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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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Thanks for reading. :)

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