This Week on the Farm 6/6
Well it is still raining. Don heard on the news that this has been the second wettest January-May on record. Thankfully we are on sandier ground and are not in a valley or flood plane where the moisture sticks around for a long time. The cool, wet spring has kept plant growth at a minimum so far. This is why we have moved the first delivery back a week to give our plants time to grow and your boxes will be more full than if we had left it at the original date. Please check your email for all of the information regarding the date change and pick-up procedures.
Hopefully next year we will be able to purchase a larger hoophouse to grow many of the early season crops for the first couple of boxes. It is a large investment though, and this year we are spending our money set aside for capital investments on a new washing and packing shed. That project is making progress, but will probably not be done in time for the first couple of boxes. With old barns you start working and discover new cans of worms that need to be dealt with almost every day.
This weekend my sister and her family came down and helped us with some more demolition work in the barn. We removed the old windows on the west side of the barn and took off some siding on the south side to get a good look at the support beam that spans the south wall. Time was also spent knocking out the footing on the south wall since it wobbled anyway and needs to be replaced before we put up a new wall. All of the support beams on the south wall were so rotten that they were no longer load bearing. This meant that there was about a thirty foot span along the south wall of the barn that wasn’t held up by anything. We have put in a new post that will get cemented in, and once the new footing is poured and set we are building a wall that will help support the weight of the barn.
They also worked on repairing part of the north wall where the field stone had started to crumble. There is a section of wall that was wood framed and not made out of field stone. This originally had a door in it that gave access to the silo. That area was filled in several years ago to help hold the rest of the wall in place. We repaired the section of field stone that was next to the wood framed wall. We wanted to do this before we removed and replaced the wall to prevent the entire corner from crumbling. Tyler, my brother-in-law and my nephew tuck pointed the wall and the it looks good as new.
Once the mortar sets we will be able to knock out the wooden wall and then we will be able to have the contractor come in and pour a new center pad and footing along the south wall. We had hoped to be able to do this ourselves, but it is a lot of work that we don’t really have time to do, and we don’t have the experience to feel confident that we can do the job without making any mistakes. Since Tyler is so handy, this is one of the few jobs that we have had to hire out since we started farming.
This week we finished putting up the netting on the rest of the sugar snap peas. We were waiting on more rope that we had ordered. Now that we have the rope, we will be able to trellis the indeterminate tomatoes that are outside once they are a little bit bigger. The tomatoes in the high tunnel have been trellised already and have their first string up and ready to go. Once we start trellising them in earnest I will put some photos up of how we are trellising them this year.
When the sun has shone this week we have gotten a lot of field work done. We transplanted all of our winter squash and pumpkins. We have also started the summer long task of weeding. The peas have been weeded as well as the arugula and head lettuce. There is a section of Field 8 where there is a lot of kentucky blue grass that has started to grow. It is in the lowest section of the field where water tends to pool. Our workers spent part of the day on Tuesday pulling the grass by hand, but there is more to do once the field dries out more. With the blue grass we have to pull it by hand and remove it from the field, otherwise it just re-roots.
All of our fertilizing for the week is done. We use a composted chicken manure called Chickity Doo Doo that we get from a plant in Lake Mills. We fertilized the onions, scallions, arugula, and lettuce. It is stinky work and we are glad that job is done for a little while.