Monday, September 17, 2012

What the!!!!

                                            What the???? What is??? Who is in my tomatoes?

What the!!! What is she doing? Holy *&^$%!!!!

Heidi and I took a tour of the farm together today. We paused in the tomatoes that are enjoying this long stretch of dry warm weather. The cloche (that's French for bell) is loaded with the Fantastics I wrote of earlier. There is a ton, literally, of green fruit and we are just beginning to  harvest some for the house.
                                    The cherry and grape tomatoes in the field are loaded as well.

It is so nice to grow a few things far enough apart that we can till between them with a tractor. We trellis on metal stakes with a two wire system that supports the plants. As you can see they are getting so tall that they are beginning to fold over the top of the wire.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Field Walk September 13

 At the start of today's field walk I checked in with Boistfort Valley Farm's newest addition. Lisa Marie has joined us to take on some of the book work in the office; taking orders and printing invoices and pack sheets among other things. She seems to be getting the hang of things here as she politely asks me to talk to the hand.

 One of my biggest concerns right now is the health and well being of our crops. Aphids just love these warm dry days, and though the cool nights and mornings seem to be knocking them back a bit, they are still enemy #1 at the farm. We grow over 5 acres of celery and I am an attentive and doting steward when it comes to this crop.

 You have to get right in there to find the earliest signs of an aphid population, or the early onset of early blight, or black heart or any number of afflictions I do not care to dwell on but that constantly threaten an organic crop. A large block of a single crop is an unnatural occurance, and without the silver bullet of high potency pesticides and fungicides it requires constant diligence, and a great degree of faith and attention to detail. My friend Nil always reminds me "there is no fertilizer like the footprints of the master".

 Here is a good example of something or things done right as this crop of broccoli has made it to harvest as a consistent and healthy crop during the greatest degree of pest pressure.

 Another surprise victory in this short season is our melon crop which appears ready for harvest in the next few days. This will be our first real harvest of melons of any sort in several years.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Calm Before the Storm

Thought I better post a photo of what is probably the nicest planting of broccoli we have grown here in years. Healthy, clean, and consistent. Now I just wait for the explosion of aphids that share my enthusiasm for healthy crops of broccoli. It seems like the aphid pressure has been increasing every year in the valley and though we have established a fairly effective trifecta of treatments including a microbial fungus and the application of over 1/2 million lady every year, these little %$@#%$s seem to eventually get the better of us. The aphid loves this warm dry weather as well and they can hide like nobodies business, especially in the broccoli and cauliflower as well as the undersides of the kales. Please wish us well as the fight is definitely on.

Garlic Harvest

I know, I know, It's just that I....

It is a story well illustrated by my most recent attempt to blog. Early in the morning in late July I set out with the field crew to document the garlic harvest. We grow about 2 acres of garlic and the harvest is kind of a big deal. Among other things it signals the beginning of the end of the beginning of summer.

My job is to operate the tractor to loosen the soil and make shorter work of the difficult task of pulling the garlic out of the ground. We use our John Deere 2640 with a set of "rippers" or "subsoilers" on the back. The tractor straddles the rows and the shanks of the subsoiler penetrate the soil to a depth of about sixteen inches.

 It is literally like throwing an anchor off the back of the tractor. This process is also used late in the season on ground that we have traveled over a lot and helps to loosen the soil and break up any hard pan caused by tilling or plowing.

So there I am doing my best to get over the field and stay ahead of the crew without breaking anything.The whole field crew is out there with me; twelve guys that really know how to work, and it is a struggle to stay ahead and double back over the tougher areas while they pull the garlic and load it onto our trucks and trailers.

Before I realize it the crew has finished harvesting, the last truck is loaded and pulling out to transport the garlic back to the farm and there I am holding a camera in an empty field.

We use our now empty greenhouses to store the garlic and It was all I could do to snap a few pictures of the garlic in the greenhouse before these guys had it cleaned and ready for market.