Friday, July 2, 2010

Week of June 21st! Summer Has Officially Begun!

-New farm intern, Renata, has arrived (on the first day of summer)
-Farm has recently invested in new machinery to replace labor by hand:
1) Tractor Mulcher- This device chews up hay bales and spits out the chopped up debris with a big plastic tube, allowing us to save hours of hand mulching
2) Rock Harvester- This device picks up rocks (of which we have bundensome that inhibit cultivation and crop planting).

Week's Events:
Harvest: Russian Red Kale, Napa Cabbage, Red Sail and Green Lettuce, Kohlrabi, and Broccoli.

 Jen, Heath, and Ezra harvesting kale for CSA

Mulching: As of this week, the tomatoes, kale, onions, and leeks have all been mulched with the new mulcher.  The effects of mulching are immediate and dramatic: all of a sudden without weed pressure, the crops skyrocket!

Intercropping:  In order to reduce weed pressure, Renata had proposed the idea of intercropping the already established leeks with lettuce to crowd out weeds (but not the leeks, which already have grown over a foot in height).  Lettuce has an affinity for our wet weather and grows relatively fast, creating a dense cover to suppress weeds and retain moisture (reduce evapotranspiration) for crops, and having a later start, will allow the already established leeks to grow uninhibited.  We intercropped three rows by hand.  Let's see whether this intercropping experiment of differential crop structures and timing will work!

Weeding: Heath mowed extensive acreage of thistle and other overgrown weeded patches to create new rows for squash planting.  Thistle, which has begun to seed, is increasingly a threat.  Renata has proposed the idea of solarization with clear plastic mulch (using extra greenhouse plastic), which Jen says will help kill the thistle weed seeds which have already dropped, and other surface weeds as well.  Jen plans to apply the new technique of solarization for the summer fallow fields as an experiment for weed control.

Seeding: We seeded all the cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli (brassicas) for fall!

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