This Week on the Farm 3/28
Well, the snow is finally starting to melt. The whole farm is mucky and walking around is pretty treacherous between the puddles and the slick, melting snow. Our dog is in high heaven right now, rooting out dead stuff and rolling in anything that smells. Hopefully by the beginning part of next week we will start seeing more bare ground. After all, we have to plant potatoes in less than a month!
The gutter on the north side of the barn was replaced last Friday. It took them less than a morning’s work to do all of the demo on the old gutter and put in a new seamless gutter. As my father-in-law said, “It really classes the place up.” With the warm weather in the forecast, we should be able to finish removing the last of the manure and start with the rest of the demo work in the barn next week. There is a lot of work to get done to turn the area into our packing shed before June, but we like a challenge!
We have moved all of the flats into the large greenhouse. The onions, scallions, and shallots were large enough that we could move them out of our germination greenhouse and into the bigger greenhouse. This saves us a week or two of extra fuel by only needing to heat one greenhouse. By next week, though, we are going to have to fire up the germination greenhouse again to make room for all of our peppers!
This week we planted 600 pac choy, 1000 broccoli, 1000 kohlrabi, 800 iceberg lettuce, 800 romaine lettuce, 800 red cabbage, 648 Black Beauty eggplant, and 648 Listadia di Gandia eggplant seeds. To make room for all of these flats, we added a couple of benches to our big greenhouse. There were two spots on the west end of the greenhouse that were not large enough to fit our standard benches, so last year they were left open. This year we put a couple of smaller tables there to maximize the usable space.
Since the tables were made from random pieces that were stored all around the farm, before we put any flats on the tables we first sprayed them off. Then Tyler sprayed them down with a 3/4C Bleach/ 1 Gallon water solution that we let dry. For good measure we washed the tables down again with plain water and then let them dry again before placing any flats on the tables.
We get asked a lot if we use any chemicals/pesticides on our farm. The only chemical we use is the bleach solution that we mentioned above. We use it to sterilize equipment to prevent the spread of plant diseases and we use it on any surfaces that your food touches to prevent food born illnesses. Whenever we use the solution we rinse the surface off with water and allow it to dry before using it. Other than that we do not use any other chemicals and we use no pesticides on our farm.
Tomorrow we get to go pick up our 1955 Ford 860 from the mechanic. As many of you may remember, I am not a mechanic, so here is my description in lay terms. We were having issues with our tractor and we knew that we would not be able to fix them. We took it into a mechanic and they took off the head. The head is the solid piece of the engine that everything is mounted to/in. They checked the head and found that the head gasket that had been installed hadn’t had all of the necessary holes punched out of it. This meant that excess heat wasn’t allowed to escape. The result being that the head warped from the heat and affected engine performance.
Thankfully, the head was not cracked and they could mill the head back into shape. If it had been cracked we would have had to replace the whole head (that would cost around $1000 to replace and definitely was not in this year’s budget). Once the head was milled, they replaced the head gasket and replaced the radiator as well, and put everything back together. So, we now have a tractor that purrs like a kitten and is ready to go to work.
Next week April 2 and 3 we will be at J.J.Keller and Associates, Inc. We will have a booth for employees to stop by on their lunch break and ask us questions or chat about the upcoming season.