Sunday, May 29, 2011

Keeping busy

Last week in synopsis:  
  • Plants growing, mostly happily. Though we're starting to see some flea beetles and, strangely, ants have been a pest on a few things. especially decimating our broccoli seedlings. Woudn't have predicted that one!

  •  Picked rocks from our two summer fields. Several bucket loads. What they lack in numbers they make up for in size, there were some monsters! Good thing we got a tractor with a bucket!
  •  First harvest of the season: arugula, spring mix, baby kale, radishes and cilantro

  • First sales of the season. Plant sale in Plymouth Saturday, and Sunday plant/veggie sale Northstar Farm on Sunday
  • Working in the fields until dark several nights last week
Our tomato seedlings shot up! Last week they were 6" tall, now some of them are now 18" tall, yikes! We'll be getting them into the ground in the next few days. It's starting to really feel like summer. We're running to keep up with it all.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New arrivals to the farm and the fields

Despite all the rain and grey weather we've been having, we're getting lots done at Skinny Dip Farm. We made a big push at the end of last week to get a lot of plants in the ground, including our early tomatoes, early summer squash, cucumbers and basil (all are covered with row cover to keep them a bit warmer. Good thing because it's been cool all week!) We also transplanted lots of flowers last week, and today we planted dahlia tubers. Last weekend we spread soil amendments and did secondary tillage in our two summer fields, so they are ready to go, which is good because our spring field is almost full of crops. We have lots of summer crops growing well in the greenhouse, getting ready for planting. As well as dozens of flats getting ready to be sold as seedlings. We're doing a plant sale in Plymouth MA on Saturday 5/28, and I think we'll also do one Sunday 5/29 in Westport... still figuring out details for the Sunday sale. 

On monday we took a road trip up to Holly Hill Farm (which we used to manage) to visit, as well as to pick up our other tractor, a 1952 Allis Chalmers G cultivating tractor. The good folks at Holly Hill were generous enough to let us store our tractor there all winter (and spring). We had to rent a trailer to get it to Westport, but it made the trip in one piece, and we think it's happy to be in its new home. It actually fits perfectly in the shed on the farm, thankfully, so we can keep it out of the weather.
Now we need to adjust the tire spacing on the G, so it will fit our bed spacing, and we'll be ready to cultivate. Exciting! We just bought this tractor off Craigslist last November, so we've never used it, and after farming the past five years at Holly Hill Farm without any mechanical cultivation, we are really fired up to do so serious mechanical cultivation! Plus, I've wanted an Allis Chalmers G since I was 16 years old, no joke! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

More growing

Looking through photos I took just last week, I realize how much everything has grown and changed in just a few days, spring in New England is pretty amazing in how fast it comes on. We've been working hard to get many plants and seeds in the ground. The big transplanting project last week was onions, about 60,000 of them. That's a lot of little onion plants to handle, and we sure hope it will turn into a nice crop of onions. We also put spring cover crop into a 1/2 acre field, where it will add nutrition and organic matter to the soil. We'll turn it into the soil in July, and use that field for our fall crops. Now that the soil has warmed up some, we're starting to see lots of tiny weeds popping up, and are working hard to keep on top of the weeding.
Here Ben is using the flame weeder, you can't really see the flame coming out the end of the torch in his hand, but you can see the steam rising off the soil. We go over beds of tiny young weeds with the flame, and it causes the water in the weeds' cells to boil, bursting the cells, and killing the weeds. Here Ben is flaming a bed that we had seeded to spinach. Weeds had come up already, but the spinach is slower to germinate. So he knocked back the weeds before the spinach was up. If we get all the timing right, spinach pops out of the weed free ground, and we're on our way to happy spinach harvests.