31May2009

Rhythm of the Season, Weather, Feasting!


Well, here we are!  We are at that point in the season where we have planted all major crops.  The only things left to plant are the successional beds every two weeks.  We have been busy planting, which means I have NOT been busy blogging.  Apologies!  At any rate, it feels amazing to be at that point in our season!  We have learned a lot over the last 7 years of scratching at the dirt and plunking seeds in the ground, which is essentially how this all happens.  There is a lot of management in between the scratching at the dirt, and that is what makes every farm different.  How you have chosen to lay out your beds, do your weed management, trellis your crops, irrigate – all of these major decisions separate one farm’s style from another.  This year we are much more aware of other farms and their rhythms than ever before.  Mostly this has to do with us spending time on a field we’ve never farmed before – when we built the Haygrove, we had to locate it on a 1/2 acre

parcel adjacent to our land.  It is not far from our other main field.  However, it is in a different area which is closer to Arethusa Collective Farm’s new field, Adam’s Berry Farm and the road that Fat Mitchell’s Pumpkin Patch, Open Heart Farm, Straycat Farm, and Intervale Community Farm use.  We find ourselves taking note of who is driving by on what tractor and with what implement everyday – this always tells us what the other farms are up to for that day, and it is a reminder of how little we actually use the big tractors here at the Intervale.  It really is an issue of temperament/willingness to fiddle with machinery/planning style of crop rotations, etc.

Weather.  It’s been windy!  Totally freaky weather for new owners of a Haygrove hoophouse!  However, my tactic with the last windstorm was to simply ignore – since I could do nothing but vent my house appropriately and hope.  It worked!  I slept well, and awoke to no catastrophic damage, though I will admit to having a dream a la Oz that involved a tornado ripping up one bay of our Haygrove and plunking it down in a neighboring farm’s property – who happened to be in the hobby business of breeding really miniature goats.  Don’t ask – they were sure cute, though – and the size of large toads.  Strange.  But then, it WAS a dream, and I awoke to find that none of it was true – tornado OR mini goats.  Phew!  I have come to grips that there is really no weather forecasting website/newschannel that I am satisfied with, I am convinced that they are all based on someone’s comfortability with serial conjecture.  It could drive a person mad trying to hold too much stock in weather forecasting, so I have officially decided that I am done trying.  Sure, I’ll take a glance at Weather.com, but I’m still packing a change of clothes, shoes, additional layers, sunscreen, hat, water bottle, reflective blanket (just checking to see if you’re paying attention), and emergency chocolate. Tom Messner from Channel 5 – you and I are on the outs.  Officially.
More importantly, the eatin’s gettin’ good around here lately!  More and more food from the farm

is available, which sets our creative cooking fires a’blazin’!  A sample from some recent weekly menus (yes, we create menus for our household of 2 every Sunday to ensure that we’re eating well every day of every week.  You know – there are so few eating opportunities in a lifetime, each should be as good as you can make it!); larb gai, quinoa tabbouleh, broccoli rabe with homemade pappardelle pasta and pine nuts, ricotta gnocchi sauteed in rendered duck fat, Boucher Farm Hot Italian Sausage sandwiches BBQ’d with a HUGE arugula salad with fresh from the garden lemon balm dressing…. etc.  You see, we are farmers because we LOVE to eat really good food!  We make it a priority in our life to harness most eating opportunities with vigor and passion, and something new included.  You new Food Club members are in for a treat!  Our little mini CSA/farm share program is really all about sharing our love of food and cooking with like-minded individuals.  We hope you enjoy the ride, which begins next Wednesday, June 10th!

OK.  Enough yabber-jabbering.  If you can’t tell, I’m slightly sleep-deprived, slightly drunk on the early season abundance, and hopeful of what’s to come.  I’m finding it hard to harness my thoughts and be coherent, though most major recent projects on the farm have been accomplished successfully and according to plan – and so, we’re off and away!  Enjoy the stream of consciousness photostream and look forward to more focused posts.  I promise!
The Haygrove long-term section planted out with the tomatoes and cool tomato trellis system.
How that trellis gets built – we pound 6′ two by fours into the ground in a very safe way…
Like this!  I hold, Spencer climbs a ladder and pounds them in with a sledgehammer.  I should be wearing a hard hat.  It only took us 30 minutes to get them all in, though!
The tools that make it all happen: the ratcheting spool, the duckbill anchor and the 20-penny nail to pound it all in.
Put it all into place, and pound it in until the ratchet is where you want it.
Something like this.  Attach the high tensile wires to the ratchet.
Tighten down a bit.
It should look like you have just strung a telegraph wire.
Next, tie the clove hitch with your tomato twine to the wire…
And plant your tomatoes – burying the twine with the tomato plants!  This is the only way we plant the tomatoes now – it’s strong enough to hold everything up and allows for plenty of ventilation.
Spencer and Chloe getting the peppers and eggplants in…

The coolest looking tree frog we’ve ever found at the farm!  He was hanging out in the arugula
So clingy!
The other tomatoes in the Ledgewood house – growing like champions!
Our heritage breed chickens make the move outside!  Awkward stage.
First baby carrots are ready!  YAY!!!
First baby beets are ready, YAY!
The broccoli rabe is out, the biodegradable mulch and the melons are going in!
Spencer’s been working diligently on the front yard garden at our house – here’s where the Dill’s Atlantic Giant Pumpkins are starting their journey to hugeness!
We’ll have a few cherries this year!
There it is!  Nicely mulched paths, and the plants are in, but hard to see at this stage.   They will be filling out shortly!

3 Responses

  1. Lembcke Family says:

    LOVE IT!!! Colors and more colors ready to eat! 🙂 Man it's great to see it in action ! Like your yabber-jabbering Mara… it's the sista I know 😛

  2. Debbie Fox says:

    I have been following your blog for a long time. I have a small CSA in Ohio. Can you direct me to more information about your tomato trellising system? I would like to try it. I have been using the stake & weave method, am not entirely happy with it.

    Debbie Fox
    White House Gardens CSA

  3. mara says:

    HI Debbie,
    As far as I know, we are the only ones doing this kind of trellising in the field. Do you have any specific questions?

Leave a Reply