Friday, July 17, 2015

Garden day

Here is the clover I cut a couple days ago.  I pulled it out of the field to avoid rain and it's drying very sloooowly.  Interesting experiment.

Celeriac is looking very strong.  I am hilling it slightly, which is supposed to aid in keeping the root ball blanched.

These are some of the pepper plants.  A couple are still fairly weak, but most have taken root well.

The lentils really tapered off toward the wet end of the field.  You can see the beans handled the moisture just fine.  But the lentils were slowly being replaced by weeds, so I just tore up the worst part of it.  Higher up the lentils are really bushing out and I can see some small flowers now.

I finished feeding the bok choi to Wilhelm and seeded it to lettuce before the rain.  This same night we got 1" of rain, and it's humid and rain in the forecast for the next week.

Some of the Red Fife is lodging a bit.

Amish snap peas are ready to produce.

I harvested the little bit of purple barley that survived.  It's a pain to harvest with the clover growing all around it.  In addition, much of it had started to lodge.

Carrots are developing nicely!  Too bad the Earthway put them so close together.  The soil is too tough to be able to pull them, so I need to remember to dig them.

Started moving the chicken coop.  I want the noise further away from the road, and I want to test having the donkeys circulate around it as guard animals.

Took in 70 bales from Joe on Wednesday.  There were 25 bales in the loft left over from last season.  Would like to have 160+ in the loft by Winter.  I'm hesitating before buying more until I see if I can harvest some red clover from my field of Turkey on Spring Street.  That five acre field could potentially have a couple hundred bales on it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ready for rain

On Sunday /12 I finished getting ready for the expected rains.  A single veggie row was created to the West of the Buckwheat field and seeded to bok choi (about 75') and the remainder to parsnips.  Have no idea what the parsnips will do.  They take 3 weeks to germinate!  We'll see.

Stuck the last of the lettuce plugs in to an area that I've been pulling beets out of.

And here below is where I took out the bolted spinach (feeding to the goats) and seeded to carrots.

Two days later I saw buckwheat coming up already!  Amazing,

This clover where the barley never took was getting weedy so I knocked it down and made a little hay out of it.  I'm curious so I'll let it dry (if the rain holds off) and stick it in the barn.  Probably a half bale in total!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Planting buckwheat and Harvesting Peas

After July 4 I dragged the new East strip two more times with the danish drag and the soil just got better and better.  As the trash got (painstakenly) thrown over the fence, the digger worked better and I started to think about using it for a crop of buckwheat.  My intention is to let the buckwheat go to seed and then cut and thresh it for flour.  Wonder if it will work??!  The seed was drilled in to about 1-1/4" and it was well covered up.  Rains came on Sunday night right on schedule.

I also planted a row of bok choi and parsnips.  Have no idea if the parsnips will work--they take at least 3 weeks to germinate!  A little further over I put the last of the lettuce transplants in the ground, and replaced the bolted spinach with a row of carrots.  The row of carrots from May is outstanding.  They could use a thinning (not sure if I'll get around to that), but they are weed-free and strong.

Big roots continued to come out during the process.  Some of the stumps I found while dragging, and others I found with the seeder.  There were a couple of real monsters and I'm real happy to get them out of there.

Note bene: Do not let overwintered rye grow past May.  Rye should be broadcast, not drilled, so the sod plows easier.  And I think the clover cover crops should be fall plowed (maybe experiment with the different strips...).

Margaret visited on the 11th and threw herself onto the row of little marvel peas.  We picked and shelled for maybe 90 minutes and this yielded about 6 pounds of shelled peas, all blanched, packaged, and thrown into the freezer.  She even took more peas (unshelled) when she left the next day.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

New drag, first theft

I tested out the new drag on July 4 and I am pretty pleased with the results.  Since then I have used it again and I have a better feel for it's strengths and weaknesses now.  The 4" danish sweeps are fantastic--it's really picking up sod chunks and working the soil.  It runs very well in clean soil but can clog quickly if there is trash, especially old roots and clods of soil.  The rear cross bar could be moved back or eliminated to alleviate this issue.  I also want to experiment with hydraulic lift--there are different possibilities at Harbor Freight, I think.  Double action would be best, but spring lower might also work.  The second time I was hitching up to it, I looped the reins over the raise lower lever and the team bent it up when they walked off.  It's been very buggy (small gnats, etc) and these sessions were not real fun for me or the team.  I hope we can get better at summer field work.  I have no idea how horses can work mid day making hay!  We only ever work in the morning or evening, and I always pick cool days.

I'm thinking of planting buckwheat into this strip, not as a cover, but to harvest and eat.  That would be fun.  The book says it is easy to thresh and clean.

To give you an idea of where this soil started, this video from Fall 2014 is kind of funny:

Somebody cleaned out the self-serve stand on Saturday.  Aaargh!  I was so proud that this had never been a problem before.  Oh, well.  Lost about $5 I suppose.

Zucchini has started up--hold on tight!  Actually, it won't be as crazy as last year since not that many plants made it.  But cucumber, winter squash, and even cantaloupe could still be epic.  We'll see.

I have the sythe and cradle all ready for the wheat.  The Turkey in back is really starting to turn.  Maybe 2 weeks out??

Thursday, July 2, 2015

East strip

The weather has been unusually cool lately so it was a perfect morning to hitch up and work that new section.  We used the spring tooth only and I was real happy with how it was digging into this ugly, clunky, soddy, rooted ground.  We also managed to run over the last of the rye and get that section in good steed.  I plan to throw some compost over it soon and get some fall vegetables going in it soon.  The new ground will be dragged one or two more times before being planted to oats and peas, I think.

Lesson learned on the rye!  I think that overwintered rye needs to be plowed down in May, not June.  Once it is heading out it is just sooooo tenacious!

After the work session I was in the garden and a 40lb fawn jumped right over the fence and tried to hang out with me.  Later I found out why--he or she has been munching away on the beans!  I will have to add some more hot wires and maybe do some more mowing and clearing outside the perimeter.  This is not good.

Last week Thursday the farm hosted 40 mostly female yogis for pizza and some yoga instruction as part of Ilana and Laura's Breathe for Change program.  I was amazed at how well the donkeys handled all the excitement, even coming out to great an inquisitive group of them.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July update

I pulled a few garlic plants in the first couple days of July.  I looked for plants that had at least two dead leaves at the base.  I think some of them should have stayed in the ground longer, but I'll know better once they have finished curing.

Corn is solid and the Turkey is turning.  Probably two weeks before cutting the wheat.

The Red Fife Spring wheat is not nearly as far along.

Started digging potatoes on July 2.  The plants are still producing so I am halfheartedly replanting them after harvesting the new potatoes.  Not sure if this will do anything, but I certainly have plenty of good potato plants so I don't mind if I'm killing a few by harvesting new potatoes.