Saturday, June 29, 2013

Field Hands

The farm is at the beginning of full summer swing. All around tomatoes and peppers and eggplant are being planted, tractors are buzzing, and I well believe that there is an implement that vacuums up Colorado Potato Beetles. It has been running nonstop. We have been knocking ours into a cup.

The farm isn't much to look at these days. My white clover has become a central strip of billowing mounds of green. Crabgrass is the predominate weed, particularly at the base of each garlic plant. Meanwhile, Smartweed, Lambsquarters, Dogbane, Sorrel, and a variety of unknown grasses grow an inch an hour.

The peas are high, tasty, abundant. We eat what we can.

I was able to finagle a tractor to disc the cut rye and field pea cover crop. It must be done again, but I was happy to get this project moving. This is the field that will be planted in November and I am determined to have it in better shape than the current field. I picked up an additional twenty bags of lime (for a total of sixty 40lb bags) which I hope to get spread this week. Finally, I also picked up my order of 50 pounds Buckwheat seed, which I also hope to get in this week. The Buckwheat will be turned in August.

Betsy has not been to the farm and probably for good reason. When she does come by there will be much weeding to do. I did the general clearing and soil loosening with our small, sharp hoe and she followed with hands and knees. It takes two people about one hour to clear each forty by three foot row. The work is tedious, yet I cannot be too sure at what point you can let the weeds go. If the garlic will be harvested within 10 days and the weeds are below six inches, I leave them, otherwise they must be pulled. Visiting one day a week from mid May through June is hardly enough to keep a field this size weeded. There will need to be a new weeding paradigm next season.

 My farming neighbor brought a flame weeder. While it didn't seem all that productive for row crops, it did make some sense for the rapidly filling Saffron bed. The Crocus are dormant, so I could flame the weeds without harming (I hope) the corms under the ground. The weeds were do moist from all the rain we had been having that torching the row took longer than I thought. Not only that, it appears to me the grasses will be right back in a week or so. Ultimately, flame weeding does not appear to be a productive weeding practice.

Ocean side gin and tonics in classy plastic cups after a long days work completely justified.

Now that the weeding is done we move onto harvesting over the next three weeks. We've already harvested the Turban and Asiatic varieties. The shallots are completely ready and have been for at least a week (I was waiting for them to lodge -it never happened). They will be harvested this coming Thursday or Friday.  After those will be the Artichoke strains.

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If I do not respond to your comment right away, it is only because I am busy pulling out buckthorn, creeping charlie, and garlic mustard...