Yikes! We’re 3 days into summer and rain is predicted. Possibly more than an inch over the next couple of days. That is a very unusual forecast for this spot on the globe at this time of the year. The impact for the farm and the crops is minimal though the moisture will certainly encourage weeds to germinate all over the place. Formerly clean beds will need attention before the crop is over run with something unwanted.
Tag Archives: wheel hoe
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…
It’s the green glow, post-rain flush. Nothing like what happens after rain in the garden. Just look outside. Take a walk. Look at the ground. Weeds and grasses are springing to life with all the vigor they can muster. Somehow the weeds know the difference between rain and irrigation. Maybe it’s the change of weather that prompts all of this activity. In fact, if you look closely, the weeds are entirely different than just a month ago. So it’s time to cultivate EVERYWHERE at once.
The cultivating tools have been out in force, wheel hoes, stirrup hoes, and the cultivating tractor. It has to be done now, before they gain on the crops too much. Every once-in-a-while, we’ll lose a crop to weed pressure. And conditions like last week are a perfect storm for that possibility. If the ground stays wet too long the weeds will get to a size that it’s not economically practical to do anything except start over.
Walking around the fields this morning, I was struck by how much had been cleaned up. I’m amazed how fast the crew jumps on these issues. As soon as they are finished picking or packing, Silvano, Servando, Austin and Orlando have hoes over their shoulders and are headed to another bed.
There are also many empty beds, with the spaghetti of drip tape gathered into furrows, to be moved later. The obvious weed growth on these open stretches isn’t important at all. And in some open fields, the grasses are coming up in distinct rows, sure sign of the tractor mounted cover crop seeder. This crop of bell beans, winter peas, vetch, barley and oats will be tilled in sometime in the spring. There is nothing like cover crop to build the soil fertility and structure.
This was the first crop of cherry tomatoes planted outside in April. The trellis has come down, so did all the plants. They’ll lay here until the stakes are pulled and then the plants will be chopped and incorporated into beds for either cover crop or or early 2012 plantings.
Little problems always come up in the course of working with machinery that can stop everything. Paul was transporting a load of compost to the new front field when the wheel on the spreader broke. Luckily he was on the road and able to jack it up and re-weld the break.
That was fast. We got possibly an inch of rain last Wednesday, the first rain of the year since May(?) and that made quick work of the summer season. We are expecting warm weather again this week, but there is no doubt that the first rain begins a new kind of work on a small diversified produce farm in California, such as ours.
The summer fruits are quickly sucking up the water from the damp soil, leading to splits and cracks in the skins and then to rot. The flavor dilutes. The leaves are clean and yet brittle. The first planting of tomatoes has been abandon and the trellising has come down. The stakes will be pulled as soon as there is time.
Most of the crew has Saturday off which is the first time several months.
As the weather makes a shift, the farm is prepared. All the covers will come off the field crops in the next few days as 90 degree days are predicted next week. Finally!
Our CSA started today and we are thrilled to try this new way to sell our vegetables. Most of our current members are familiar to me, but a “Farmers Choice” box of whatever is ready to pick up once a week will beautifully fit into households that want excellent, safe produce but have time constraints and are unable to attend either of our farmers’ markets. Those folks will find us. If you know anyone that might want such a box, let us know. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.