Week 38

Ms. Praying Mantis sits elegently in the flowers

With warmer days and cooler nights, we been getting a bit of fog in the morning. It was perfect timing to take a few shots of some of the critters I found living in and around the plants. Praying mantis seem to be everywhere! I’m curious to know if they were around in the field before we started cultivating here?

We were so lucky to have two volunteers start on the farm last week. Geoff and Kat moved into a loft above the barn and have been helping get things done on the farm. They are both recent UofM grads that just came back from hiking the AT and wanted a glimpse into farming life. Having them here has really illustrated for me how much more can be done with 3 people. Just having harvesting help for markets alone has increased sales by 50% at one of our markets! Its a good experience for all of us as I go into planning for next season.

Kat harvesting filet beans

Seeing them camped out in the barn reminds me of my apprenticing days and what an adventure it was. I remember waking up and working hard physically all day to come back to the tent after dark and relax by candle light with a book. The simplicity was delightful and I often romanticize having zero responsibility and just being present with daily tasks.

First crop of raspberries!

There are still a few spots on the farm that we just haven’t been able to get to this season. The flower beds from last year are one big crazy weed fest. I was hoping to get to these last week, but just couldn’t get there. Always other priorities that come first (re=planting, weeding crop beds, harvests, markets,. etc). My daily routine is very much shaped by my priority list that I plan out at the beginning of each week by taking stock of what I did last week and what needs to happen in preparation for the weeks following. A lot of the priorities are focused around when I want to be harvesting certain crops and working backwards to a planting date.

We put in 100 raspberry plants this spring and constructed a high tunnel over them in order to get early berries. Of course, since it was just me, the tunnel got suffocated with weeds and dried out and only 50% of the roots survived. Luckily the company is sending me replacements!!!! That way my $500 investment won’t go down the tube. We still had raspberries for us though:)

Delicious!

I put in an order for 200′ row feet of a  asapargus (green and purple) and        100′ of   table grapes (green and purple). I   I think the investment in perennials will definitely pay off in the next few years. We can never have enough early crops OR fruits!

Rainbow chard!Parsley!

Harvesting has been a lot more thorough since Kat and Geoff got here. We’ve been able to clean out most of the beans and get to crops I usually skim on due to time constraints.

Kat uses wheel hoe to prep a bed for planting

Geoff shovels lots of compost for a new spinach planting

Newest crop of greens coming on for fall

We’ve also been busy pulling as many hot crops as possible and seeding spinach. I figure we can’t have enough spinach for this fall/winter/and for next spring. This week or next we will start putting up quick hoops over some of this to help hurry it along a bit by keeping it warmer under a cover.

Newly plowed area

Its been quite wet over the last week and its predicted to be wet this week as well. We are waiting for the newly plowed field to have a couple of days to dry out before we are able to till it. After its tilled we can begin digging the permanent pathways and creating the raised beds. I’ll be putting out a large volunteer call for this since its an acre of space. Why don’t we just use a tractor to make the beds? A. I don’t have an implement that will create the exact size and shape of the beds I want. B. If I can do it with human labor and save compacting the soil even more by driving a huge machine over it, I will. C. Its a great workout!

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