Planting sticks

5 04 2010

Sadie helped plant about 200 Zinfandel cuttings today. These will be potted up next year after they root in the sandy soil. Then two years from now they might make their way into a vineyard like setting of a mixed use small farm. I want to get another 200 Tempranillo cuttings as well.
Round 2 of carrots were sown today. Three varieties were planted: Baltimore, Parano, and Scarlett Nantes. So far everything that has been direct seeded has germinated rather quickly. Root crops are well on their way for the beginning of CSA.
The cover crop of Oats and Peas are knee high. The pea tendrils on the regular field peas are delicious; so sweet.
The lettuce transplants in the greenhouse are about two weeks out till harvest for lettuce mix.

But the challenges of gopher trapping and weed eliminating are proving difficult.  All part of the fun I suppose.

Lastly, there is the dreadful job of plucking off all the strawberry flowers.  Over the past 2 weeks I have picking the flowers off in order to promote root growth on all the strawberries that were transplanted.  There will be strawberries eventually.

In the Tub


Preparing for winter, another hot spell coming

18 09 2009

It seems as we just were preparing for the transition from summer into fall, and now already preparations have slowly gotten underway for winter. We have been bringing in mulch and manure to amend the soil and prepare the perrenials for the cold. Lots of compost piles are starting to appear around the farm. With the removal of lots of organic matter from the field, our houses’ waste, and the waste from two restaurants we are able to create lots of compost piles. By the time we pull all our summer crops from the ground several big compost piles will have been made.

As the summer crops are removed we are prepared to put the field into cover for the winter. We are going to use winter rye to fortify the ground from erosion, and supply nutrients and organic matter. Mixed in with the rye will be another leguminous crop that will fix nitrogen into the soil. This just another way we are impoving our crops by nurturing the soil.

If this was last year we would be anticipating a heavy frost here pretty shortly. This year is very different. There seems no end to the summer temperature, although the quickly shortening days remind us of the coming cold.

Week 2, Peas are the best

12 06 2009

Both shelling and snap varieties are coming off the vine in abundance.  Both are equally sweet and delicious, and provide an awesome snack when working in the field.  Now they provide us with energy to swing our new chainsaw;  for fire prevention, firewood, and just general property maintenance.

The kale is ready to cut finally.  In the picture in a Rogue brand hoe.  My god, this hoe is amazing.  Great construction.  Anyway, this spring the curly and red kale varieties seemed to grow a lot faster than the flat leaf green varieties.   There is no good explanation, they just grew better, and we have to role with it.

The potatoes are interplanted with bush beans.  There are wax, green, dragon tongue, garbanzo, and tiger eye beans planted between our potato rows.  The potatoes all have names too.  Robert Paulsen?

Crimson clover tints the whole field red, and feeds the soil with nitrogen.  We are just letting go to seed, and have undersown buckwheat with other crops.

Post May Day

2 05 2009

We have two more CSA members bringing the grand total now to six.
We made our first sale of the year besides subscriptions. Summer Jo’s bought some broccoli raab.
The greenhouse, after a year is in full operation. It is glorious.
We planted then it rained. Mother nature has finally backed us up. It is green like freakin Ireland with clover to boot.
Why do We love farming? Dogs running around with machetes
The flower pictured here is butterfly weed. It smells great and attracts butterflies too

Ours for the Gleaning

15 09 2008

When you’re a farm just starting out, you drool over other people’s more established gardens. You network and bargain as best you can to get your hands on their fruit extras. Usually it’s pretty easy and people beg you to get their stuff before it goes to waste.

Hopefully you all can remember that we do actually have an orchard planted. To date probably the most sustainable investment we’ve made in our future. We planted a huge variety of fruit but of course, the only problem is, it’s hard to share it with our CSA members when for this year we have to pick the blossoms off the trees so they can turn their focus elsewhere and make some deep roots. What a fitting metaphor.

But what we have been doing this week, is gleaning! (from wikipedia:)

“Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest.”

We have three friends (not farmers) who’ve basically begged us to gather their fruit. So we got some pears, green grapes, plums, and melons. We should point out that none of these are at all certified organic, like us. We’ll get into that later, but in the meantime the really old fruit trees and vines have adapted and are contiually adapting in ways that continue to overwhelm their landowners with fruit.

So we picked from them on Chad’s Birthday.

Speaking of birthdays… We’ve had a slew of them recently! Starting with Kirby’s then a week later Gabrielle’s. The pictures of Sadie with Grandpa and Great Aunt Maureen are from that one. Then Dr. Calvert’s and Chad’s. Gabe got Chad a sweet iphone for his birthday so now we’ll finally be able to blog from the field! Just what farming should be like.

Enjoy the photos and stay tuned for more!

Squash of Summer & Sunburn

14 07 2008

A quick post to brag and show some sunburn.

UFO Squash:

The side with Shade:

Shady Side

Shady Side

Without SPF 50

Without SPF 50

But the color we’re really waiting for is RED (and orange, pink, purple, “black”, and blood…) Talking about tomatoes of course. Our Thai Pink Eggs are probably going to be the first ones to transition, as they already have a slight pink hue to them. But the others are just gaining in size.

Meanwhile, it’s yellow and green with peppers and squash. We’re snagging the sunburned ones for ourselves as they aren’t good enough for our loyal CSA members. A quick brainstorm also decided that for next year we’ll use a fertilizer with a bit more N in it to promote leaf growth for shade on those blazing afternoons.

Irrigation continues to twease our peace with busts and the like. The t-tape is doing well, but our hops will need tending to. We replaced a giant stretch with our last geyser because the water pressure had expanded the line almost a full size (we could fit the new line into the old one). Then a few days later, that line blew while Ben was in the shower soaped up, so a quick rinse and a curse and a walk down to the field revealed that the hops will have to be watered with hose until the replacements arrive. A friendly call to our irrigation peeps got us the information that we should turn the whole system off at the well-house. 300′ of bunk irrigation tube later, we call that a valuable lesson.

Other than that, it’s hot, smoky from area wildfires, and tomorrow we’re gonna float down the river a bit before a fun family bar-b-que. Chad’s making pork belly.

3 weeks in

28 06 2008

This Friday marks our third week of delivering CSA boxes to our 8 customers. They are looking good, and finally filling themselves with fresh veggies. This week we delivered 1/2 of mixed greens, carrots, three types of beets, three types of turnips, two types of kale, 1/2 lb of shelling peas, herbs, and radishes. This might be pittance compared to what some other well established farms are offering at this time we are totally proud of ourselves. Going from absolutely nothing when i got here in october of 07 to now, we are feeling good about our progress.
There are still many obstacles to overcome here at Mud Puddle, but we are trying to overcome them without going crazy. Right now our water system is acting up, and that could cause real problems because our baby and plants need water. It is really dry and hot socks and hammocks
this is where we rest when the heat of the day overcomes us. There are two hammocks up right now, and one more that i need to put up. they are great for everything from sleeping to resting. Even reading is possible in these hammocks but rarely does it last too long.

It is a bit early for potatoes, the flowers on the plants haven’t totally bloomed yet, and the leaves aren’t dying away. These are the indications that the potatoes are ready to harvest.