This Week on the Farm 8/30
Last week we wrote about how we were going to seed a bunch of fall plantings of certain plants. This didn’t actually happen because our rototiller broke. We finally got it back from the repair shop yesterday, so Tyler finally got a chance to start seeding spinach, arugula, and lettuce this morning. We feel like the design and construction of our tiller was definitely made for the hobby gardener and not for an operation like ours. The handle attachment has now broken twice and we have had to replace the pull start mechanism twice. And as usual with these types of things, it breaks right when you most need it. Next year we will hopefully be able to find a used three-point rototiller for behind the tractor.
Our raspberry bushes have a great fall crop and we are looking forward to next year’s growth. It looks like it will be a good start to our raspberry patch. In other fruit news, the strawberries are starting to put out new growth after we mowed them off earlier this month. We probably should have transplanted some of the plants before we mowed, but since we ran out of time we will do that in the next couple of weeks. We want to turn our patch into less of a patch and into rows to make harvest in the spring easier.
It looks like it will be the last week for the beans. We are going to try to find a different variety of the Italian beans. We didn’t like this year’s variety as much as last year’s. Hopefully we will be able to find last year’s seed from an organic source for next year. I really liked the way the French Filet beans turned out, so I think that one is a keeper.
If the weather holds for the next couple months, we should have an excellent crop of tomatoes. This week the first couple of tomatoes per plant are starting to turn red. Pretty soon we should have a bumper crop. The plants look like they are producing a lot more fruit per plant than last year. We have noticed some cracking near where the fruit attaches to the stem. Some causes of cracking are rapid growth due to hot temperatures, too much rain or irrigation, low potassium levels, or removing too many leaves and exposing the fruit to high light levels.
We were lucky enough to have our workers return for most of this week. This morning they helped rake out under the high tunnel and thin the turnips. Now that the tiller is fixed we are going to plant fall plantings of loose leaf and romaine under the high tunnel. In the next month we will have to take the shade cloth off and put the poly back up so we can trap the day’s heat near the plants for the cold nights that are inevitably on their way.
More of our onions are going “tops down.” You can harvest onions at any time, however they will store better once they have gone tops down. This is because all of the nutrients have moved out of the above ground leaves and into the onion bulb. Since there is no more turgor pressure in the cells to hold the leaves upright, the leaves fall over and lay on the ground.
The pumpkin in this photo was carved by Tyler when it was still green. As the pumpkin matures and turns orange the carved area becomes pale due to scar tissue. We have carved peoples names and faces into several of the pumpkins. Lines are super easy to make, curves are difficult. We think they look pretty cool.