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This Week on the Farm 2/17
Well February is already halfway through and I am ready for warmer weather. All of the frigid weather has forced us to adjust our planting schedule slightly. With the price of LP double what it normally is at this time of year, we decided to postpone our onion plantings by a week to ten days. We are hoping that the use of our new germination chamber will offset the delay be speeding up germination. But even if it doesn’t, we couldn’t justify burning $5/gallon LP as it would significantly alter our budget.
Tyler is putting the finishing touches on the germination chamber as I write this. The design went through several incarnations before he settled on the final design. Tyler is very deliberate when it comes to things he builds. He likes to take his time and think things through, I tend to slap things together and try to get something put together as fast as possible so I can move on to the next project. While my technique tends to work for the short term, Tyler’s projects tend to last a lot longer. We make a good team.
Our big delivery of irrigation and planting supplies arrived last week. Everything is put away and ready to go for this spring and Tyler is pretty pumped that that was the last big delivery of the winter. He won’t have to unload pallets until later this spring when we go to pick up our pelletized, composted chicken manure. That is one job that I am glad does not fall into my purview.
Last Thursday Tyler went to the second class put on by the Dane County Extension and FairShare that dealt with vegetable production. The focus this time was on peppers and winter squash. We got some nice storage tips for winter squash that will hopefully allow us to store our squash into the early winter. We realized that we have been planting our squashes too close together and this may be impacting both the size and quantity of our yields. We have altered our crop rotation by taking one of our five fields in cover crop and changing it to another winter squash field. This will allow us to plant with more space both between plants and between rows without having to decrease the variety of squashes that we grow.
One of the most interesting things he learned at the class was to use a very fine dusting of clay as a protectant for both sun scald on peppers and powdery mildew on squash. The clay keeps the peppers cooler during the heat of the day, preventing the western side of exposed fruit from “cooking” in the sun. The plant pathogen expert at the class explained that the clay protects squash by tricking the fungal spores into thinking that they are not on host plant cells. Since we do not spray any chemicals to prevent disease outbreaks, using a dusting of clay sounds like an option that we would be open to trying. I am going to do some more research on it to make sure that we are comfortable “applying” it to our plants before we try it out.
Later this week we have our annual meeting with our accountant to file our taxes. While not the most exciting thing in the world, I do have to say that I love our accountant. He does an awesome job and makes everything very clear and easy to understand. This year is a big year for us… we get to claim a dependent!