Wednesday, June 18, 2008


After harvest we till under the crop residue.  This first field we've been harvesting from is almost halfway done!  Soon we'll start spending most of our days picking from the other fields.
This is the bounteous share we gave out on Tuesday:

Look how large the potato plants are already!  Farmer Dave is worried about leafhoppers.  A large infestation could seriously damage the crop & limit the amount of potatoes we'll be able to harvest.  Most growers spray something for them.  We are considering an organic spray.  Another option is to cover the rows with Reemay.  It's a huge area though, half an acre.  We noticed a little bit of leafhopper damage already, brown edges on some leaves. 

Last week we had some great volunteers helping us out:
We tackled field "Y" which has lots of young plants at the critical moment of being overcome by weeds if we don't get them right now!

The worst row was the carrots. On the right is after weeding (you can barely see the carrot seedlings), on the left is before weeding.  The weeds are mostly purslane. (Which is, ironically, one of my favorite edible weeds-- crunchy, full of vitamin C & omega-3s, but unfortunately I couldn't convince Dave to leave the bed for a purslane crop!)  I do like carrots too.  We used harvest knives & our fingers to carve out room around the little vulnerable seedlings & flick away the weeds.  It was like delicate surgery, and we moved steadily down the 200 foot long row.

Another strategy for battling weeds is to torch the heck out of them.
It's actually called "Flame Weeding"  and involves a portable propane tank. 
The thing about flame weeding is you have to do it at the exact right window of time, after the weeds are up but the seeds you planted (carrots & beans in this case) aren't up yet.  There were a few beans popping through, but we sacrificed them for the best of the row.  Hopefully we killed thousands of weeds that would have taken hours and hours to hand-weed (like the carrot row we weeded in field Y).

We had some awesome volunteers come out to harvest the surplus spinach for local food banks!  Thank you!  We also donated a bunch of lettuce & broccoli we had picked earlier.  It's a feel-good thing to do, to think about folks getting fresh, healthy, organic food who normally couldn't afford it.  

Another satisfying day of working hard and loving it.

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