Peregrine Farm News Vol. 7 #14, 6/9/10

What’s been going on?

The other part of the change from spring crops to summer crops is the planting of the summer cover crops. The rains of the last few weeks has made the soil a dream to prepare as the disk cuts the ground easily. Sunday I disked under the spring crop residues in the areas getting a summer soil improving crop and yesterday I spun out the cowpeas and soybeans that will fix free nitrogen and then covered them lightly. Today I will spin out the millet and sundangrass seeds on the different blocks and the job will be done, hopefully we will get a little rain in the next week and they should come racing up.

Mow, mow, mow. Some parts of the farm only get one or two mowings a year, and with all the rain recently, the grass in those areas shot up shoulder high. I spent almost five hours yesterday cutting just the very top sections of the farm and the majority of the bottom field. Much of it I had to creep along in a low gear so the mower wouldn’t bog down. Some of this mowing is just defensive so we can keep the weeds and trees at bay. The less used areas are also the hiding areas for the crop eating varmits, especially the groundhogs. The groundhogs must have really had a good year last season because there are a lot of them and they are not afraid, yet. So far this spring we have dispensed with four and there are at least two more working. The mowing will make it much easier for me to spot them now.

Now that the record short blueberry season is over the staff is getting caught up on other projects. It is major trellising season as many crops have had that growth spurt they put on when their roots really get established. Tying up tomatoes every week, the lisianthus is now over a foot tall, the peppers have gotten tall and floppy. The guys got the first set of support arms on the peppers and today we will run the lower strings to help them stand up straight against storms and to better carry a big fruit load. Weeding and cultivating new zinnias and celosia, planting more late season flowers, lots to do.

Picture of the Week

Campanula and almost dayglo Dianthus

What’s going to be at the market?

It is Hydrangea Palooza, Betsy is cutting hundreds of stems a day right now and they look really nice, both white and the brilliant Nikko blue. Betsy’s beautiful bouquets. Plenty of yellow Asiatic (non-fragrant) Lilies. Campanula (Canterbury Bells) in blues and pinks. A bit more Safflower and lots of late Dianthus, intense reds and purple/pinks.

OK so I know we are all shaking with the excitement of real tomatoes and there will be a small supply of our new early red Ultrasweet, some Cherokee Purples and the great early season yellow/orange variety, Orange Blossom. Still some Summer Crisp lettuce, despite the groundhogs best efforts, that crispy sweet cross between Romaine and Leaf lettuces that is hot weather tolerant, in green dappled with Red and intense Red. The last of the Escarole. Also the traditional round red and tall white (Sugarloaf) Radicchio’s. The last of the Beets; Red, Golden and the striped Chioggia it has been one of our best crops ever. More Cucumbers. A little more Lacinato or Dinosaur Kale. Leeks are back, very nice long shafts. Probably some Basil too.

Hope to see you all at the market!

Alex and Betsy

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