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This Week on the Farm 9/6
The weather this week has been absolutely gorgeous! This is our favorite type of weather, cool nights and sunny, sweatshirt days. You can work all afternoon without breaking a sweat, which is great in comparison to some of the days earlier in the summer.
Yesterday Tyler and I spent the morning direct seeding spinach and arugula in field 8. Since the area where we were planting contained the remains of kohlrabi from earlier in the year and some weeds, Tyler first cultivated using the tractor to clear the big weeds. We then strung a line to mark where the rototiller should till a line. Once the area was tilled, we reset the line for 34 inches away from the first row. Then we could use the Earthway push seeder to plant the seeds.
This exact distance between rows allows us to come through later on with the tractor and cultivator and weed if the weed pressure is high enough. Now that things have started to cool off, the weeds will not be as large of a problem and we may be able to get by with hand pulling and a hoe.
Once we were done direct seeding, I thinned turnips while Tyler ran up and down alongside the newly germinated rows of beets, turnips, and kohlrabi with the rototiller. That section of the field looks picture perfect.
This morning Tyler spent most of his time on the tractor working up area in the field where our lettuce is planted. He had to till up an area near the high tunnel for our next fall planting of loose leaf lettuce. He also finished discing the rest of the field to prepare it for the fall planting of a cover crop.
There are multiple areas where we are almost ready to seed our cover crop down for the winter. Some areas, like the cabbage field, are ready to go. Others, like where the melons were, need to have the plant debris removed before we can seed the cover crop. It seems like a lot of our work now is going to be getting things ready for the winter.
I spent this morning picking black beans. Black beans are one of our experimental crops this year. We had no idea how well they would grow in Wisconsin or how much one plant would yield, so we planted them without planning on having enough for the boxes.
I pulled about ten feet of bean plants in twenty minutes. It then took me an hour and a half to shell the beans. I was able to get about two pounds of usable beans in that time. I think we need to come up with a mechanized way to shell the beans because my thumbs are hurting from the repetitive movement of shelling the beans.
One thing I noticed is that the more weedy the area where the bean plant was the more likely the beans will have started to germinate in the pod. This is because the beans have dried out once and gone dormant. The morning dew that develops on the plants doesn’t dry off quickly because of all of the vegetation. The excess moisture breaks dormancy and starts the germination process. Once the bean starts to germinate it won’t store anymore. So that is one lesson learned, keep your dry bean plants well weeded to get maximum yield.
In other plant news, I am getting really excited for our Jack O’Lantern pumpkins. There are some really big pumpkins out in the field and I can’t wait to carve some spooky faces.
If you are overwhelmed with the number of jalapeños in your box, don’t fret. You can freeze the jalapeños whole or cut them in half and remove the seeds and freeze them that way. They will store very well for several months in an air tight container.