busy Friday

IMG_3120_1_1Friday Farmers’ market comes to Sonoma, establishing a weekly rhythm to the farm as we load the truck with freshly harvested and washed, then boxed up salad, lettuces, celery root and winter squash. One team picks and packs, another sets up and sells.

Lauren and Seth set up the market.

Lauren and Seth set up the market.

And the customers gather.

And the customers gather.

After the market, walking around the fields the crew is on hands and knees, transplanting lettuces and kales, chard and collard. It’s physical yet quiet work.IMG_3144_1_1

Paul uses the tractor to shape the beds for planting.

Paul uses the tractor to shape the beds for planting.

The wheat, barley, rye experiment in the lowest field with another cover cropped field further south. The big oak is at the property line.

The wheat, barley, rye experiment in the lowest field with another cover cropped field further south. The big oak is at the property line.

Still, most of the acreage is planted in cover crop. It’s not warm enough plant summer crops out. A freeze is still possible and we hope we haven’t seen the end of the rainy, wet weather.

The artichokes may be making a come-back.

The artichokes may be making a come-back.

Though, after a 70 degree day, it’s easy to not wish for it.


Pushin’ in February

Peas

Peas

So much is happening. The weather, the great dictator of what happens on the farm, has been very generous to us. It must have been over 70 degrees F. today. Beautiful. We’re planting spinach, turnips, radishes, lettuce, pea seeds in the field. Once planted, some are covered. We may plant beets and carrots this week.

Tomato seedlings

Tomato seedlings

The greenhouse is starting to really fill up with freshly planted flats, some covered, some not. The first planting of tomatoes have blasted out of their flats and pushed the remay into puffy pillows. So have the peppers. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, fennel and onions were all started in the greenhouse flats last week or before.Greenhouse

Lettuce, chard, kales and collard are all being transplanted. Once in the field, they are also covered to insure against wild weather swings. We hope they will feel secure enough to take off.

Covered beds and open ground

Covered beds and open ground

Sprinklers

Running the water

The irrigation system is engaged with the warm dry weather. The final bit of field turning is almost complete as the pipes are hooked up.Pipe

There is an experiment in the new field with planting oats, wheat and barley, side-by-side. Which will be the most beneficial to this soil? We’ll see.

Wheat, Barley and Oats

Wheat, Barley and Oats

The Farm Stand signposts are all that remain of last summer's bounty.

The signposts are all that remain of last summer’s Farm Stand.

Brussels sprouts, covered bed and beyond the farm

Brussels sprouts, covered bed and beyond the farm

 

Daikon radishes are being harvested out of the cover crop between the rows of regrowing artichokes.

Daikon radishes are being harvested out of the cover crop between the rows of regrowing artichokes.


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