Peregrine Farm News Vol. 10 #28, 9/4/13

What’s been going on!

In the middle of fall planting or should I say replanting as that is how much of the last two weeks has been.  Fall planting is actually a wide window in time.  We actually start seeding some crops in the greenhouse as early as May (Brussels sprouts and Celery) so we can get them in the ground in July.  Many transplanted crops are seeded in July and August to be planted out a month later.  But starting the beginning of August we direct seed into the field a few beds of vegetables each week.  Multiple plantings of carrots, beets, spinach, turnips and more so we can have as continuous a harvest as possible through the fall and early winter.

Well August was so wet that we either had trouble getting into the field on time or the germination rate was not good or with the 3.5 inches of rain in an hour two weeks ago, just plain washed out.  So last week we just re-tilled most of the early planted carrots and beets and started over.  They are now up beautifully but will obviously be later than we had anticipated.  Such is the crap shoot of fall plantings, usually the challenge is that it is so hot things just don’t want to germinate or get cooked off the soil after they do.  If they survive that they then have to battle the onslaught of worms and grasshoppers and other pests until the weather cools down the end of September and everything seems to return to a happy state.

It seems a bit brutal to plant when it is so hot but if we don’t get crops established as early as July, August and early September then the days get so short and cool that they will never mature before the really cold weather arrives.  September is that great month when things do slow down a bit during the transition to true fall.  We are taking out lots of crops, preparing tunnels for the winter season, taking soil tests and getting ready for the big annual soil turning and cover crop planting.  Frost will be here before you know it, only eight or nine weeks away.

Picture of the Week

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The main fall veg field, established crops and many newly seeded beds

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 9 #26, 10/10/12

What’s been going on!

Lots of news, big and little, but first this rain is good but beginning to get on my nerves as I really need to get the soil preparations and cover crops done by Friday!  Hopefully with the forecast high winds on Wednesday the soil will dry enough for tractor work on Thursday and Friday.  It takes a long time for soil to dry when the days are short and cool.  It had just barely dried enough by last Saturday when along came the rains again on Sunday.

Why Friday?  I should know as a farmer to never work on a tight schedule but as many of you already know I am leaving town for a month, on Sunday, so certain things just have to be finished.  Betsy has encouraged me to join a friend for a 25 day walk across southeastern Utah.  This is a trip I have thought about for some years but came up fairly suddenly in the last few months.  I have never been gone from the farm that long and so the logistics of getting ready to leave and the actual trip have been demanding.  Look for stories of the trip when I get back in November.

As most astute readers of the newsletter know, since 2000 we have stopped going to market about now and many of you have commented on it in the past few weeks.  New this year we are planning to be at market through most of the winter.  Several reasons behind this major change of our pattern.  First- last winter we sold almost every week from November on because of the bountiful Baby Ginger and Jerusalem Artichoke crops followed by Betsy’s amazing and early Anemones and we got a feel for how it might fit into our future plans.  Second- as we have talked about before, climate change and the increasingly hot summers have many of us thinking about moving more of our production into the cooler months.

Third- we are trying to keep Jennie on year round and to do that she has to have something to do to make it viable.  To that end we have planted a full array of fall and winter vegetables and some flowers to bring to market.  Some are out in the fields and some in the little sliding tunnels to help stagger the harvest.  So while I am gone Betsy and Jennie will be holding down the market stand with beautiful greens and root crops along with the Baby Ginger and the last of the peppers.  It’s an exciting new direction for us and we know that you all will be there to support us as always.  So no sad farewell newsletter this fall but this will be the last one until I return in mid-November.

Pictures of the Week

A beautiful field of fall vegetables

What’s going to be at the market? Continue reading