In only a few short weeks, our CSA distributions will begin. We hope you are excited as we are to enjoy farm fresh food! Now that the temperatures have warmed up, we’ve been in the full swing of planting summer crops.
First, fields were laid out and many had plastic put over the beds. Why plastic? Plastic helps us control weeds. It also conserves soil moisture and keeps the soil temperature warmer. Most plastic is black, but some are other colors which influence soil temperatures and can even confuse potential pest threats.
Second, once fields had plastic, we transplanted our crops. In our fields, you’ll find black plastic in the beds that house our tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, flowers, and sweet potatoes. All but the sweet potatoes were planted in the past two weeks. We use white plastic for our squash and melons. All of our squash were planted, and melons and cucumbers will soon join them.
Third, we pull row cover, or remay, over some of the plastic beds. Why cover the beds? Row cover allows light and water to get through to the plants, but it excludes pests. Some crops are more vulnerable than others to pests that can spread disease or cause damage to both leaves and fruit. We use row cover for greens in the mustard family, eggplant, and our squash. Of course, with some heavy winds and rain this week, we experienced some challenges in keeping the row cover in place!
Besides those crops already mentioned, we also transplanted sweet corn, then herbs and okra in our “U-Pick” field.
While it may sound like all we do is plant (and eventually, harvest) there are a lot of other activities that keep us busy around the farm. Cultivating to keep weeds out of our fields is one of our main tasks. We also set up irrigation for all of our fields so we’ll be ready to keep our plants hydrated in the heat of midsummer. After heavy rains, weeds aren’t the only thing that grow rapidly – so does the grass! So you’ll find us out mowing. Next time you have to mow your lawn, just imagine what it is like to mow a 6 acre farm, navigating around all of our plants and equipment!
For those who ordered strawberries from our research high tunnels this week, we hope that first taste of summer tides you over until our CSA distributions will begin! Our kohlrabi is just one of our first crops to be getting closer to harvest.