Tuesday, June 17, 2014

June Picture This

Here we are - mid-June.  And we haven't done a picture this for June.  So, here we go!

Clover and Bumbebees
We have a fair amount of clover on the farm and we try to leave some of it taller and let it flower.  If you look at the first picture, you should see one reason why.

Do you see it?
Bumblebees are some of our best workers on the farm.  Despite their size and the buzzing sound that they make, these are non-threatening critters that provide alot of pollinating services to various plants on our farm.  In general, if you don't swat at a bumblebee, step on them, etc, they will not bother you.  After all - what would you do if someone hit you or stepped on you?

Oh! There you are!
This is why we seeded clover into many of the paths around our fields several years ago.  We wanted to provide food for our pollinators.  This is also why we aren't upset by the plethora of dandelions we usually have in the Spring.  Like all critters, the pollinators need to eat - and early Spring can get pretty sparse.

Soapbox Warning!
And this is one reason why we want people to reconsider the need to have a perfect lawn with no clover and no dandelions.  It'll be cheaper if you just cover your yard with astroturf if that's what you really want (no we don't like that idea either).  We are creating lifeless, grass deserts in our cities and towns that are no better for our earth than acres of monocrops (corn, soybeans, etc).

Paper Mulch
We've managed to get the melon/watermelon planting in.  This is part of a SARE grant funded study to explore the role paper mulch might have in helping with the survival of heirloom melons.  We'll take some more pictures and keep you up to date on it throughout the season.
I think we missed a spot there
Fruit Trees
At some point during the early Spring we posted some pictures that showed rabbit damage to some of our fruit trees.  So, we thought we had better follow up on that a little.
Well, it's not quite dead.
We lost one small apple tree that was likely on its way out.  And, another is now relegated to 'bush' status.  Essentially, the snow was deep enough to allow the rabbits access OVER the fence.  They girdled the tree over the lower branches.  So, those leafed out while everything above it did not.

The peach trees fared less well.  The new tree only has one branch that is living.  The other is better off, but not as happy as we would like.  But - what did we expect?  Peach trees in our area are always a gamble.
The leaning apple tree of GFF
We may want to consider staking a few of the trees.  Prevailing winds have been working on them over the years.  But, the really good news is that most of the apples made it through the winter, the flowering started later so they weren't impacted by frost.  So, a good fruit set has started!


We thought you might want a gratuitous garlic crop picture for the year so far.  They are looking VERY good.

Garlic next to young summer squash and zucchini plants.

They are getting bigger and more annoying.  That's a good sign.  It means they are healthy and exercising their ...uh... broilerness. 
It's good to see them out and about.
The Silvery Fir Tree Tomato
Every year we mean to keep track of some extra this or that and put it in the blog regularly.  Does it happen?  Well....sometimes.
There's a tomato already started in that mass of foliage!
And, we also planted a Nebraska Wedding in another pot.  This pot is bigger because we expect this plant to get bigger.
Nebraska Wedding with basil surrounding it.
June 16 Storm
Many of you already know that a twister was sighted West of Tripoli last night.  So, to answer the immediate question - the farm was not in its path.  We did get heavy rains, wind and a little hail.  We've been outside and found minimal damage in general.  Most plants should find a way to pull themselves back out of the mud.

Both of us were getting increasingly agitated as the day wore on because we could sense the potential for difficult weather.  Once we sent our crew home (and after all of the melons and watermelons were in the ground) we worked to get things under cover and put anything that could become a projectile in wind into better situations if possible.  Rob did spot the tornado to our Southwest and we barreled on down to the basement for a time.

The twister hit the corner of Hwy 93 and 63.  The car dealership there took a direct hit.  It looks like it skirted most of the homes in the area and the path ran SouthEast for over a mile.  It was probably no more than an EF1 tornado and maybe not that - but it still made a mess of things.

We're grateful for the concern people showed for us and relieved that we are not participating in clean up at the farm this morning.  On the other hand - we can say that the fields are now very wet and we hope Mother Nature sees fit to allow for moderation in this area!
GFF was a couple miles away, no worries!

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