17 Jul July Farm update
Here’s what’s happening on the farm: the crops are pouring in, but the weeds are growing just as fast. The continual wet weather is keeping our tractor cultivators out of the fields, which puts a damper on things. We are certainly at a scale where it is just impossible to hand weed the entire farm, so certain crops can and do fall by the wayside. Typically bare ground, direct sown crops are the hardest to manage in a wet season: carrots, arugula, broccoli raab, and radishes for example. Transplanted crops have the advantage of height and resiliency, so they have a head start on the weeds. Sometimes we are able to undersow a cover crop, like in this kale field. The undersown crop out competes the weeds, providing a living mulch.
The pick-your-own flower fields are in full bloom right now. It is a magical spot to be as the sun is setting, or on an early misty morning (though an extreme downpour soon followed that picturesque moment).
Our farm solstice blessing was a beautiful opportunity to stop and mark the changing of the seasons. Especially here on the farm it does mark the peak of the flurry of planting activity that begins for us with the sowing of the first seeds in early March. With the approach of the summer solstice we race to get the long season crops planted, for we know after the solstice the days start to shorten ever so slightly and the window of plant growth begins to narrow.
You wouldn’t know it though by observing the summer squash. This plentiful crop requires our constant vigilance- harvesting happens every other day. Picking squash requires a team of six- 4 pickers, one packer and one tractor driver. The cucumbers are on the same picking schedule. Lots of bending over- down to the ground, up to the conveyor, over and over again, every other day.
July on our farm means long days, at least 7am to 6pm, but sometimes stretching to 7 or 8pm. Almost every morning we are doing some sort of harvesting, trying to beat the midday heat. Make hay while the sun shines, or as pictured below, harvest celery before it’s too freaking hot. Some days feel like we are just treading water, and every moment is trouble shooting a new problem, from leaking drip tape to broken trucks, tractor implements, I-phones and ez-ups. But then there are the triumphs, the beneficial insects released at the right moment in the beans, and the moments of joy- the taste of a sweet yellow wax bean, the beauty of the bright gold sunflowers against the vibrant blue sky.
In addition to our regular daily harvests for the CSA and markets and wholesale, we have to squeeze in the harvest of crops that will be done all at once, for storage and later distribution. Our garlic harvest went smoothly, and this year we were able to protect them from the allium leaf miner insect, which was a huge triumph. The crop is currently laid out on tables in our friend’s barn, drying down. Soon we will harvest all our onions, also to be cured. Currently however, we are all enjoying the beautiful fresh onions, such a wonderful seasonal treat.
The big question on everyone’s mind is, where are the tomatoes? It’s like a watched pot over here at the farm! The pick-your-own cherry tomatoes are just starting this week for the CSA, and the greenhouse heirlooms are beginning to trickle in…we’ll have a few on the roadstand and at market this week.
The field tomatoes look beautiful, and, very green! Yes, they are certainly behind schedule. We didn’t change anything on our end from previous years, but mother nature sure sent us a curve ball. With the cool wet spring, and overall cooler temps so far this season, their growth and ripening has definitely been delayed. But have no fear, we will all be swimming in the tomato bounty soon enough and you’ll be begging for it to stop 😉
Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner (Photos 1, 4 & 5 contributed by Matthew LaVergne). Tricia and her husband Tom have been farming together since 2000. Blooming Glen Farm is celebrating its 12th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community.