19Nov2007

Dia de los Muertos…

Well, here we are at the end of our season, and there’s so much to catch up on, it’s fairly embarassing! We were going to post all sorts of pictures of us putting the farm to bed – the taking down of the tomato trellis, disking in the fields, planting the garlic, etc. And we would post those pictures, except for some strange reason they all have vanished. So, we have post-clean-up pics anyway, and those pictures we’ll definitely share.
My whole Dia de los Muertos theme was going to be about the taking down of the mighty hoophouse trellis system accompanied with pictures of the mighty soldiers falling as we took them down. Well, at any rate, I get to show off my nifty Muertos figurines and we can remember our dedicated crops and how well they served us! This year we did only tomatoes in the hoophouse for the majority of the season – we did have mache in there in the winter, head lettuces in the spring, and then the tomatoes soldiered through the rest of the summer. We had around 500 plants in the greenhouse, which really turned into a jungle, they did so well! We did plant some tomatoes in the field, but after having such incredible quality in the hoophouse, we begin to wonder why we grow anything in the field! It’s so nice to have to worry so little about diseases (it’s not raining on the plants and spreading disease), pests (bugs have a harder time finding the plants) and watering (we set up the infrastructure in the early spring, so we’re always able to water), and the marketability of the crops is so much greater – the fruits are much higher quality. So, there it is – we loved our hoophouse and plan to expand the amount of our acreage that is under cover in the very near future, barring approval through a lot of red tape with putting up agricultural structures at the Intervale. More on this later.

It was very satisfying to finally find our tomatoes dead on the morning of October 29th after a much awaited killing frost. We were so ready to be done with tomatoes, that we actually left the sides of the hoophouse open so that they would freeze. We were done canning, and ready to clean up and plant the mache for next year, so we were glad that Nature did the deed for us! It took us about four hours to clean it out after we harvested the surviving tomatoes – around 80#, I’d say. It’s the latest harvest we’ve had of tomatoes yet, which is testament to the awesome power of the hoophouse! Now there’s 12 quarts more sauce in our cupboard, and the hoophouse is spic and span! It is kind of sad to see the huge midden pile we’ve created with the dead tomato plants, but they have served us well, and we can’t wait to see them next year! We planted the mache, watered it all, and called ‘er done for the year. Thank you tomatoes! They were the number 2 crop this year, trailing behind the mighty micros, no small feat!
We had so many nice days this fall, it was hard to decide when to plant our cover crop this year, but we did decide to put it in October 11th, a task we always enjoy. This year we did a rye, pea, vetch mix on our main field – we hand broadcasted it as we do every year. Sure, we could use a tractor, but why do that when it is so much fun to just feel the grains slipping through our fingers as we purposefully fling it about? Remember in the movie Amelie when she described one of her favorite feelings – pushing her hand into a barrel of lentils or rice or peas at the market? It’s sort of like that. Maybe that’s why we grow microgreens the way we do – I really like the feel of the seeds in my fingers as I mini broadcast onto the seedling trays…. But I digress. Thanks for a great year, tomatoes! Enjoy your rest, we expect great things from you next year!

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