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.
Already crushed areas, ready for the next stage.
Rocky soils are being “crushed”.
Broccoli grows with such verve, it’s impossible to ignore.
Kristen picking kale
Will picking kale
Surprise artichokes are popping here and there.
It was premature to think that summer had begun. It’s sprinkling now. The greens are greener when seen under a grey sky. Many summer crops have been in the ground for weeks, and are struggling to stay ahead of the insect pressure. Cucumber beetles are very active and making a mess of the first bean crops, beet greens, cucumbers (natch). Once the heat comes, the plants will outgrow the damage. We believe in history and the power of positive thought.
Here’s a virtual “Walk-Around” of the farm today.
We’ve had beautiful summer squash, though can’t seem to get enough zucchini flowers to fill our chef’s orders.
The rock crusher has been busy pulverizing this field. It’s very time and resource consuming, but the improvement is huge.
Rocky field will get “crushed” very soon.
We’ve been enjoying an abundance of brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage) which are finishing up. Luckily, this next planting should be ready in a couple of weeks.
Celery is coming soon.
This field has not been cover cropped in a long time. It’s been too important. Now that we have some more ground, it’s nice to see it get a rest!
These beans are suffering from cucumber beetle damage.
The first planting of tomatoes is flowering. Planting through plastic helps push it along. It’s already been staked and tied.
So glad to see two beds of Lacinato kale next to one of Red Russian. The RR yields more, but we can’t keep up with demand for the Lacinato.
A bed of Asian greens for the salad mix.
Finally we have fruit on the raspberries, weeks later than in past years.
The first planting of peppers is looking good. The shishitos and padrons are always the first to set fruit.
I know that the solstice is weeks away but here in Sonoma, it feels like summer has started. Schools are letting out. It’s been 90 degrees days in a row. Vegetable gardens are everywhere and everyone is busy. Outdoor weekend parties are being given and planned.
The farm has some big plans too. We are going to open a farm stand on Saturday mornings, toward the end of this month. The site is quite visible from Arnold Drive as one drives by. Watch for changes in the next few weeks. We’ll keep you posted…
Looking across Arnold Drive at Olive Avenue is the driveway to our new Paul’s Produce Farm Stand. Watch it change!
The second planting of peppers dots the newly rock-crushed field. Fresh tractor tracks indicate these beds were just tractor cultivated. Look how clean it is! The drip tape is getting buried.
Not everything can be tractor cultivated. Wheel hoeing between rows in the allium beds. Not an easy task because there is lots of rock.
Onions, cabbages (savoy and napa) broccoli, cauliflower, fennel and even some dandelion going to flower. Diversity = Thrive
Potatoes and summer squashes
The greenhouse tomatoes are staked and climbing. with some flowers.
First field tomatoes are about thigh-high.
I met someone that doesn’t like raspberries. Once. She is perfectly normal in all other ways that I know of. But quite unique as she’s my first non-raspberry fan.
We grow lots of raspberries. We rarely have any left over after a market. Though they don’t need much attention to grow, they take much more time to pick than probably any other crop we grow. Most of the rows of raspberries are mowed to the ground in the winter. They begin to regrow in spring and they are more than chest-high now, filled with flowers and buzzing with bees. The first fruit is set.
Last fall we divided the raspberries and grew them up in the greenhouse.
The raspberry field before crushing.
The raspberry field was one of rockiest spots on the farm. Paul ran (well, maybe crawled would be a more descriptive verb) through with the “rock crusher” and really transformed the ground. New rows were planted several weeks ago, next to the current crop. And they are growing fast.
My mouth is watering already. Raspberries are an amazing, potent fruit, for most of us.