Sunday, June 6, 2010

Pre-season Highlights

By Nicole Sugerman

Even though the CSA has just begun, we have been farming for quite a while; we started full-time outdoors in March, but started our first seeds in January. A lot has already happened out on the farm! I thought I would detail a few of the production trials and tribulations of this season so far:

The weather: So far, things in the weather department are looking much better than last season. While our bok choy and mustard greens are bolting early, the heat is good for the majority of our crops, with tomatoes looking perky and healthy and summer squash blooming already. Last year was uncharacteristically wet and cool, leading to slow growth and disease problems.
The bugs: Every year brings new and unique challenges, which is why we grow a large diversity of crops, to make sure some succeed even as others struggle. This year, our crops in the chenopodiacae family are battling an infestation of leaf miners. Unfortunately, this family includes some very popular crops, including beets and chard. Although we are helping them through this battle, this is why we don’t have chard yet in the share, and beets too may come in a week or two later than we expected.

The weeds: We have had both successes and challenges so far in our dealings with weeds. As some of you know, having started a farm in a field of turf grass has meant some pernicious and determined weeds. We cover cropped all of our beds this past winter, meaning some of the early weed growth was shaded out in the spring. We are also growing more in black plastic, which is good for the weed issue, because very few weeds can grow through black plastic (although a few can!), but also undesirable, because black plastic is made from petroleum and must be discarded after one season of use. Our onions are looking great; our turnips are still in a virtual field of grass. Still, the weeds will diminish each year as we continue to stay on top of them.

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