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This Week on the Farm 8/20
A big thank you to our members who came out to the farm on Saturday to help us dig potatoes. We made good progress on digging the potatoes, but there are still a lot of spuds out in the field. We are going to try to get them all in and bagged up by the end of the month, since all of our workers will be back in school after labor day.
After harvesting multiple varieties of potatoes we think that we lost about a third of the potential yield due to the heavy rains and saturated soils in June. Just another reminder of how nature impacts us as farmers.
There has been little to no rain this month, so we are keeping our fingers crossed that it will rain in the next week. Since there hasn’t been rain, we have started up the drip irrigation system. This year we bought a different type of drip tape that helps to keep the lines pressurized. We have been able to run double the number of feet of row at one time because of the switch.
This year we have two types of water “feeder” systems. One is just a garden hose out to the close field where the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are growing. This hose is able to run about 4,000 feet of drip tape at once, or about half of the field. We let the system run for two to three hours to get a good soaking and then switch the on/off valves to run the other half of the field.
The other “feeder” system utilizes two inch lay flat hose that runs from the shop where the well is located out to the back field. The hose then empties into a 1500 gallon bulk tank. From the bulk tank we have a 3.5 hp gas pump that pushes the water through more lay flat hose that runs along the edge of the fields. Each field has another section of lay flat hose that acts as the manifold where the drip tape is attached. We can select which manifold is turned on and which field is watered by turning on or off the shut off valves located on the main line.
This system has worked extremely well for us this year. We can run about 13,000 feet of drip tape with the pump on idle. This weekend we were able to run some experiments and found out that the water that is running from the well to the tank can keep up with the water that is being delivered to the field. We think that this will allow us to run even more tapes, or fields that are farther from the well if we actually use the tank as a reservoir.
I am very happy with the irrigation system that Tyler designed this winter, and I think after a summer of use, he is still impressed that his design worked so well. Usually there is a lot of tweaking that needs to get done when you are designing or working on a farm project, but this one worked right away. It is always nice when that happens!
We are really excited that the concrete is going to be poured in the packing shed this coming Friday. We had the area all prepped and ready to go in June, but with all of the rain the area got so wet (several inches of standing water in places) that there was no way we could have cement poured. This morning we spent the day clearing out stray weeds that had started growing on the exposed soil inside of the barn and clearing out weeds and brush out front of the barn to get ready for all of the work that will be happening in the next couple of weeks.
We also had to move some lumber piles to get access to a couple of areas where they will be pouring the concrete. There was one section in the back corner that had uneven concrete, so we used a bar to pry that loose so it can be replaced with a smoother surface. Tyler finished tuck pointing the last remaining area where the wall had collapsed. He had been waiting for the lower section he repaired to finish curing so that he could build up the rest of the wall. The only thing remaining is to finish sweeping so that there are clean surfaces for them to join the old cement to the new and we will be good to go. I am pretty pumped that there is a good chance we will be able to use the space for the last month to month and a half of the season.
I should mention that while all of this has been going on we have also continued to weed, seed fall crops, set out more irrigation, mow, and continue all of the other daily farm activities that need to be done. We are halfway through the delivery season. Pretty soon we are going to be worrying less about the weeds and more about frost protection, but with so much on our to do list, I probably shouldn’t be thinking that far ahead!