What a spring it's been! Compared with last year's hot and sticky weather, so far this season has been really nice and mild. Good working weather. Except for those cold nights, where we lost our peppers and our first batch of tomatoes, I can't complain. We started irrigating in our plantings, and then it rained! Last weekend we got a whole inch, which was AWESOME. Got a half acre of sweet corn planted just in time to soak it all up. Rain really eases a farmer's mind, especially when seeds are in the ground.
The cold and the rain did, however, set us back in some of the plantings. The harvest might be a bit delayed this year. Most of the tomatoes are still in the greenhouse, waiting for the soil to dry enough. We managed to get three rows planted and mulched with straw before the storms pushed us out of the fields. The reason we mulch tomatoes is mostly for disease prevention. When the soil splashes up onto the leaves of the tomato plant, it brings with it fungus and bacteria that cause all sorts of spots. Mulching prevents this! It also prevents the weeds from coming up, keeps the moisture in really nicely, and makes an easy harvest surface to kneel on. Hopefully we'll have some nice sunny weather to help these tomatoes grow fast!
Meanwhile, our cabbage-family crops (brassicas) are mostly still under their covers. We just removed the broccoli, so it wouldn't get too hot. In a week or two we'll take off the rest of the cloth. One of our biggest tasks these days is dealing with the weeds underneath that seem to always grow faster than the crops. We try to use the tractor to do most of the weeding, but sometimes we have to go down the beds on our hands and knees and weed with just the strength of our forearms and fingers.
And in our dreamy potato field down the road, the potatoes are up!
Josh and Ruth spent a sweltering afternoon cultivating the weeds out. We have a Cornell researcher collecting insect samples again in the potato field. She sets up these little yellow sticky cards and sugar-water bins, and then I guess identifies the unlucky bugs. She is looking not only for pests, but beneficial insects as well. We love supporting organic farming research in our fields!
Can't wait for the first CSA member pick-up to start! The farm is starting to look really amazing, and I want to share it.