05.29.11

Hallelujah the winter squash are in the field!

Posted in Projects at 6:40 pm by Farmer

This past week was spent pressure washing landscape plastic for winter squash, unrolling the plastic in the field with each roll covering a bed of our growing area, then covering the edges of the plastic with dirt just so the wind is not apt to carry both the plastic and the plants over the mountain to our neighbors, and finally transplanting roughly 500 winter squash plants to the field. It  FEELS FABULOUS to have this job off our ‘To Do” list and our next high priority job is transplanting over one thousand pepper plants to the field. No instant gratification for any of these jobs because we must wait until August/September before our winter squash, with any luck, matures into roasted sweetness!
This is our winter squash that is going through a little transplant shock after being transplanted.  We are hopeful that this crop will begin to mature come early September!

This is our winter squash that is going through a little transplant shock after being transplanted. We are hopeful that this crop will begin to mature come early September!

Meanwhile, in between all the farm jobs, our onions are being overtaken by a weed, nutsedge, that is very hard to hoe so we are hand pulling weeds for about 3/4 acre of onions. We only have 1/3 completed and I do hope we are able to prioritize this job before the nutsedge grows too much that we end up damaging the onion plants trying to rid the field of this invasive weed.
Can you believe this innocent little grass is causing havoc on our onion crop?  It is terribly difficult to get rid of.

Can you believe this innocent little grass is causing havoc on our onion crop? It is terribly difficult to get rid of.

We had a great market this past Saturday so THANKS ASHEVILLE for giving me hope that folks will be eating the food we grow this season! I have been so focused on all the gazillion jobs that need to be done (i.e. field prep, direct seeding, transplanting, weeding, seeding, harvesting, selling, etc.) that I didn’t take time to photograph our CSA share once again this week. SHAME ON ME!
Sugar Snaps that are so SWEET and you eat the entire pod so no shelling or stringing with this veggie!  We hope to harvest enough for our CSA share this week.

Sugar Snaps that are so SWEET and you eat the entire pod so no shelling or stringing with this veggie! We hope to harvest enough for our CSA share this week.

We are excited to see fruit set on our greenhouse pepper crop!

We are excited to see fruit set on our greenhouse pepper crop!

We also have fruit set on our eggplant!  We aren’t growing as many greenhouse eggplants as in years past but are still hopeful to harvest enough for the CSA shares once they are near “peak production”.

We also have fruit set on our eggplant! We aren’t growing as many greenhouse eggplants as in years past but are still hopeful to harvest enough for the CSA shares once they are near “peak production”.

Eggplant is such a beautiful plant with incredibly gorgeous blossoms. It is so COOL that we sell many of these as plants for use as ornamentals in gardens during our spring plant sales. SUCH A BEAUTY for the garden!

Zucchini ready for harvesting.  We have been harvesting zucchini for about a month  now from this crop.

Zucchini ready for harvesting. We have been harvesting zucchini from this crop for about a month now.

My favorite HOER!

My favorite HOER!

05.22.11

We just delivered our first 2 weeks of CSA shares

Posted in Projects at 7:08 am by Farmer

Just this past Saturday we delivered the first couple weeks of CSA shares for the season and were relieved to harvest enough vegetables to fill the boxes! My goal for this year’s blog, each week throughout the season, is to photograph the family share once harvested and packed, and I am already failing in my responsibility.
This is a photograph of the second CSA share. We did include veggies in the share even though my photograph is black. I need to learn how to work our camera because I arranged for a photograph that included lots of veggies and look what happened, just because I had the camera on the wrong setting!

This is a photograph of the second CSA share. We did include veggies in the share even though my photograph is black. I need to learn how to work our camera because I arranged for a photograph that included lots of veggies and look what happened, just because I had the camera on the wrong setting!

We had poor vegetable sales at our last couple Saturday tailgate markets so are now back to re-prioritizing the vacation rental cabin (a.k.a. Crop Insurance). This project has taken the back burner the past couple months as we prioritized seeding, planting, crop maintenance and now harvesting. However, we are going to try and juggle this project with crop production for our 2011 season. After this season we may need to be institutionalized because, after juggling a ton of different tasks, this might just be enough added chaos in our lives to drive us crazy.
Since Alvin has graded an AMAZING and SOLID road leading to the cabin site, we must now file all the permits required for building this cabin. Part of the permitting process includes submitting a “Site Plan” which includes things like; the location of the cabin, how water will be delivered to the cabin, structures that will be near the cabin site such as garages, porches and the location septic tank/field. So… we hiked up to the site this past Sunday and Carl is finalizing the “Site Plan’ that will be filed with our county. The permits must be filed and the septic tank field approved prior to us grading the site. In the near future we hope our environmental health specialist will be visiting the site and conducting a “perk” test on our proposed septic tank site. Once this is approved we can have Alvin grade our site.
The above photograph is the permits that we will be filing.  We probably won't have time to submit our permits for the next couple weeks as this is "peak" season for us so we will be focusing on farming.

The above photograph is the permits that we will be filing. We probably won't have time to submit our permits for the next couple weeks as this is "peak" season for us so we will be focusing on farming.

Guess what… It is “peak” strawberry season so we are freezing strawberries for our winter stash. This past week we made a batch of homemade strawberry ice cream.. DELICIOUS! Each year I plan on making strawberry jam but end up eating all the frozen strawberries in smoothies.
A DELICIOUSLY pint of sweet strawberries.  I highly recommend strawberry ice cream for a wonderful spring treat!  Townes made the comment something to the effect, “How can a plant produce such a sweet berry!”.

Above is a DELICIOUSLY sweet pint of strawberries. I highly recommend strawberry ice cream for a wonderful spring treat! Townes made the comment something to the effect, “How can a plant produce such a sweet berry!”.

Nern holding a flat of strawberries before loading the truck with our harvested strawberries.

Nern holding a flat of strawberries before loading the truck with our harvested strawberries.

Our truck full of strawberries after harvest!

Our truck full of strawberries after harvest!

Interesting read on roof top farming systems in the rising…

05.08.11

Our Greenhouses look GREAT!

Posted in Projects at 10:03 am by Farmer

So many things have happened since my last blog post and I do know that when I get a little lax about updating our journal I will look back over the entries and not have a sense of accomplishment.
Here are a few of the things that we have done since my last entry…
George Thomas has been a CSA member for probably around 10 years, and he has been teaching horticulture realated classes at Haywood Community College for even longer. For the past several years he has been integrating Organic Horticulture/Farming courses into his curriculum. He brought his class out for a tour of the farm April 25th and we shared with the class our farming practices here at Mountain Harvest Organics. We had some great wood fired pizza with smoked peppers, kale, onions, sausage, olives, eggs, and I am probably missing a few ingredients but most toppings were from the farm!
I am disappointed that the budget cuts for education have severely impacted his horticulture program at Haywood Community College (HCC). HCC was offering a 2 year certificate for horticulture and I know of quite a few individuals who have obtained a certificate from that program, after which going on to operating nursery and landscape businesses, gardening services, and for many this education served them in re-inventing their family farm that has been operating for generations. HCC has cut his program back to 1 year, and knowing what I know about trying to grow food, 1 year just isn’t enough time in the classroom for a foundation in today’s agriculture and horticulture fields.
I would rather that our country stop sending troops abroad or cut back in road maintenance for a couple years rather than cut educational programs. It seems to me that the DOT is paving roads whenever there is a small scratch on the road so why not let those scratches stay for a few years until the economy recovers. In addition, I think our country would be better served in raising taxes rather than cutting education so that our country can continue improving technologies in the area of alternative energy, mass transportation, and organic food production. Just my two cents worth…
Our accomplishments the rest of the week after Haywood Community Colleges Visit…
We spent the remainder of the week potting up tomatoes for plant sales, hoeing our spring greens growing in the field (broccoli, kale, swiss chard, mustard greens, etc), weeding our tomato greenhouse and trellising the tomatoes, weeding our sugar snap and cucumber greenhouse and finally transplanting random basil and tomatillo plants into empty spaces in our greenhouse. Our motto with our greenhouses is – No greenhouse space will be left unplanted – so definitely these plants will not produce enough basil and tomatillos for CSA or market customers – but at least the farm crew will be enjoying them!
Last Week We Did…
We transplanted another succession of greens, red cabbage, green cabbage and cauliflower. We also put row cover on these crops to prevent them from being eaten by the flea beetles. Putting on row cover requires us to gather a gazillion rocks to hold down the fabric. I would like to know how many pounds of rocks I have carried around the field in my short farming career but couldn’t begin to even estimate that figure! We once again hoed the first succession of broccoli/kales and the second succession of direct seeded crops. We shouldn’t have to hoe these again if they grow fast enough to shade out the weeds. (Big If.) Our germination rate for spinach looks good but the beets are very sporadic. Do we till the beets under? In addition, we tagged a few thousand plants that we sold at The Whole Bloomin’ Thing festival in Waynesville. THANKS WAYNESVILLE FOR SUPPORTING OUR FARM!
WARNING CSA MEMBERS….
We have a lot of Napa Cabbage planted so you may need to read up on these recipes for making sauerkraut!
Crimson Clover is a GORGEOUS cover crop!

Crimson Clover is a GORGEOUS cover crop!

Looking across the field and seeing specs of crimson is BEAUTIFUL!

Looking across the field and seeing specs of crimson is BEAUTIFUL!

We weeded and trellised the tomato greenhouse.  We also transplanted random plants of basil and tomatillos in empty spaces.  We put down paper mulch, and by all means this isn’t an ideal use of it, but if it keeps the fescue and weeds from continually overtaking the greenhouse we will be happy farmers.

We weeded and trellised the tomato greenhouse. We also transplanted random plants of basil and tomatillos in empty spaces. We put down paper mulch, and by all means this isn’t an ideal use of it, but if it keeps the fescue and weeds from continually overtaking the greenhouse we will be happy farmers.

We took down mesh that was used to keep deer out of our pea and cucumber greenhouse when the sides are rolled down, mostly because it was just to hard to keep down the fescue and weeds along the sides of our greenhouse with the mesh, and it seems the weeds keep wanting to overtake the greenhouse.  The mesh also cut down our airflow.   We have been spraying with a deer repellent spray and are hoping it works for the entire season.

We took down mesh that was used to keep deer out of our pea and cucumber greenhouse when the sides are rolled down, mostly because it was just to hard to keep down the fescue and weeds along the sides of our greenhouse with the mesh, and it seems the weeds keep wanting to overtake the greenhouse. The mesh also cut down our airflow. We have been spraying with a deer repellent spray and are hoping it works for the entire season.

Townes and Danielle put up stakes and trellised the pepper greenhouse.  This house looks great!  We haven’t yet put down paper mulch along the sides and as you can see the fescue is still trying to take over the greenhouse.  On our ‘To Do’ list is to put down paper mulch in this greenhouse.

Townes and Danielle put up stakes and trellised the pepper greenhouse. This house looks great! We haven’t yet put down paper mulch along the sides and as you can see the fescue is still trying to take over the greenhouse. On our ‘To Do’ list is to put down paper mulch in this greenhouse.