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.
It’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.
Now, 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.
The first planting of tomatoes decline.
Walking slowly around the farm, it’s obvious that summer’s bounty is beginning to decline.
We’re selling a lot of tomatoes, melons and cucumbers this year through various marketing paths. It’s great to see all this vibrant food moving into the community. Our farm stand has been a wonderful addition. We anticipate staying open until either the weather or lack of product, forces us to close. Thank you all for folding us into your Saturday routine.
Brussels sprouts, fennel, broccoli, then summer squash (being harvested)
Brussels sprouts are beautiful plants that grow for a long time. Planted in the greenhouse in June, in the field in August, but not ready to harvest for another 45-50 days! That’s a lot of weeding!
The transition from summer’s full heavy crops to the more intense, longer-in-the-ground, cooler-season foods, is happening. Kales and cabbages, beautiful brussels sprouts and feathery fennel and asparagus, are all looking very fresh and new.
This is the time of year things move around in the shops and storage areas to make room for winter squash, onions and shallots.
Additionally this year, Paul is renovating some of his growing fields to make things easier next year.
Beet greens look wonderful right now.
Lettuce stripes, with brassicas, celery and fennel behind.
This beautiful oak on the edge of the new field.
It is supposed to be around 100 degrees today, a bit cooler tomorrow, not a heat wave but quite warm. The crew is busy with the end-of-week tasks, staying hydrated and covered from the sun. They will work just until noon today.
Pulling row covers over the basil to protect from the voracious cucumber beetles.
Once the covers are pulled over the hoops, large metal clips secure the material.
New artichoke plants were put in the ground yesterday. They need a good soak today.
The first three rows were planted a week ago. The others more than a month ago. The staked tomatoes are getting their first “tying-up” right now.
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.
Many fields are moving from spring to summer crops.
The summer squash looks great! You can see where the variety changes from Raven (our green zucchini) to Gold Bar (the yellow), in the center left of the photo.
First tomatoes planted May 1st. This picture was taken May 3rd. Peppers and eggplant are under the covers beyond the tomatoes.
The tomatoes were staked May 11th and the covers have come off the peppers and eggplant.
Broccoli, fennel and spring onions.
May 3, looking like peak?
May 13, mowed between the rows.
Kinda gorgeous with kale, fennel and broccoli going to flower.
Our fields probably got 3-4 inches of rain last week. It messed with last week’s Friday Farmers’ Market and allowed us to begin our restaurant deliveries again. Nothing flooded, no crops lost, just a little mud and the wind has ripped plastic covers. We’ll carry on and are happy for the boost to the water tables around the county.
There is only one eucalyptus tree left. One that was leaning too severely to gamble felling without first topping. One for a professional. Quite a sight, a little sad and shocking, but we are recovering. The field closest the gone trees, is almost dry enough to begin tilling. Thank you all that helped with this big project, Paul Martinez and his crew that did all of the chipping, the Paul’s Produce field crew and Ralph Romberg who spent many days making this big project possible.
Many projects are tackled in the winter on the farm. Crops grow so slowly in the winter, everything we grow can be sold at a once a week market and our CSA. That will change as the weather warms up more crops are in need of harvest.
There are new shelves in the shop. Organization and the cleaning that happens alongside, is happening.
Another thing that’s happening is the greenhouses are warming up. Soon the humidity will drip from the “rafters” and mist up the camera as soon as the door closes.
But for now, the tomatoes and peppers are in the center on a bottom-heated table. The covers come off each day. Fans and automatic louvered vents maintains temps up to about 85 degrees even when it’s overcast.
As Paul wanders through, he can’t help but scan every flat, pulling tiny weeds spotted among the peppers or lettuces, or thinning where needed.
The small greenhouse is ready for new starts. This year Paul grew cherry tomatoes inside the house and they climbed all summer, bearing right up until our last Christmas CSA box for which the fruits were picked for the final time.
Now it’s cleaned up and ready for next year’s early crops; lettuce, onions, greens and even the first tomatoes.