7/21/04 Vol. 1 #19

Pretty quiet out here on the farm this week, even with the slight break in the really hot weather we have been just chugging along with the usual chores.  The mid summer meeting season seems to have arrived and so we have been trying to attend some that we think might be good for us to participate in.  Most of the farmer meetings are in the winter when we all have lots of time to think about new ideas but it is all on paper or in slides.  There is a period during the growing season when short events happen, usually afternoon or evening, that allow us to actually see things growing, in person!

This week we attended a seed saving workshop.  With over 200 varieties of crops that we grow, it is just not possible to think about saving our own seed.  To do a good job of saving seed one really needs good isolation from other like plants so that you can be assured of no cross pollination, that would be really hard for us to achieve.  We have been interested in this for several years now, particularly in the heirloom tomatoes.  From time to time we have ordered tomato seed and when they began to produce it was clear that it was not what we had ordered, imagine how excited I might get if the Cherokee Purples turned out to be something else!  So we are looking at beginning to make selections for fruit quality and plant strength in some of these heirloom tomatoes so that we can have some more control over one of our most important crops.  In the back of my head I also have an interest in trying to develop our own Poblano pepper that would produce consistently under our conditions here in North Carolina.  We have trialed at least a dozen Poblano varieties and have found only one that does reasonably well and are afraid that we may not be able to get that one for too much longer.  The seed business these days has been in great flux as it becomes more and more consolidated.  We have lost several varieties over the past few years as the new companies decide to discontinue varieties for one reason or another (the main reason being dollar$).  I’m not sure it’s not just the heat that makes my head swim with such ideas!

The Broadbrested turkeys, known here on the farm as the “little guys”, are three weeks old now and will graduate to going outside from the Poultry Villa during the day to get them used to eating grass and sunshine and their new mother ship.  After two weeks of day time privileges they get to go out to the fields for good.  First along side, but separated by a fence, the “big boys” and finally total integration.

Picture of the Week
The Broadbreasted White Turkeys thinking about making a run for the outdoors!