This Week on the Farm 8/21
The second half of the season has begun and we are loving the weather so far. This week is supposed to be fairly dry, but we did get three inches of rain late last week. Because of that, we finally have some moisture built up in the soil. The only thing we may need to go out and irrigate is the direct seeded field to keep all of the seedlings nice and moist. Other than that, there is enough moisture there that the plants will be able to keep growing.
We love the fact that we can start the morning out in long sleeved shirts and then have it warm up to shorts weather. It feels like we totally skipped that type of weather this spring. We went from winter coats to 80 degree weather and totally missed out on the 60 degree sweatshirt days. Hopefully we get a lot of those this fall. A late frost would also be nice, but I’m not holding my breath. It would seem absolutely fitting for this season from hell to make our lives more difficult by having an early frost.
This week we only have a planting of loose leaf lettuce to seed. Other than that we will be able to spend our time weeding and trying to clean the fields up so they look pretty for the Farm Stop and Barley Pop tour on September 8. I say “try” since farming is always a work in progress. I learned long ago that farming on this scale is not like a big garden, it is never going to be weed free. You just have to accept that or you will drive yourself nuts.
We have been able to start clearing out older sections of fields where things are done being harvested. We mow and then till the areas. Some areas will have new things planted in them for the fall, and others get planted to a cover crop.
Our cover crop consists of a 50/50 mix of field peas and oats that we plant to keep the soil in place over the winter. If you have bare ground you lose a lot of soil in the spring snow melt. If there are roots holding the soil in place it is not as big of a problem, thus our desire to plant as much area to a cover crop as possible.
The field peas also help “fix” nitrogen from the atmosphere and lock it in the soil where it is available to plant roots. The one problem with cover crops is that they can act as habitat for overwintering pests. But all in all, cover crops are pretty darn important.
This week we worked on the two sections of tomatoes. Where the transplants survived, the plants look really good. But there are large patches where the transplants didn’t make it. A constant reminder of the drought.
We also weeded about a third of the area that we direct seeded two weeks ago. The collards and the napa cabbage are looking really nice. I love seeing areas right after we weed them with the nice green rows and the dark brown soil.
We have edamame in the boxes this week. This is our first year growing it, so let us know what you think. We are still working out the best timing for harvesting, so there may be a few immature pods, or a few that are too mature in your box. If you have a great recipe for edamame please let us know.