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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Week 16 July 23-28


Okra, Tomatoes (though not too many), Cherry Tomatoes, Onions, Leeks, Cucumbers, Melons (Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Honeydew, Arava, and Casaba) Eggplant, Peppers (Bell, Anaheim, Jalapeno, Poblano, Shishito), Potatoes, and Squash.


Sugar Baby Watermelons

Asian Cukes

Potato Harvest

This is our potato digger. It is pulled behind the tractor. It digs up the soil and bounces it along the conveyor belt. The soil should fall through while the potatoes (and other big things) fall off the back, leaving them laying on top of the soil.

Then we follow along behind picking the potatoes up off the ground. We did this on Friday in the rain but at least we had 3 volunteers helping. 

The rain was cool and the soil was warm. You can see the steam coming off the ground.

Stuck in the mud
Good thing we had a tractor.

Thanks to all the rain we managed to get the van stuck in the mud. Daniel pushed it out with the tractor.

Production and Distribution

Market duty fell to me this week. Well, me and our Amazing volunteer Elizabeth. She was born for wheeling and dealing delicious real food. Her enthusiasm was contagious and she got the customers excited about our produce. After Market Cory did restaurant runs while Elizabeth and I headed back to the farm with the gear.

Peachtree Road Farmer's Market

What you see here are Cory's market attention grabbers. On the table is a propane roaster that we use to roast peppers. In front, the bike is attached to a pea sheller. The kids love to pedal and that drives the sheller leaving the peas conveniently in a bucket and the hulls on the ground. These little gimmicks are fun for Cory and do bring the Burge tent a lot of attention.

Basil and Eggplant
Peppers, pre-roasting


A big storm Saturday gave a rough start to the week. Lighting took out the well pumps in Pasture Field which we need to water the big greenhouse. So, Daniel moved all the seedlings to the small greenhouse. The water was flowing again by late Monday morning. Lighting also struck the electric fence in Gus' Field  and took out the charger. We tried replacing the fuse but the whole box was burnt out so we had to put in a new one. 

HH1 being solarized

Here is Hoop House 1 in the process of being solarized. We removed all plants, laid irrigation and soaked the soil. Next we covered it in plastic and closed up the sides and ends of the hoop house. This will allow the sun to heat the soil to extremes killing off weed seeds, eggs and bacteria. We will leave it to cook for 3-4 weeks and then will have pristine soil for fall. 

Jeff Cook ready to plant

Remember how I was saying that Jeff Cook field was an overgrown mess? Well, it was. This week Daniel mowed everything down and then disced the fields. Now it looks like acres of potential fall yields. 

Jeff Cook Field

Praying Mantis Eggs

We found this egg sac in the orchard. It's Praying Mantis eggs. These are a very beneficial bug so we were happy to find it.

The Praying mantis have a very large appetite and will consume aphids, caterpillars, flies, mosquitoes, spiders and other soft-bodied insects and when fully grown will eat the larger grasshoppers, moths, crickets and beetles. They have even been known to seize hummingbirds.


We finally got around to starting seeds for the fall. We planted Broccoli, Broccoli Rabe, Kale, Collards, Chard, Lettuce, and Endive.
Burge Kale- saved seeds
Starting seeds in the shade (Hey, it's hot out here)
3 days later-Kale is coming up

That's a lot of trays, and we're not done yet.

Farm Life

Our water was out Monday morning because a big storm on Saturday took out a pump house for our wells. Somehow the repairs on Monday left us with no water for a few hours. 
Thanks Lindsey!

I got a special delivery at market a few weeks ago that I just found out about. Lindsey from the Alliance Theatre made Blackberry Jam from our berries and shared this jar with me. I found it Monday in our cooler and it's already gone.

Not exactly local
Cory treated us to young coconuts this week. They are perfectly refreshing on a hot GA day.
Friday Fiesta was at "Where There's Smoke", a BBQ joint in beautiful downtown Mansfield (don't blink, you'll miss it!).
Friday Fiesta

Where There's Smoke Open Mic Stage. Hm.

Potatoes weren't the only thing we found digging in the Newborn field on Friday. Check out this arrow head. 

Somebody wanted to add some sunshine to my birthday. Thanks Kathy!

My friend Brooke came over Thursday night for dinner and stayed over to help out Friday morning. Fridays are a big harvest day as we get everything out of the fields and packed up for market Saturday morning. Brooke was a great help and now knows more than she ever wanted to about Okra and tomatoes. Thanks Brooke!
Melon Break with Brooke, farmer for a day.

Robin, Beckett and Finn at Market

There were also friendly faces at market this week. Robin was missing her CSA box already so she came down with the boys to get some eggplant and tomatoes and an Arava Melon. Beckett is hiding behind his mom. :)

I also got to catch up with Victor and LaRue who are dedicated locavores of Alliance Theatre production fame. I love it when world collide.

Puddy Time!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Week 15 July 16-20

Well, this is my last post as a 20 something year old. I turn 30 on Saturday. Woo Hoo! I sure picked a good time to start a new career.

Okra, Watermelon, Arava Melon, Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Eggplant, Bell Peppers, Anaheim Peppers, Shishito Peppers, Jalapenos, Poblanos, Okinawa Spinach, Squash, Torpedo Onions, Southern Peas, and Cream 40 Peas.
Everyone loves our melons, especially the raccoons

Harvesting Melons is Fun! 

We drive the truck along the edges of the melon field and play a high stakes (and heavy) game of catch. When the truck is too far for one person to throw the melon all the way to the receiver one of us stands in the middle.
Daniels delivers the pitch
And it's Jason for the Touch Down!

Truck bed full o melons

One of the fun things about harvesting is that sometimes the only way to tell if a certain planting is ready for harvest is to cut open a few samples and taste them. We had a great time harvesting Melons this week. :)

Daniel Checks out the Watermelon

Kathy samples the melons

Cantaloupe and Honeydew

Arava- A Cantaloupe/Honeydew cross. AKA Delicious!

Production and Distribution

We paired our Sungold Cherry Tomatoes with Restaurant Eugene for the Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival January 22nd.

I did the CSA Deliveries into Covington, Conyers and Atlanta this week. I am happy to report that the deliveries were uneventful. 

In the CSA Box

-2# mixed Tomatoes
-1# Eggplant
-1# Zephyr Squash
-3/4# Okra
-1 Watermelon OR 2 canteloupe
-1 bunch Okinawa Spinach
-1# Potatoes
-1/2# Purple Onions OR 1 bunch Torpedo Onions
- 1 Red Bell Pepper AND 2 Anaheim Peppers


Early Blight "Firing Up" Our Tomatoes
Early blight has struck our first planting of tomatoes as we had been assured it would. It is a fungal disease that overwinters in the soil or can be introduced in the seeds. Changing the place where you plant your tomatoes each year (crop rotation) can help prevent this in the garden. The fungus strikes and kills older leaves first causing a blackening of the plant that starts at the bottom and works its way up. That's why it is lovingly referred to as "Firing Up".  Ideal conditions for Blight are hot and humid. It's no wonder it's a big problem in Georgia. 

It's time to start planning for fall. Next week is our last week of the Spring CSA and it's a good thing too. The tomatoes are one their way out and we had an entire field that at the start of the week was nothing but dead crops and weeds. Now it's mowed under dead crops and weeds.

Cory and Daniel review Fall crop planning

Preliminary Fall Crop Plan for Jeff Cook

There is a lot to consider when planning crops. You want to make sure you will plant enough but not too much to satisfy your demand while allowing for some crops or percentage of crops to fail. Then you want to make sure that each crop is planted in a location where it will thrive. That means it has to fit into your crop rotation. No crop should be planted in the same place it was planted in the last 3-5 years. Some farms go so far as to have 10 year rotations, which is pretty sweet. The reasons for this are many and include the fact that many diseases, weed seeds and bug larvae can survive in the soil for years and come back to bite you if you plant the thing they thrive on too soon. 

That being said, Hoop Houses are a different story. Because they are so small compared to fields and such a controlled environment, they are high value real-estate on the farm. Rotations are harder to pull off here but you can cheat. We are setting up to Solarize the soil in Hoop House 1. That involves removing all vegetative matter, watering until the soil is saturated and then covering it with clear plastic for 8-12 weeks. This will cause the soil to heat up to great temperatures which will kill off any soil borne diseases, weed seeds and bug larvae. This particular Hoop House has been in use the longest at Burge and this season we had a lot of trouble with bugs and mild weed problems so this should help. 

 We also spent a little extra time with our peanut plants this week. The peanut is a strange plant because it flowers above ground then sends it's dead blossom peg into the ground where the peanut grows below. Because of this unique fruiting style we had to make sure that the area around each plant was weed-free soil. So, for a few hours this week four of us hand weeded the peanuts. This resulted in happy peanut plants and at least 2 sun burns. 
Cute Lil' Peanut. Awww!
A little closer up
We had one day this week that was dry enough to do some moving. We have a Bush Hog that gets pulled by the tractor. We used it to chop down the spring crops in Jeff Cook Field. Then we pulled up the plastic mulch and irrigation. The soil is still too moist to prep the fields for planting though. Rain is such a blessing but it's also putting us a little behind on fall planting.

Sweet Corn over-run with pig weed and morning glory

Bush Hogging Jeff Cook Field's Spring Crops


We really need to start planting for fall. At this point we are starting to get behind. 12 hour days just don't seem to be long enough to get everything done. Also, all the rain we have been getting has left the fields too wet to work with the tractor. Until we have a few days in a row without rain we won't be able to disc and plant.
We are still working on potting up those Strawberries I talked about last week. Cory wants 7,000 plants. That could take a while. 

Farm Life

Rain, rain, go away.... or don't. For weeks it was so hot and dry and now for the past few weeks it has rained every day. Rain at night is the best because the house I stay in has a tin roof. The sweet percussive sound puts me right to sleep. Another interesting thing about all this rain: the water at our house comes from a well and our water pressure has been awesome lately!
Quick moving storm that took out a few trees.
Thursday was Farm Pizza night. This week's Pizza featured a tomato sauce with red bell pepper, onions and garlic. The toppings were eggplant, squash, bell pepper, local sheep's cheese and mozzarella. Yum!

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