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This Week on the Farm 7/10
We are starting to sound like a broken record, but here goes, no rain of any significance this last week on the farm. We did get a little bit of rain last week Wednesday for about twenty minutes, enough that we didn’t have to irrigate that night, but still not enough to help us out. Yet another ten day forecast has been issued without the prospect of any rain.
We are much luckier than conventional corn and soybean farmers, though. We have a a small enough area that it is possible to irrigate with drip tape and sprinklers. We also share the risk out amongst our members and aren’t footing the entire bill ourselves at the end of the season if there is a total crop failure.
Conventional farmers do have the saving grace of crop insurance that will pay out a certain percentage in case of bad weather, but it is expensive so a lot of farmers don’t pay for it, or only get a little bit. As of this week the governor declared a state of emergency in 42 counties in Wisconsin due to the drought. It doesn’t mean much for us, but it gives us confirmation that we aren’t the only ones suffering due to the lack of rain.
It was a very productive week on the farm. We harvested all of the garlic and, with the help of our employees, it is all hanging up to cure in one of the barns. It is about a month earlier than we harvested the garlic last year, but it was ready to go and we wanted to get it out of the ground. Garlic hanging out to cure is one of my favorite sights on the farm in the summer. It always reminds me of “ye olde farm” when I walk past the hanging garlic and I always crack a smile.
My parents came down on Sunday and helped finish weeding the leeks. Once the piles of pulled weeds dry out in the aisles, we will be ready to hill the leeks. We have figured out that if we remove the plow portion of our potato planter, it works like a charm to hill the leeks. Too bad it doesn’t work to hill the potatoes since they are too big to fit underneath the machine.
Also on Sunday, my mom and I started weeding the cucumbers. Tyler and my dad worked on clearing out the basement of the barn to get it ready for our walk-in cooler. Tyler’s mom did a lot of tuck point work on the north wall of the barn to replace all of the mortar that had worn away over the years. And while all of this was going on, Tyler’s dad was hauling water out to the fields to keep up with the irrigation.
Monday we finished weeding the cucumbers with our worker crew, and we finished weeding the rest of the bean field. In the afternoon we built the floor for the cooler, and we were lucky enough to get help from Bruce Wagner and Pete Roettinger. Bruce spent the day hooking up a new electrical line to the west barn so we have power to run the cooler. Pete stopped by with his backhoe to dig a trench so we could bury the electrical line in conduit. We would like to give them a big Thank you for all of their help!
Tuesday morning we finished hilling the potatoes, weeded a couple of rows of peppers, and finished weeding the melons. We finished putting the walls and ceiling of the cooler together and got the door hung. Hopefully within the next week or so we will get a chance to get the compressor and other mechanicals installed and get the cooler up and running. Maybe this year we will be able to harvest patty pan squash at the right size!
We are holding a volunteer session Saturday, July 14th from 8am-12N. If you are able to stop by and lend a hand that would be absolutely splendiferous! Let us know by July 13 if you can stop by so we make sure we have enough refreshments to go around!