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Farm Update, October 1, 2016

This week really feels like the beginning of autumn.  Driving by Larriland Farms on the way to work I see trees loaded with apples and parking lots filled with pickers.  The skies are frequented with “V” formations and honking of geese, and the corn is ready to cut. There is definitely a change in the air at our farm as well.  The past few days in the fields have been quite wet, cloudy, and windy.  Having extra layers of clothes has been crucial. Many of the crops which have kept us super busy over the past several months such as tomatoes, squash, peppers, and eggplant have begun to wind down.  Our cool crops, however, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts are sizing up nicely.  Kale keeps on trucking along, and we’ve been very pleased with the quality of our baby greens such as arugula, spinach, salad and stir fry mixes.  Our baby strawberry plants have settled in nicely and we are soon to be receiving garlic to be planted for harvest around the beginning of summer.

Our focus now is turning to the next season.  As the beds finish producing for this year, we pull out the plants and stakes, rip up the plastic, and prepare the beds for cover crops and either seed or lay down new plastic for the next season’s early plantings.  By laying the plastic now it will save us from having to worry about the condition of the soil being too wet in March thru early May when we will be planting our onions, cool crops, and first successions of summer veggies.  It is a zen feeling to have that sense of returning to the empty canvas.  A period of rest following our summer of motion.  I am looking forward to this week meeting with our team to plot out our beds and irrigation zones; to plan our rotation and review last year’s seed order.  I will compose a spreadsheet which will help us discuss each crop, whether each variety was a success or failure.  We will keep the successes and replace the latter with another variety more suitable.  I want to gather information such as how many bushels did we pick per row, how do we want to adjust the spacing of the plants per row as well as the spacing of plantings between days.  Also we will make adjustments in quantity.  Some crops we can certainly increase, while others we can pair back.  In some cases we are thinking about grouping the same amount of plants into smaller yet more frequent plantings for a smoother more even production.  I enjoy coming up with the plan and witnessing the transformation which will accompany it.

That’s about it for now.  Have a great week everybody.
John Norman

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