Farm projects, late June

Here are some of the many tasks occupying us this time of year:

–Weeding. This is never-ending, especially with the abundant rainfall this year. Mostly we’re on top of it, though some of the aisles between beds are looking pretty jungle-like. Employees have been a big (and good-natured) help on this front. Overall things look pretty good.

–Harvest. We’re past the once-a-week stage that characterizes spring, when you just have to cut lettuces, pull radishes, and so on before market. Items like peas, green beans, edamame, squash, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and more need to be checked regularly to get things at peak freshness and quality. We generally follow a 36-48 hour harvest schedule, though summer squash will need to be near-daily. Sunday-Tuesday items go to restaurants, and Tuesday-Friday items go to Saturday market.

We’re about to begin the garlic harvest, which is a major undertaking over about three weeks. Each variety is pulled, sorted into four grades, bundled, and hung to cure. Overall we have a couple thousand heads in the ground, about a quarter of which will become this fall’s planting stock. For the next few weeks we’ll bring fresh green garlic heads to market, then transition to cured heads once the harvest is complete.

–Preparing fall plantings. Believe it or not, it’s already time to start planning for fall, as many of the things we’ll be selling September-November need to get started soon. Fall is a major sales season for us, and takes a lot of mid-summer work when it’s too hot out. Working out the exact planting plans, and starting the first transplants indoors, is now on the agenda.

–Finishing other projects. I’m almost done building the much-needed walk-in cooler, hoping to have it operational on a trial basis by this weekend. We still have three geese to butcher, though it’s too hot right now. We’d like to finish mowing/trimming the roads, paths, and aisles around the farm, which we can do bit by bit before getting too hot.

–Food preservation. We’re now entering the season of abundance, when along with all the farm work we need to put in time preserving our winter food supply. We’ve already been freezing peas, beet greens, and so on, but now that squash are arriving with tomatoes, beans, and more on the way, canning & freezing will take more and more time. We also rely on local sources for the vast majority of our fruit, so for much of the summer I’ll be coming home from market with loads of cherries, peaches, apples, and so on to preserve. This is often an uncomfortably hot task in a hot summer kitchen, but needs to be done.

–Irrigation. As recently noted, I eventually need to start laying out and hooking up irrigation. Procrastination and irrigation are virtually synonymous in my brain.

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