Journal Slacker


That is what I have been the past couple months. I have been having a rough time setting aside time to update our journal. Probably because there is so much work to do outdoors that I find it difficult to prioritize indoor responsibilities such as keeping our journal updated.
Well…. Our fields have been very dry this past month with Carl irrigating a couple days each week which makes for a long work week. So we were praying for rain. Last Tuesday our prayers were answered. It rained… and rained…. And it has been raining for the past 5 days. We’ve had a few inches of rain this past week and now we are praying for dry weather once again. That is the farmers’ life. Praying for rain… Praying for dry weather…
Our priorities changed a little bit these past couple weeks…. We have a BEAUTIFUL onion crop and the plants were beginning to die back, around three weeks earlier than in previous years, so we have pulled down all the garlic from the drying racks to make room for onions. We’ve harvested our Candy (yellow), Sierra Blanca (white) and Cabernet (red) onions, and are pleased that most all of these onions are curing on the drying racks. This is our best onion crop in 6 years providing that they all cure in our humid weather conditions. Our onions are HUGE, SWEET and BEAUTIFUL! Meanwhile, we have additional successions of seeding that needs to be done, crops that need to be seeded directly into the field, crops that need to be saved from the weeds, all in trying to keep up with our “production schedule” that was made in January before our season was underway. All these variables is what happens when running this small farm. Priorities are constantly changing, the crops and the weather dictate the “Priority of the Day”, so we the farmers must be flexible with mother nature. Our Candy onions are SO big that they required additional curing racks so Carl made a couple additional racks. Most of you who have been CSA members or market customers in the past probably are well aware that the Candy onions are ever so tasty and probably sweeter than vidalia onions! Last week we spent some time hand weeding carrots and beets so hopefully these crops won’t need much more attention before they grow into delicious edible food.
Just last week We also spent time hand weeding the sweet potatoes, which wasn’t on the “to do list” for that week, but the weeds grew back quickly and we are pleased this crop is just beginning to vine, and I must confess that we spent a half day weeding them for two consecutive weeks. We couldn’t believe the weeds grew back within a week, and you would think that after all these years farming, we would be used to weeds growing back ever so quickly. But each week we still are amazed how quickly the weeds grow. We prioritized our sweet potatoes over celery and celeriac but hopefully these crops will make our priority list again in the next week or so. One thing about sweet potatoes grown on an organic system, they require hand weeding, because they are vines we are unable to tractor cultivate this crop. Using a conventional system, weeds are controlled using herbicides, which makes it a lot less labor intensive.
We are thankful that we decided these past couple weeks to prioritize harvesting onions. We beat the rain. Had we left them in the field they may have soured with all the moisture. Not to mention, they would have been much harder to cure, especially if they would have absorbed the three inches of rain.
Carl driving the trailer to the field. Of course, Kaiser has to help with almost any farm job!

Carl driving the trailer to the field. Of course, Kaiser has to help with almost any farm job!

Carl, Danielle, Justin, Allison and Emily pulling onions from the field into harvest bins that are loaded onto the trailer. The onions are then placed in curing racks on tier poles in the barn.

Carl, Danielle, Justin, Allison and Emily pulling onions from the field into harvest bins that are loaded onto the trailer. The onions are then placed in curing racks on tier poles in the barn.

Sierra Blanca onions.  We love this onion and couldn’t get seed for them last year.  It is supposed to be a spicier onion but our crop this season is sweet.  Our onions will get spicier as they cure.

Sierra Blanca onions. We love this onion and couldn’t get seed for them last year. It is supposed to be a spicier onion but our crop this season is sweet. Our onions will get spicier as they cure.

We are running out of curing racks. Normally we don’t have plant sale plants taking up rack space right now but we are hoping to sell a few plants on the Farm Tour.

We are running out of curing racks. Normally we don’t have plant sale plants taking up rack space right now but we are hoping to sell a few plants on the Farm Tour.

Julie putting cabernet onions on curing racks.

Julie putting cabernet onions on curing racks.

We ran out of rack space, and rather than leave the onions in the field with the forecast for rain, we loaded them onto the trailer.

We ran out of rack space, and rather than leave the onions in the field with the forecast for rain, we loaded them onto the trailer.

Our candy onions on curing racks. We are thankful to have them out of the fields and in the barn curing!

Our candy onions on curing racks. We are thankful to have them out of the fields and in the barn curing!

Just another photograph of a few of our candy onions curing!

Just another photograph of a few of our candy onions curing!

A typical candy onion.  We are worried about them curing correctly because they are big BUT THEY ARE SWEET!

A typical candy onion. We are worried about them curing correctly because they are big BUT THEY ARE SWEET!

Bagheera climbing up a tier pole!  Danielle and Justin saw the kitties doing their job and eating a rat this week.

Bagheera climbing up a tier pole! Danielle and Justin saw the kitties doing their job and eating a rat this week.

Production Note to Self: We pulled down garlic on 7/2, 7/3 and 7/4. Began harvesting Onions on 7/5 and 7/6. We’ve noticed that our fruit set on peppers isn’t very high yet but are hopeful with the cooler weather that we will get some fruit set. Our sweet pepper crop is a little behind in ripening and we noticed that the irrigation was turned off in the greenhouse. This is our first year for automating greenhouse watering and we need to add a job to check greenhouse irrigation a couple times each week.

About Farmer

About Us: We are mostly market gardeners and sell our offerings at local markets; however, in addition to preserving our harvest for winter, we raise egg laying chickens, chickens for meat and dairy goats. We can’t claim to do all these things alone - we normally have a farm apprentice living on the far – who helps us with all the farm chores. .

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