Friday, August 31, 2012

More GFF Pictures in August

The cucumber harvest has been good this year - despite a slower start due to drought conditions.  Typically, peak picking is around August 5-10 for us.  This year, we are just getting peak numbers now.  The trick was to get the plants through the very dry and hot conditions earlier in the year.  Some plants, like the Cool Breeze hybrid, followed their normal schedule and died without a real peak.  Others, such as Boothby's Blonde, are happy we kept them going with water and by keeping them picked.

While we can't sell any of them this year, the Tolli Sweet peppers in the high tunnel looked great.  Every year, we try to get a few pictures of some of the varieties we grow so we can use them on our own website.  I think this works well to suggest what this pepper looks like.  Only issue with the picture is the lack of an item for size comparison.  But, since I think that sort of picture can be hokey looking...

We took this picture just prior to a trip to the dump.  For those who do not know, if you live in the country, you do not automatically get trash pickup.  So, we take our trash to the dump every so often.  Here are 900+ eggs ready to be dumped.  Just part of the cost of the spraying incident.  On the positive side - we do have 42 eggs in an incubator.  Wonder what we'll get out of this?

2012 is the year of the green bean on the farm.  One container, like the one shown below, holds an average of 25 pounds. 
We recently went to Scattergood Friends School Farm for our work day with Grinnell Heritage Farm.  Sadly, Blue Gate Farm could not make it to this day as they have much more important things to take care of (keep fighting Sean!).  It was a good day to take out aggressions by removing a roof. 

Last but not least, we harvested from our sprayed fields (a partial harvest) to document how they were doing.  Here is a sampling on August 20 of this year.  Two carts FULL of sweet peppers (over 1000).  On the ground are eggplant and hot peppers.  We're working to duplicate this harvest next year - without the spraying event.  We'd have loved to been challenged to move this many fruit, but it is not to be.  They make good compost.
However, we did learn some things in harvesting these.
  • We tend to harvest Ace green bell peppers early.  We found that they can get some serious size on them if left to their own devices AND if they are given a little bit of worm castings at transplant.  Irrigation is also liked by these peppers.  We noted some size increase in the Napolean Sweet bell peppers, but not much change in size for any of the others from prior years.  This observation is worth a small controlled study next season.
  • Wisconsin Lakes had the worst time of our sweet peppers in the heat.  In other words, they didn't excel.  But, they did do fine.  On the other hand, we have noted that they handle wet weather better than the others.
  • 8 to 12 full sized bell peppers isn't unreasonable in a good season.  Who knows what we could have gotten if we kept them picked.  At a guess, it would be 10 to 14 for most.  Some, like Napolean Sweet, are not prone to setting more fruit after the main set.  Others, like Ace and Quadrato asti Giallo seem to keep setting and have many fruit of varying sizes.  In order to temper expectations, we've gotten closer to 8 per plant for the better bell peppers in the past.

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