This week on the farm

This week is naturally dominated by Wednesday’s Whole Farm Dinner, but there’s a lot more going on as well. Here’s a quick look at what we’re working on, which will probably be the only post this week given the schedule.

The dinner is Wednesday evening, and we’ll be spending most of Tuesday and Wednesday preparing for it. Cheesemaking, vegetable prep, pre-making things like pasta and hummus, house-cleaning (especially kitchen), straightening up the farm, setting up tables & seating for 15 people, etc. We also still have to do our regular harvests along with restaurant deliveries on Tuesday afternoon. Anyone want to come milk for us on Thursday morning?

Tonight (Sunday) has a forecast low of 43, which means frost danger down in our narrow valley; we can easily get frosts whenever temps in Columbia hit the low 40s. So we spent some time covering peppers & cucumbers with light fabric to guard against that possibility, and harvesting some partially ripe tomatoes just in case. Crossing fingers it doesn’t happen, or that it’s very light if it does.

The fall cleanup process has begun, as we slowly remove finished plantings and prepare the beds for winter. For example, this afternoon I pulled all the cherry tomato plants and collected their twine. It takes a lot of time to really remove all the vestigial vegetation from the full summer’s growth. Soon we’ll begin hauling in manure and working it into the soil for next year’s fertility; some beds already have a winter cover crop planted and growing.

Fall crops still take maintenance and harvest. Along with the greens we’re selling now, there are cabbages and daikon radishes getting closer to readiness. We also did an early test harvest of a few crops we really like (sweet potatoes and fresh peanuts) and got very good results. A 2.5 lb sweet potato under one plant, and 1/2lb of peanuts under two of those plants. For the latter, that works out to about 20 lb of peanuts for the row, and if the sweet potatoes are all good there will be lots of those as well. These might show up at market later in the month if they really are all as good as these first few. Fresh green peanuts are fantastic boiled and will be a really neat specialty crop if we get enough (they were great last year). Based on this example, our yield is far better per unit space than last year, meaning the price might be almost manageable.

Otherwise, there’s always still general weeding and maintenance to be done. Lots of things are going to seed this time of year and need to be pulled to keep the beds cleaner, while new fall weeds are germinating after the past week’s abundance of rain (nothing new). I don’t think things will really slow down at all until at least November.

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