Question for the farmer? Email

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Week 5 April 30-May 4

This week brought the heat. We had several days in the 90s and are now all to be found roaming around the farm with our water bottles close at hand. After a threat of 2 weeks with no rain we did get a good soaking on Friday morning for over an hour. It was much needed and we were happy to harvest right through it. Though, I have to remember to bring appropriate gear when leaving the house in the morning. When I asked if I could go home and grab my raincoat Daniel said no, work in the Hoop House. Ever the guard of efficiency, he made a good call and we were all able to keep working without losing any time.
This week was my Saturday off so I got to head home Friday night. Next week I'm at Market so if you live in Atlanta you should come check us out at the Peachtree Road Farmer's Market on Saturday.

This week we harvested Asparagus and Strawberries (but not very much of either), Red and Green Romain Lettuce, the last of the Kale from one field and some of the newer planting from another, Garlic Scapes and Garlic Flowers, Rainbow Chard, Sugar Snap Peas, English Peas, Zucchini, Zucchini Flowers, Pink Beauty Radishes, Spring Onions, Choi Sum, and the last of the Cabbage.
Because the Strawberries are slowing so significantly we have stopped pulling off the suckers. It's time to start saying goodbye to fresh Strawberries and letting them grow their new plants for next season.

Garlic Scape

Rainbow Chard is so Pretty

Squash, Zucchini and Sunflowers in Hoop House 4
Onion Progression. This week we are still harvesting "Spring Onions." It's been neat to watch these guys progress. I had no idea how many phases they went through. These same plants could have been harvested as scallions before their bulbs formed. In the picture on the left you see them as Spring Onions with nearly full bulbs and leaves that stand up straight. In the picture on the right you see what's coming next. Once the leaves on top die and fall over (neck breaks) it's time to harvest just the bulb which is what we know simply as an onion. 
Onion with a broken neck
Barely Green Onion

Production and Distribution
CSA Boxes ready to be filled

CSA Week 2 was this week. We had to supplement with a purchase of radishes from our neighbors at Crystal Organic Farm. They have been around for 20 years and have got it going on. I got to drive over the pick up the radishes and see a little bit of their operation. I couldn't linger though because we had all these boxes to fill when I got back:

CSA Box Week 2

In the Box this week:
-Spring Onions
-Red and Green Romaine
-Choi Sum
-Radishes (From Crystal Organic Farm)
-Kale or Chard
-Garlic Scape
-Garlic Flower

We sat with the boxes at our biggest pickup locations again this week to meet the half share folks who got their first box this week (half shares only pick up every other week). Starting next week one of us will make all of the deliveries into Atlanta just dropping them off and heading to the next one. One person to move 80  boxes of produce in only a few hours. That should be interesting.
Cory and Daniel work out the kinks on the Pea Sheller

It was not my week for Market but I heard back that the English Peas were a big hit due to this awesome pea sheller. It's attached to a vintage exercise bike. When you ride the bike it drives the motor that pushes the peas through the sheller. Yummy English Peas fall into the bucket and the inedible shells fall to the ground. Pretty sweet. 

We spent two days this week trellising tomatoes. This is no easy task when you have hundreds of tomato plants. It starts with T-Posts. Remember, the metal posts that get pounded into the ground with a heavy weight on the end of a tube. Here is Suzy (The Isuzu) loaded up with T-posts. By the way, I put all of those in there. That was a work out in itself.
I loaded up these T-Posts
Once the posts were driven down to the field they had to be distributed across 8 long rows of tomatoes and then pounded in. Cory and Jason did the first several rows and Jason and I did another 2 and a half. Cory and Daniel finished them up later in the week. Once the posts are in we a run thick plastic twine between them at about 4" above the ground and another few inches above that. By the end of Thursday we had 2 vertical rows of trellis for each row of tomatoes. As they grow we will have to add more.
You make think that sounds easy, just tying string between posts, but what I haven't mentioned is that they have to be taught, super tight. So, each post that you get to you have to pull with all your might and find a way to use your body weight to leverage while working 4" off the ground. This is no easy task and left us sweaty, sun drenched and blistered. When we were done though the field looked completely different. All of the droopy tomato plants were standing up straight and proud.
Trellised Tomatoes

Shade Cloth on the Big Green House

The heat and sunshine have made irrigation and shade a priority around here. We water the greenhouses several times a day and this week we added shade cloth to them both. Here is the big greenhouse with it's shade cloth which helps reflect some sun and keep it a little bit cooler in there.
Tractor with Discs

Here is Cory driving the tractor with the disks to prepare a patch of Pasture Field next to the peas.

Check out our Newborn Potato Field! All of these potatoes were planted by Kathy and Daniel before I arrived. The last time I was out here it looked like an empty field because nothing had sprouted yet. Now it's endless green rows. We visited it on Friday and will visit every few days scouting for the dreaded Colorado Potato Beetle. This little bug is curtains for potato crops. It feeds on the leaves and can multiply quickly and do massive damage. We already have them in another field where the potatoes were last year and it's only a matter of time before they find this buffet. The plan is to check for them frequently and when they arrive to monitor them until they reach a "critical mass". At that point we will spray them with an organic pesticide a few times which should wipe them out. Here's what we are looking for:

Colorado Potato Beetle Adult and Larvae
Colorado Potato Beetle Eggs under Leaf

Okra ready to transplant

This week we transplanted Okra, Sunflowers, Watermelon, Eggplant and Zinnias. Cory direct seeded Peanuts. We started more winter squash in the green house.
We have some blackberry plants in 1gallon pots in the big greenhouse but they were growing really slowly so Daniel and I moved them outside for more sun. They seem happier now.

Farm Life
Sprocket settling in nicely
I finally got the Okay and Sprocket came to live with us on the farm! The tipping point was the mice and bugs. He's an excellent bug catcher with one exception, they have to be moving to capture his interest. Since the mice have subsided in the house we have had a problem with these small black beetle things. There are literally hundreds of them in the house. We're not totally sure where they come from but some times they just fall from the ceiling, like when one fell on Kathy while she was reading on the couch. We have both had them in our beds and I woke up one morning to one crawling in my hair. They don't seem to want to bite or even have anything to do with us. Once they end up on the floor they just sit there until we sweep them up. Sprocket is great at chasing and catching things that move but these are just too boring to be bothered with so we are still sweeping them up daily only to have them reappear within a few hours.
Puddy Time
Puddy after rolling in the mud/fox scat. Gross.
Hangin out in the shade while we work.
Puddy got to work with us on Friday afternoon while we washed, packed and prepped for market. She met Cory and Daniel for the first time and is getting more comfortable with everyone and everything. This was the day we had rain so the dirt road in front of the barn was an irresistible mud bath. When I wasn't looking she took a couple of good rollicking rolls. You better believe she got a bath as soon as we were done working. Especially since before the rain we saw some fox scat in that same spot. (Scat=poop)


  1. Why do you shell the English peas? That's one of the fun parts of preparing them. I spent many happy hours shelling peas (and eating them raw) with family.

  2. We sell them in the shell but if you buy them at the market you have the option of using the bike sheller. It's really fun and the kids love it so it's still a family affair. Thanks for the comment. I have fond memories of snapping peas on the porch at a cousin's house. :) Those food prep tasks bring family together I think. They give you a chance to sit down in the same place and do something important but not difficult so that you have a chance to talk.


I love feedback! Let me know what you liked about this entry or what you want to hear more about. Tell me what you're growing in your garden and which veggies you love the most. Anything goes!