Monday, July 1, 2013

Early July - and Help Would Be Appreciated

Well,  here we are.  July first.

We've maintained an optimistic attitude and we've tried to be innovative in the face of difficult weather.  So - read on.

Are you able to help over the next week?
If you are, we would appreciate some volunteer time if you are willing to provide.  We realize the timing is poor with many people traveling and/or with family plans.  But, if you have a little time to give, please consider coming to the farm and giving us a couple of hours. 

Please, do not consider this a "guilt trip."  What we are doing is showing you where we are at and why we are asking for the help.  It's just the way things are right now.  It is nobody's fault and we'll do what we are able to do.

Current farm status.

 We're four weeks behind in our planting. 
  Several of our crops have died or failed to perform due to excess water.  For example, the mustard greens, arugula, spinach and other greens we expected to have over the last few weeks never got much taller than 2 inches and they are now bolting.
 We need to take action against rabbits that are destroying the pepper crop.
  The weeds are taking off everywhere we have managed to plant.
Fences for climbing plants need to go up, straw mulch needs to be spread and cages need to be put up.

Simply put, we'll have to make choices about what gets done and what does not based on the number of person hours we can put into the farm over the next week.

Things that look like they are working.
The plantings in the three raised beds we have built look good.  But, they are a couple of weeks away from harvest.
The plantings in the Waverly gardens looked good last we checked in.  They might finally be starting some real growth there. 
The paper mulch is making a difference in the cucumber beetle problems many vine crops have.  We are now wishing we'd been able to lay the mulch for the cucumbers. 
The high tunnel plan has been modified.  We hope the crops in their do well as we will be relying on them a great deal.
The tools we have added since 2010 have provided us with opportunities to try and fight this weather that we did not have then.
Crops that look pretty good right now include carrots, peas, summer squash, garlic, zucchini, turnips, potatoes (most varieties), chinese cabbage, pok choi.
The new irrigation tools are great.  We feel a bit silly having spent time on that about now.

Things that don't appear to be working.
Time spent on irrigation set up feels like time lost, never to be returned right now.  We know we'll need it.  And, the plants that received irrigation needed it at the time....
60-70% of peppers in the field are gone.  Our response was to add many more to the high tunnel.
10-20% of the tomatoes in the field are gone.  No response needed, we can handle that loss at this point.  But, the rest of the tomatoes need to start showing some real growth to make us feel better about the whole thing.
Cucumbers are showing damage that may lead to significant losses (cucumber beetles).  We need to respond by weeding and hilling to cover weak stems. 
Greens are bolting.  Clean up the area, till it up and put in some warmer season greens.
Plants are showing their age in trays and pots.  Our response is to plant what we can this week.  Anything still in trays or pots by the end of the week goes to the compost. 
Longer season crops likely will not have time to mature.  Our response will be to plant more of the varieties that are shorter season if we have them in trays to fill the spots. 

Ah, enough of the negative.

We will still forge on.
'Nuff said.

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