4/27/05 Vol. 2 #8

We are still recovering from the Farm Tour.  We love having folks out to show them what we are up to but Saturday sure does become a long day with Market, then the Tour and then after Tour chores like picking asparagus and dutch iris.  Thank you to everyone who came out especially with such mixed and breezy weather, we feel it is important for the”city folks and the country folks” to get together (isn’t there a song in the musical Oklahoma like this?).  Part of the sustainability equation of environmental-economic-social is that our neighbors and customers are accepting of and in many ways a part of what we do on the farm.  We wouldn’t be successful without your support!

One of the questions we heard a lot over the weekend was why don’t you heat the greenhouses/tunnels?  It is partly for the same reason that we don’t use black plastic for mulch, make as few trips over the field with the tractor as possible, drive efficient vehicles, use a passive solar greenhouse for transplants, use drip irrigation and reuse those drip lines as long as possible….  I guess it all started with the oil embargoes of the 70’s when we realized that this oil thing was a limited resource.  From the beginning of the farm we have tried to use ways of producing crops (and living) that use the least amount of petroleum products as possible.  We knew that eventually the availability and price of oil would become a limiting factor in farming systems and we wanted to not be as dependant on it when that time came.  Sure there is still a lot of plastic on the farm, more that we like but much less than most commercial farms, unfortunately we have to use some of it to be competitive at this time.  There are still more things that we can do.  Hopefully greenhouse films will soon be made from something like corn starch, we can change the tractor over to bio-diesel, maybe we can run the irrigation pump off of solar panels.

It appears as if we missed the bullet again with the cold weather.  It was 30 degrees here on Monday morning without frost but everything we had covered made it through just fine and the asparagus didn’t get frozen!  Today the big round of tomatoes finally goes in the ground, it has taken some time to get ready for planting but we finished it all up yesterday.  We need to get them in because next week is pepper week and it is an even bigger job than tomatoes!  The first round of tomatoes in the sliding tunnels look great and they got pruned and tied up for the first time with lots of quarter sized fruit on them!  Only 5 weeks until we eat the first one!  We of course planted yet more flowers, the last of the spring vegetables and for the first time in a long time, sweet corn.  We haven’t had the room for corn until this year and so I thought let’s see if we can grow a really good sweet corn.  After much research I settled on both a white and a bicolor both with “excellent flavor, sweetness, and eating qualities”.  Now we will see if they actually perform well, you will know if they make it to market!

Picture of the Week
The tomato system- cover crops for good soil and good insects, drip irrigation, reusable fabric mulch, trellis fences and the Big Tops to keep them dry and reduce the dreaded foliage disease.
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