This Week on the Farm 10/20
For some of our members this is the last week to pick up their CSA box. Although the vegetable goodness does end, I just want to remind everyone that we do update our website twice a month during the winter with updates on what is happening on the farm. Although the winter may seem like a very slow time for farmers like us, we are actually very busy with our plans for the next season and we try to catch up on all of the building projects that had to take a back seat during the summer months.
Speaking of plans for next year, your opinions help us make decisions on what crops to grow and which varieties you would like to see in your box next year. We will be sending out our end of the season survey sometime in the next week, so please help us out by filling out the survey. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes and it will help us with our decision making process this winter.
Last week was a very productive week. We removed all of the frost protection irrigation in the tomato and pepper field and all of the hoses and sprinklers are back up in the barn for the winter. We found that a two person team worked well to remove the hoses. Shelbi drove the truck alongside the hoses and parked next to a sprinkler. She then unhooked the hose from the sprinkler and placed the sprinkler in the truck. The whole time I was in the bed of the truck and once she had unhooked the hose she handed it to me and I coiled it up in the bed of the truck. Once the hose was wound up Shelbi drove the truck to the next sprinkler. It worked very quickly, but by the end my arms felt like they were going to fall off from hauling so many hoses into the bed of the truck.
Once we got the hoses out of the field we went through and cut all of the tomato trellising twine. Each row of trellising had three lines of twine that needed to be pulled out of the field. It wasn’t very difficult to pull the twine and place it in a bin, but it was pretty disgusting to be stepping on semi-frozen/rotting tomatoes. Plus that day it was misty and everything was damp. By the time we were done removing the twine from all of the trellises the bottoms of my pants were plastered in several inches of tomato goop. I think that it was an even smellier job than spreading Chickity Doo Doo.
While Shelbi and I removed the twine, Tyler spent time setting up a trailer to pull behind the tractor that could hold all of the t-posts from the tomato trellises. In past years we have loaded the t-posts in the bed of the truck and then unloaded them once we got back to the barn. When you are installing/pulling hundreds of t-posts at one time it is a lot of lifting and stress on your back. He decided that it would be better to just have a designated t-post trailer so that we didn’t have the extra step of unloading. It took a little bit of work to get the trailer to work since the frame had an odd shape that wasn’t designed to have an even load spread out in front of the tires. The trailer also hadn’t been used in fifteen years, so he had to check and fill the tires. Luckily after we got all of the t-posts on the trailer the tires did hold air and they didn’t explode on the drive back!
We also were able to get in more of our dried beans. We have ten more rows to harvest and I am hoping we will get those in this week. I mentioned last week that we like to lay the beans out in our greenhouse for a few days to dry out completely. Once they are dry we winnow them to remove any chaff. Tyler found an old exhaust fan to blow the chaff out of the beans. He had to rewire it so that we could plug it in since it had been originally hard wired in place. The fan worked well, but we still sorted them by hand to remove as many bad beans as possible. We sorted two hundred pounds of beans this week, so a few bad beans probably slipped though. So please check over your beans before you use them.
We have also been busy getting supplies around for the biomeiler workshop this weekend. On Sunday the straw bales arrived and are hanging out in the hay wagon until we have time to unload them. The circulation pump and tubing also arrived. We need to move a few more brush piles and cut a few more trees before the area will be ready for the workshop. It looks like it will be a beautiful weekend to be outside and tickets are still available if you want to come out and see how to build a compost heater!