The weeks keep rolling by as we get closer to the impending end of the season. The mornings are much cooler and darker when I start my day and I’m afraid that I’ll be adding more and more layers sooner than later. But the optimist in me is ever hopeful that we will have a resurgence of warm dry days. As Autumn quickly approaches, we shift gears a little to start to get ahead. With the uncertainty of the weather, we want to stay on top of getting crops out of the ground. Last week we got a jump on getting a chunk of our potatoes and carrots out of the ground. Most of our potatoes have died back (their tops of turned brown and are starting to wilt) and because they are planted near our tomatoes that have late blight, it’s hard to tell if they are diseased or not.
How are we just a couple of weeks away from September? This season is rolling right by. Here we are at week 11, halfway through our CSA season.
This past week we said goodbye to our student workers through Challenge’s Summer Youth Employment Program. They were a great group who were absolute troopers. Working on a farm is challenging. Your outside in all sorts of weather, your body is in weird positions for long periods of time and you do a lot of the same tasks over and over (I’m looking at you weeding). But these young folks persevered. Always doing what was asked of them with great enthusiasm. They will surely be missed.
Last week I ran into a CSA member who has a Fall Only share. They said, “Todd, what’s up with the woodchucks this year?” I just smiled and said that they haven’t been an issue this season. For those of you who are new to the TC3 Farm CSA or those who may have forgotten about the Great Woodchuck Battle of 2016, last year’s damage due to woodchucks was one of the worst I have seen in my years of farming. This relief in pressure is most likely two-fold. First, there has been a significant amount of rain this year (have you noticed?). This means that there are plenty of lush plants that are not our vegetables for them to munch on. Secondly, and this is just a theory but it makes sense to me, is that we dispatched such a large number of those little suckers, um, I mean, beautiful little creatures, that we actually knocked back the population for the time being. There has been some damage to some of our crops that a woodchuck could be the culprit of but it also may be from a rabbit as well. Anyhow, the update for 2017 is that there is no significant damage due to woodchucks.
It was a somewhat quiet week on the farm last week. The Sustainable Farming and Food Systems students are done with their Summer Internship, although we had a couple of students who came out because they missed the farm so much :)! I even took a long weekend to enjoy a camping trip with my family. And even though taking a 3.5 year old on her first camping trip is exhausting, it was a much needed break from the grind of a farm season. We still have our youth workers through the end of this week, so we plugged away at as many projects as we could get through. We took a break from a lot of the ongoing hand weeding and focused some of our energy on some lingering housekeeping. The barn and classroom got a great cleaning and we got mostly caught up on a project that is usually done in the late fall, sanitizing our seedling trays. “Why do we sanitize our trays?” I’m glad that you asked. Even though our plants don’t spend a lot of time in their trays, we want to make sure that we aren’t harboring any diseases that may linger into the next season. It’s not the most glamorous job but it’s an important one. Another glamour-free job that we started to tackle last week was moving rocks. The joke around hear (any many of my friends) is that the best crop on the farm are rocks. Some of the rocks in our fields (ok, most of them), make transplanting, direct seeding, weeding and even harvesting a real pain. We move them out of the fields into big piles at the end of our beds, always thinking that we’ll get to moving them. Well, that usually doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. This past week we moved about 2-3 tons into our massive rock pile. My estimates is that we’ve pulled about 20 tons of rocks out of our fields since we started farming this land. So, if you were looking for some rocks for a project around the house, just let me know:)
Holy smokes, we made it through last week without any rain until Friday night. What a relief! That meant lots of busy work on the tractor. We were able to get a field mowed that has had standing water for most of the season. The next step is to get it plowed so we can … Read more
Well, another week has gone by and we saw more rain on the farm. It was so wet that I thought that we weren’t going to be able to get any transplanting done last week but we were able to sneak in a few beds on Friday. The talk among my farmer friends is whether … Read more
Week 7 of the TC3 Farm CSA is here! That means we’re about 1/3 of the way through the season. I’m not exactly sure where the time has gone but I can’t believe that it’s almost August. And guess what? It rained a bunch again. I’ve been able to sneak in some tractor work here and there to prep some fields but we still have a field that we haven’t been able to get in all season because of how wet it’s been. And even though the weeds are growing at an epic pace, this wet weather makes them easy to pull. We slowly but surely continue to make our way through the fields. Last week we made it through our potatoes and were able to “hill” them. “Hilling” potatoes is when we mound soil around the base of the potato plants. This allows them to grow more potatoes per foot and protect them from sun exposure. After our potatoes, we started our field peppers. Hopefully, we’ll get through them this week.