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Farm Update, June 11, 2016

This week at the farm things are getting busy. If we are not picking, we’re planting, if we’re not planting, we are watering, staking tomatoes, prepping beds, fertilizing, setting up irrigation, scouting, dealing with pests or mowing. There is always something to be done and with our first ever gathering at the farm for our market workers coming up there is a menu to plan and a gathering space to configure. It’s all very exciting.

We picked our first bushel of zucchini the other day and although I thought we would be offering squash blossoms as a choice in our CSA this week, we will need to hold off a bit as this is a crucial time for pollination to occur. So we will need to limit these for the time being to special order only.

While new crops are coming in, I must admit a slight tinge of discord to walk past emptying rows of harvested crops. Where lush green lettuce, bok choi, and napa cabbage once flowed, now voids which beg to be filled. Here we are planting beans. Our first bed of direct seeded crops is in its home stretch as we continue to harvest radishes, arugula, baby kale, mizzuna, tatsoi, and a mesclun mix. Beets are coming in and I’m fancying a roasted beet and arugula salad. Our next bed of direct seeded crops are sprouting and speckling the ground in vibrant baby green. Analysis from tomato plant samples indicate our plants are healthy, nutrient levels are pretty good and the report will guide us on what our plants are craving so we can adjust their “diets”.

One task I have given myself is to keep excellent records. What I lack in field knowledge and experience this growing season I’m hoping to make up for during the decision making process in the fall and winter. I’m tracking our planting schedule, harvest dates and quantities, keeping a scouting log, tracking revenues and expenses, etc. I’m keeping copious notes on what’s going well and where there is room for improvement. All this was done with ease until June hit. In my notes sentences have been whittled to phrases then words and possibly soon to symbols and grunts. I’ll keep you posted.

So it was a welcome reprieve to sit atop the tractor on a gorgeous Friday evening and mow. Relishing the sweet smell of grass and taking in the panoramic progress of our farm while circling our island of row crops in a sea of emerald corn fields whispering in the summer breeze and contemplating the conversations and thoughts I’d had this week and begin searching for a theme.

From a farming perspective we are starting to encounter what happens when the first plantings of the season are encumbered by cool and cloudy weather while the next succession of planting hits the ground running. We have an entire row of lettuce which is getting almost too big to be picked with another row coming in which should be about perfect for when we need it. Questions arise such as could we have planned more successions of smaller plantings? What do we do with our surplus? In this line of work you have to be conscientious about how you spend your resources. You hate seeing food go to waste, yet how can you justify picking, packing, and shipping something which you are already taking a loss on. I guess this is where it would be good to connect or establish a gleaning network. I’ll add that to my list. Have a great week everyone.

Farmer John

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