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Farm Update, June 9, 2017

Alright kiddos! Last week of school so congratulations on another year nearly completed. Can you hear the cicadas singing about summertime? Or are you ready for chasing fireflies through the grass barefoot? Can you taste the salty waves with the sand between your toes calling your name or the sweet corn picked this morning while the water boils on the stove? From the lawns of Wolf Trap and the sounds of Wilco I notice teachers pouring glasses of wine just a bit more full for another school year finished and a job well done. Don’t worry teachers for this week’s farm update I’ve got you covered with some summer math problems and a little geography quiz for extra credit. So students sharpen your pencils and your wits. Here we go:

1) To help manage nitrogen in the soil it is recommended in the fall to spread 25 tons of dairy cow manure per acre.  This week we’ve been talking to the dairy farm down the road about hauling over semi composted manure to stockpile for spreading at the end of the harvest season. Next year we will be cultivating about 14 acres of fruits and vegetables. How many truck loads of manure can we take if each truck can hold about 12 tons?

2) For the past two years we have been growing lots of vegetables and thinking as we expand our acres of cultivation it may be time to add some fruit.  For starters we are thinking about planting blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, tart cherries (dwarf varieties), and concord grapes. We know we could sell about 970 flats (12 pint) of blueberries, 620 flats of blackberries (thornless please), 200 flats of raspberries, 100 flats of tart cherries (dwarf varieties), and 50 flats of concord grapes. How many plants of each should we plant? How many acres will this require? University of Maryland or Penn State Extension are great resources for data on yields per acre, recommended spacing, etc… Even better ask knowledgeable farmers.

3) When we finish up this long hard season and everything has been picked and plowed under; the stands are closed up and the packing house is full of supplies in storage; when everyone is back in school or back at work and the family vacations are just a fond memory; where in the big wide world will farmer John take his trusty guitar, faithful sketchbook, and adventurous companion to hike trails, comb beaches, swing in hammocks, sip Mai Tai’s and think about the next growing season? For extra credit accompany all recommendations with things to do, places to see, and cuisine to be tasted.

Well there’s your summer homework.  This week at the farm we staked and trellised tomatoes, planted squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and okra. We picked our last strawberries and cut back the plants. We are just about to start picking our own cucumbers and squash and the plants are pretty loaded with fruit as well as blossoms. I’m noticing baby beans just about a week away from harvest and boy are they cute. Our garlic is scaping and sunflowers our shooting up, not just the ones we planted but volunteers as well. Things will be heating up this week which will be great for growth and getting things to harvest although not great for pollination.  Have a great week everyone.

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