Farm Walk July 3rd

Mark and I did some reconnaissance on the home 80 this morning. It was drizzling, of course. The rain has been unrelenting for weeks now. Here is an ode to drainage, in pictures. If it weren’t for drainage in these fields, you would just see big smears of mud with aquatic weeds here.

In Mailbox Field, the zucchini is beginning to size up. We may have some ready for harvest next week. The field corn looks very good. We will not get a sweet corn crop this year (both the first and second plantings got flooded out), but we will have field corn for roasting ears. Green beans are coming, too.

In Monument Field, the onions are doing very well at the moment, but they look like they might be getting a little thrippy. Thrips are itsy bitsy little insects that love to chew, and the holes they make let in disease. It’s hard to see here, but the onion plants are starting to get brown tips. If the plants are strong enough they will grow through it. If not, we’ll have small onions. Next to the onions you can see chard. Nothing kills chard. We’ll have plenty. Then there are a few rows of summer carrots, which are also looking good. In the foreground, you can see some erosion. More on that in a minute.

Here are the sugar snap peas, on the trellis. I love this variety. The girls and I have been grazing them for the last few days, and the pods are sizing up now. They are the best treat of the week and should be perfectly ready for harvest on Friday.

This is erosion. We are lucky that our farm is flat and this land is drained. Still, it hurts the heart. These are mangel beets, for animals. A river runs through them.


Yet some good lookin’ food here. Diversity = resilience! 

And here is an example of the lemonade you can make on a diversified farm on a lemon of a year. This field, mostly clover, was too wet and too lush to graze with dairy cows, so Gwen moved the laying hens here. The high-protein forage will help cut the grain bill. And the hens are ecstatic.

No lemonade here. Those are the summer raspberries to the left of the gully. Quite poor. But the fall berries, which you can’t see, look much better.

 Hello, soybeans. I’m happy about soybeans. Given the relatively small scale of this planting, it might make more sense to feed the soybeans to people instead of animals this year. Tempeh? Tofu? Members, what do you think?

Potatoes. Not terrible. The plants are healthy, even if the planting was a little uneven. Not much sign of Colorado Potato Beetle yet. Mark squashed one adult female as she was laying her eggs. Very satisfying.

 

More field corn, and ten rows of popcorn. Liam and Matt actually cultivated this with the horses in the rain yesterday — a sight I’ve never seen before, but necessary if we want a chance of staying ahead of the weeds.

Much of the rye has lodged (i.e. gotten flattened by wind and rain) and  it is showing signs of rust. We can’t count on getting a crop.

We are transplanting fall cabbage between the strawberry rows. Normally we would have chosen another field but we have to maximize what we are doing on the fifty drained acres since we can’t work the ground anywhere else. That’s Jenny, with Isabel and Aubrey in the background.

 

 

 This is where all the water comes out, at the east end of the field. I love you, drainage.

 

Jay and Jack getting ready to go cultivate while it’s not actually pouring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back at the farmhouse, the ducks are having a grand time. It has occurred to me that the ducks may have seized control of the weather this year. You really couldn’t ask for a better year for ducks.

 

So that’s the state of the farm for this week, friends. The kids and I are off to visit family for the 4th of July holiday. Send sunny dry thoughts to us and all the farmers in our neighborhood, would you?

-Kristin Kimball

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