4/13/05 Vol. 2 #6

You know some days are more glamorous on the farm than others.  Like the Carolina Farm Stewardship Farm Tour days (weekend after next, April 23 and 24) when the place is all buffed up and lots of interested folks come out to see what we are up to, or when the NC State Agroecology program comes out to shoot a video of our operation for students to be able to access online.  These would qualify under the heading of “farmers as rock stars” as one friend of ours likes to say.  Yesterday on the other hand was more along the lines of drudgery, running a jack hammer to be precise.  The “Big Tops”, technically referred to as field scale mutli-bay high tunnels, that we grow our tomatoes and some flowers under have legs that screw into the ground 30 inches deep.  Each of the two units we have cover a quarter acre each and has one hundred plus legs that have to be screwed in.  Sometimes you hit part of the planet.  Last year when we put them up we had to rent a jack hammer and chip out 32 holes.  It might have been one of the longest and exhausting days of my life!  This year we only hit big rock once but yesterday, after I had put if off as long as I could (we have to plant tomatoes next week), up to the rental place I went.  One hole was not too bad but I am still scarred by last year and am rethinking the wisdom of moving these things every year!

It always feels like warm weather is coming when the first Zinnias are seeded.  Last week we planted the first 10 beds and they are up already.  We also planted lots of other warm season crops- sunflowers, tuberoses, calla lilies, lisianthus, cucumbers and artichokes.  In general though we worked between the rains on lots of maintenance tasks, part spring cleaning and part crop management.  We finished most of the big round of weeding which always stirs up lots of rocks which we pick up and have to haul away along with other detritus like branches, pieces of irrigation line and other items laying around before the grass grows over them and they become mower bait.  Pea trellises went up, some irrigation began to be set up (I know it’s raining but we will need it when it starts to get hot), and hydrangeas were cut back.  Not a bad week in all and the new asparagus are up!

Picture of the Week

The happy jack hammer operator
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