Wow! What a year it has been so far. I have worked so hard, learned so much, and grown so much food. There is still lots to do on the farm, but the days are getting shorter, I am getting more sleep (hooray!) and the food is getting safely packed away for winter in cold storage and in jars. I have a little more time to enjoy a quiet moment out on the river or up on a mountain. This fall has been a generous one, with warm temperatures and the longest foliage season I can recall. I am also posting pictures on Facebook once and a while, and don't expect I will be blogging with as much regularity as I was this past spring. It turns out farming takes up pretty much all of one's waking hours. I knew it was going to be hard this year, but I am learning ever more just what it takes to start and run one's own business and a farm all at the same time.
And I have been working like a dog.... and you bet I sure do sleep like a log! No big surprise blogging has taken a back seat to actual farming. I don't expect I will be back here for a little while more, but I thought I would share a few pictures of the season so far. Its been such a learning experience already and I am so grateful to be here doing this work. Yay!
The cool spring season crops are loving this weather! The peas, broccoli and kale are thriving in this unseasonably cool June. Nights are still in the 50's which means that the Solanaceous "nightshade" family of crops - tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes - are mostly just sitting tight waiting for the boost of July heat for the fruit to start ripening. If you look at the root of the plant family name, Solanaceae - you can see that solar power is critical to these plants. The term "nightshade" also suggests that these plants grow at night. I have heard folks refer to that concept of high night growth before and all I can say is that the plants definitely look bigger in the morning. I haven't been able to find any concrete scientific research that verifies tomato growth patterns in relation to day light. Perhaps I will have to conduct my own experiment. Since the tomatoes in the high tunnel are trellised up on strings maybe I should mark where a specific plant is on the string a the start and end of the day and night for a few days.... Citizen Science at its best!
Speaking of Citizen Science, I have been volunteering with the Green Mountain Conservation Group to help track water quality in the Ossipee watershed by testing and taking water samples in the Ossipee River and in one of its' tributaries. It is great to take an hour in the morning every other week to do something completely different. We are also collaborating to show the movie "Vanishing of the Bees" here at the farm in the CSA pick-up space on July 9th at 6:30. Light refreshments provided, and some seating available, but if you have a camp chair please bring it along in case we run out of seats.
This past week brought lots of exciting discoveries as I begin to uncover some of the crops that were
tucked in for the past few weeks since they were transplanted. Using “row covers” on the crops gives
them the chance to grow in a protected warm place for several weeks while they get established in the
garden. Using row covers also means that I can’t really see what is going on under the covers until the
plants really start to bust out! Most of the surprises were positive, the broccoli has tiny baby broccoli
that will be ready soon, the summer squash has flowers waiting to be pollinated and the kale is just
about ready to be picked! Of course there was also the less exciting surprises, like discovering that many
of my first planting of cucumbers had died, and that there are lots of very happy weeds growing up
under there too with all the crops! Thankfully I had more cucumber plants to replace the dead ones with
and friends to pitch in and help with some weeding last weekend.
#2 CSA Share contents
Green and Red Lettuce
Mix and Match greens including Spinach, Arugula, Lettuce Mix and Mustard Greens