Farm Update June 2014
- posted on: June 10, 2014
- posted by: 21 Acres
I hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful weather even before summer solstice. I have no complaint about this summer-like weather, except weeds invasion in the field! Crops are embracing this warm weather, of course, and weeds, too….they are growing like wild fire.
Every season we lay out a detailed plan of farming….seedling production (transplants), planting and harvesting (crop calendar), and weeding takes place whenever it’s necessary. Did I say “farming is weeding” before? And as usual, plans are there to be changed.
Thanks to this early appearance of warm weather, all of sudden seedlings are growing so fast in the greenhouse. I’d say some are growing about 7 – 10 days faster than normal depending on the variety. That means they need to be transplanted in the field accordingly. For example, summer squash and corn seedlings grew so fast that they were ready to set out much sooner than originally planned. On the other hand, spring crops planted early in the field were finally catching up, but weeds also began to take advantage of the warm weather. Sometimes we farmers find ourselves in such a nightmare(?) in the midst of both good news (warm weather) and bad news (weeds). And, not to mention water….we’ll need to start irrigating crops soon if there is no sign of rain next week….usually June’s weather still brings decent wetness, but it may not be the case this year.
Over all, crops are growing well. We lost some lettuce and spring greens due to the wet weather in April/May….the area where they were planted got partially flooded. We had a “backup” plan in advance, so it should catch up soon to make it up. Garlic is looking great and potato plants are coming along. We planted 2,500 corn and almost 10,000 onions and leeks this year just in case of downy mildew attack to onions like last year. Carrots and beets are still slow at this point, but the warm weather should boost their growth. Tomato plants are sunbathing in the High Tunnel and looking good and healthy….some are already forming tiny fruits and pruning tomato plants is our next task. Basil will be ready to pick in 1- 2 weeks. Peas are very sweet and prime harvest now; beans looking good, just getting weedy! Cucumbers, peppers and eggplant are in.
Pest management….luckily we haven’t seen any major pest attack or damage to our crop so far, but we got an alert note from a community gardener that “tent caterpillars” are increasing in the region. Right away we patrolled and inspected the field, yes, indeed, we spotted a few tents of the caterpillars on some trees. We continue to keep our eyes open for this pest on the farm. If you spot this pest, please let us know or you can terminate them, too. For tent caterpillars info, go to http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/caterpillars.htm
We are going to save some seeds from this year. To begin with, we’ll do easy ones such as beans, peas and tomatoes because they are self-pollinating plants. Seed saving is often tricky unless you know what you are doing….detail planning is a must before planting/harvesting seeds and a selection of seeds such as open pollinated, hybrid, cross/self-pollinated and distance/separation not to cross-pollinate.
Goat incident….”Naughty” is their nickname? Skippy and Lucky jumped off the fence twice over the last weekend. Alas, they munched some of the raspberry bushes in the herb garden….about a quarter of the raspberries are gone. The naughty incidence occurred in the early evenings on Friday and Saturday. We have thought about raising the barn’s fence much higher so that they can’t jump, but we don’t have time to do so. In the meanwhile, we hope the electric fence will keep them behave.
Well, summer is just around the corner and the farm season is moving forward to abundance! More updates soon.