Farm Update June 3
It has been a very busy spring on the farm this year. This is the first year in about four years that we have not had employees on the farm helping us with all of our work. Like a lot of small scale farmers we found that it was difficult to find labor, and very expensive. Labor expenses were eating up almost half of our income, so we decided to find a different scale for our farm where we could do the work ourselves. One advantage that we have is that we have invested in our mechanical transplanting and cultivation equipment, so we are able to do a lot of work with just Tyler, Tyler’s dad, and myself.
The spring was cold and wet, so we didn’t get some crops in as early as we would have liked, but that is farming. The onions and potatoes are in and are looking good. The onions need to be cultivated once more with the tractor and then a good round of hand weeded will be needed to clean them up to the point they will be good for the rest of the year. The potatoes have been hilled once already and are almost ready for a round of whack a beetle. Whack a beetle is our non-chemical way to control Colorado Potato Beetles (CPB). We use a broom to knock the beetles off of the plants into a kids sled. Then we dump the beetles into a bucket of soapy water and remove them from the field. We get reasonable control with this method. Enough where we have no intention of turning to chemicals to solve that problem.
The brassicas and lettuce are doing well. We have had a little deer damage in the lettuce, but not bad. We have fencing to put up in the back field to keep the deer out, but we probably won’t have time to put it in until July. With the retail greenhouse still open until June 17 and strawberry season almost upon us, we don’t have enough time to start another project.
The peppers and eggplant are also in and look good. We are hoping to get the tomatoes transplanted tomorrow. Then the only things remaining will be the pumpkins and winter squash, popcorn, and seeding the sunflowers and dried beans. It is that time of year, no time to rest, just go, go, go!