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That’s fall, folks

14 December 2010

Time for a change in the seasons...

By the end of October, my farming apprenticeship with Dave was drawing to a close as quickly as the weather changed.  Within a space of days, the days turned from golden and warm to grey and blustery, and the field work I so enjoyed gave way to periods spent in a warm kitchen, saving tomato seeds and guzzling hot coffee while waiting for a cold fall rain to pass.

October signaled the passing of peak season, returning us to fewer crop varieties and lower yields as well as fewer days going to market.  But I continued to plant seedlings, keeping the fall crops supplied with new growth, and other crops — like potatoes — continued to bring me a harvest to clean and prep for market.

The last of the tomatoes

Once cooler weather arrived, even the hardiest tomatoes drooped quickly.  We cleaned out the plots, starting with the earliest-planted tomatoes.  I would go through the rows, clipping the twine from the trellising and removing plants, drip tape, and black plastic while Dave rolled up the wires and pulled out stakes.  (In one or two plots, I managed to do all that on my own.)  We salvaged the last ripe tomatoes along with flats of green tomatoes that proved to be market-grade, and then the rest of the vegetation got tossed onto the ever-growing burn pile.

Field #5 squash and eggplants ready to be removed

We let the second planting of squash ride out the season as long as possible, but the first hard frost wiped out what remained of the crop.  While those plants came out of the ground easily, their neighbors, the eggplants, fought me with their sturdy roots clinging defiantly to the ground.  (This was probably the time I felt most at risk of straining my back beyond tolerance; fortunately, I had the sense to step away and do something else before coming back to the task.)

Fall crop of pac choi and a cover crop of rye

Not everything succumbed to the cold, of course.  A fall planting of pac choi (which replaced the ill-fated third planting of cucumbers in field #6) took hold even as the leaves fell, and Dave continued to harvest from this plot well into November.  Other plots welcomed a sowing of rye seed — a cover crop to build up the soil fertility in the larger fields.  (Field #6, the newest and the most clay-heavy, especially needed this attention.)

Another OARDC experiment: planting lettuce in cold weather

Dave participated in a second farming experiment from OARDC researchers this fall.  In this case, the research revolved around the question of protecting fall-planted lettuce from the elements and providing the best assistance to growth.  Some of the lettuce plots had heat cables buried beneath the soil; some had plastic row covers (with slits for air circulation); some had both; and some had neither.  Part of the data gathering included collecting information on soil temperature through the probes found under cover as shown above.  As all of the lettuce was planted at the same time, it was a pretty safe bet that Dave would have plenty of lettuce to sell at market in time for Thanksgiving!

Full circle: planting garlic

My work at the farm would not be complete without closing the circle and planting the garlic that I found growing last year when I first visited the farm (in November).  Digging under a thick mulch of grass and leaf clippings, I planted row after row after row after row… of four varieties of garlic.  This first plot rapidly filled with garlic seed, so we ended up mulching two more plots to accommodate all that we have available.

(And after rounding out my last week at the farm with planting garlic, I ended up helping to plant garlic at the farm at Olney Friends School in southeastern Ohio — as part of a summit I attended — and then planting my own three varieties of garlic before the weather turned too frosty.)

Expanding plot #1 in field #1 in preparation for the high tunnel

Work would continue at the farm after I left: in my last weeks, Dave finally received the delivery of his high tunnel kit, paid for by the USDA’s EQIP funding.  He tilled the plot that would house the tunnel, adding extra inches to both the width and length of the plot.

High tunnel pieces parts

I helped carry purlins and posts and arches for the high tunnel, piling them up at the head of the plot so that they would be handy for construction.  In November, some of Dave’s fellow farmers from his Saturday market helped him start putting up the high tunnel, and just last week, the final touches were added.  I have yet to visit and see the new structure, but this should help Dave start his season early next year — as well as extend it next fall.

After eight months, starting in winter and running straight through four seasons, I left the farm at the end of October, exhausted and cold but very satisfied with all the work I had done and with all that I had learned in one growing season.  I am deeply appreciative to Dave for taking me on and teaching me all that he did — and for expressing the interest in having me return next year.

It’s been a good year.

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Missed the oat

14 December 2010

When the season started, I anticipated having more garden space where I could grow small crops of small grains.  As the year progressed, though, it became obvious that — for many reasons — those plans would have to be scaled back drastically.

For example, the plans to put in another buckwheat patch fell through entirely as early rains turned the potential plot into mud, and it never got tilled in preparation.  And the wheat I had planted at another friend’s house last year fell victim to my laziness and neglect, not to mention the threat of vomitoxin that afflicted the state.

What I did manage to plant — millet, sorghum, flint corn, and oats — was quickly overrun with weeds, and since I was unable to spend much time on this new garden, I lost the first three crops and had very little to show for the fourth.

Oats in June, after some weeding

I did make an effort to clear out major weeds from around the rows of oats, hoping that this would help them thrive.  Mulch would have been an enormous help this summer, but that simply didn’t happen.

Where'd they go?

By the end of July, the oats I could find amidst the renewed throng of weeds proved to be ripe enough to harvest, so I spent time one morning clipping what oat stalks I could find.

A pretty puny yield

As  you can see, that wasn’t much.  Several areas were too overgrown with weeds to produce much, and those rows that had been weeded turned out to be very attractive to local wildlife.  (A number of stalks were chewed down, with no seed heads in sight.)

Oats to roll, eat, and enjoy

Still, I took those stalks home and hulled and winnowed the oats by hand, ending up with a small bowl of groats.  I don’t think the yield quite matched what was planted, and this won’t make a very big bowl of oatmeal, but at least I had a little something to show for my work.

Certainly there were many things I could have done better, had I been able to devote more time to my own gardens this year.  Would it be better to broadcast the oats instead of planting rows, in order to suppress weeds?  I don’t know, but I’m sure I can find some answers and ideas in Gene Logsdon’s Small-Scale Grain Raising as well as in Homegrown Whole Grains, another book I found this year.

Next year probably won’t be a year for growing grains, but I oat to be able to do better the next time around…

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Peak season

14 December 2010

Back in late July, two progressively demanding trends occurred to cause this blog to fall silent: my laptop hard drive started dying just as peak season kicked into gear.  By the time my hard drive crashed in August, I had no free time to worry about getting it fixed quickly, and so the farming season swept me into a whirlwind of activity that has only just started to settle down — now that the bitter winds and blowing snows of winter are making their appearance.

I’d love to be able to go back and fill in all the gaps for you, but honestly, I don’t remember everything I learned in my last three intensive months at the farm.  So in coming days I’m going to try to review some of the highlights, just to wrap up the year.

In August, most farmers’ markets are awash in color as summer produce hits its peak, so it’s no surprise that August proved to be a prolific and profitable month at the farm.

An abundance of heirloom tomatoes, ready for market

Heirloom tomatoes make up one of the three major crops at Dave’s farm, and he has collected and saved seeds over the years in order to have a rich variety of tomatoes over the season.  Varieties shown above include German Pink, Cherokee Purple, Moskovich, Sunkist, Jolly, and Yellow Pear, but later in the season we also had pints of Sun Golds, flats of Amish Paste, and many sunrise-brilliant Hillbilly tomatoes.

Green peppers put on their summer growth, while kale takes a breather

The peppers — both green bells and Hungarian wax — got off to a slow start earlier in the year, but by August we were starting to harvest them.

Second planting of cucumbers in field #6

Early heat in the summer meant that some summer crops, such as the two varieties of cucumbers shown here, produced early and vigorously, then tapered off in enough time for us to plant a second round.  The second crop didn’t yield quite as much, but it extended the season and brought in extra income, so it worked out well.

Second crop of squash, settling in nicely

A second planting of patty pan, yellow straightneck, and zucchini squash — even in a smaller field — added significantly to the season’s yields, and I harvested from these plants well into October.

Beets and leeks, going strong

I planted successive crops of beets throughout the season, adding new seedlings whenever old ones were cleaned out, so I would guess that this ended up as our most consistent, if not highest-yielding, crop.

Nothing to see here in the greenhouse

The intense heat of August — with many days in the 90s — caused us to empty the greenhouse, despite the need to keep seeding flats for fall crops.  Had I left flats in here, the seedling would have easily been fried, even with twice-daily watering!  (It got to the point when I would take flats, potting mix, and seeds out under the trees and work on flats in a cool breeze — anything to avoid this heat trap.)

Relocating flats for better temperature, sunlight, and water

Instead, we set flats out on the picnic table (and, later, the deck) where we had easy access to water and could keep an eye on the growing seedlings.  For fall, I continued to seed flats of beets, lettuce, kohlrabi, radishes, kale, and pac choi.

Our peak season continued into September, and I put in a very full Friday evening before Labor Day helping Dave harvest and prep for his big Saturday morning market.  By that point, we had all of the aforementioned crops ripening, as well as onions, more potatoes, loads of basil, eggplant, and even pears.  A busy time!

In my own gardens, August represented the trailing off of most summer crops, a superabundance of basil, the complete neglect of the bean and grain patch, halfhearted efforts at seed saving, and a complete panic about starting and planting seedlings for fall.  In short, a mess.

When peak season hits, you just have to hang on — it may be downhill from there, but boy, will it speed along!

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The heart of the matter

22 July 2010

Throughout this year, I’ve fielded the occasional inquiry from friends: Do you miss your old job?

If you ask, Do you miss the steady and comfortable income of your old job? I have to say yes.  Who wouldn’t?  But miss the job itself?  The stressful work environment?  The petty bickering?  My answer is a vehement no (often with a colorful descriptor in front of the negative).

The potato says it all: I love my work

So why, then, do I love farming so much?

So many reasons come to mind.  For once in my life, I’m doing seriously physical work, out in the elements no matter what (save for thunderstorms).  And contrary to popular belief (at least among those who have known me for years), I actually find it richly rewarding.  I’m sore at the end of the day, of course, but for once in my life, I actually feel as if I’ve done a day’s work.

And the work is productive.  What could be more beneficial, more elemental, than growing the good, delicious, healthy, nutritious food that others eat?  That, in fact, I eat?  As I work, I learn techniques as well as an intuitive feel for how plants look, grow, and respond — lessons I can take to my own gardens and use for more impressive results.

I get paid reasonably well for a farming apprentice, and the benefits, while not including health insurance and the other fancy-pants perks of a desk job, are equally useful: produce “seconds” to keep me fed at home, the occasional surprise bonus of lacto-fermented garlic scapes or a hand tool (to name but two), a bottomless supply of iced tea in the brutally hot weather.

I’ve got a good boss, one I respect and who respects me.  He has kindly accommodated my occasional physical limits (especially after a recent fender-bender) but also knows when to challenge me to get in gear and do something new.  (Granted, the boss I had just before leaving the library shared these qualities — I’ve been fortunate all around.)

And I have the intangible joys of working outside on a sunny day; breathing in fresh air; picking fresh wild black raspberries; studying insects; inhaling the fragrances of tomato plants and freshly-dug root vegetables; and so very much more.

Personally, I think more people should be farming — finding out what it takes to grow the food we eat — as I think many of those people would find vast pleasure in the work, even with the pain.  This year so far has been a revelation to me, and I am so glad I made this leap.

Call me crazy if you will, but I really love farming.

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Algae whiz

15 July 2010

In organic farming, the inputs used — for fertilizing crops, controlling disease or pests, etc. — have to meet USDA organic standards and be approved by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI).  No Roundup here, thanks, though there are extensive lists of what is allowed.

For building soil fertility, there are several methods an organic farmer can use.  Sure, there are a host of commercial products that are OMRI-approved, but many organic farmers (like Dave) get back to the original idea of organic, nurturing the soil by keeping the farm cycle closed.  Composted animal manure can be used (following stringent guidelines for human health), and cover crops return nitrogen and other vital nutrients to the soil.

An additional source for green manure

Dave uses both of these methods, of course.  But the latest step in replenishing the soil this season starts here: at the pond.  The weedy mess of algae found on and just below the surface provides the farm with a good mid-season green manure.

Up until a few years ago, Dave treated the pond as most of his neighbors do: with that ubiquitous dye that reduces algal growth.  But then he read about coastal cultures that added seaweed to the soil for fertilizer (shades of Squanto and the Pilgrims!) and decided to stop the pond treatment and use the algae like seaweed.

Pond algae, ready to transport to the field

Once the big garlic bed was cleared and ready for a new mid-season crop, Dave spent an hour or two one evening scooping algae from the pond and dumping it in piles on the banks.  The next morning, he drove the small tractor around so that we could load the piles onto the flat trailer and take them to the open plot.

A little dab -- er, clump -- will do ya?

We picked up armfuls of the algae and slapped clumps down onto the bare, lumpy soil.  A patch here, a patch there — until we had the algae worked through most of the plot.  Days later, Dave ran the tiller through the bed, distributing the algae more deeply into the soil and smoothing out the texture of the plot.

After much consideration, Dave decided that we would plant a second crop of cucumbers in this patch, so that work — laying plastic and drip lines, planting seedlings — is coming up soon.

And whether or not we’ll harvest more algae for more fields yet this season remains to be seen.

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Heads up

3 July 2010

One of Dave’s signature crops is his German hardneck garlic.  Be it labeled “hardy” or “extra hardy” or something else, it produces large, aromatic bulbs that sell well at market.

Garlic gets a new layer of fresh grass clippings

Early on, the garlic gets fresh mulch

Remember this?  Back in April, the garlic had just decided to kick into its growth spurt for the season, but it was still small enough for us to move around it easily in order to add a thick coating of grass clippings.

By June, those garlic patches stood tall and forest-like, difficult to move through.  I harvested all the scapes over a week or two, encouraging the plants to put more energy into the bulbs instead of the flower stalk (which is what the scape is, essentially).  Dave sold some of the scapes at market, but — happily! — I ended up with a large portion of them (in order to make garlic scape pesto for a flatbread I sell at market).

This past week, Dave decided to start digging up the heads of garlic in order to have more items to sell at the farmers’ markets.  The first row had a disappointing number of rotted bulbs — somehow the patch had become too waterlogged, despite being toward the top of a slope.  Still, we had plenty to clean and prep for market.

The boss shows his method of cleaning garlic -- I can do that!

This week, we dug up a few more rows, harvesting 75 pounds of bulbs.  It took close to four hours total over two days to clean all that garlic — spraying off mud, peeling back the damaged outer layers, and spraying clean any remaining blemishes — but when the sun is out, I rather enjoy pulling off my boots and socks, rolling up my pant legs, and getting wet while I work.

All clean and ready to bundle

I’ve become fairly adept, too, at bundling the garlic in groups of two or three bulbs to make up half a pound, so Dave put me to work on that, filling bins for market with fresh garlic heads.

All in all, I end the day absolutely reeking of fresh garlic juice, and my work clothes keep that aroma lingering around home.  Good thing I like it!

We’ll continue to harvest garlic over the next couple of weeks, clearing plots so that Dave can till and possibly have me plant some later crops.  The forecast for early next week is hot and sunny, so sitting and dousing the garlic and myself with water for a couple of hours sounds fine and dandy to me.

And it’s probably time to dig up garlic heads in my own gardens, too!

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And away we grow!

26 June 2010

The big garden on June 26 -- picture perfect!

Summer is well and truly here, as seen in the explosive growth in the gardens.  I’m happy to report, though, that not all the growth comes from the weeds (though there are plenty of those!).  Care to take a look around?

Going clockwise:

Chamomile, started from seed, in its first bloom. I smell tea!

For such a girly-girl cabbage, "Frigga" is coming on strong, even with all the ruffles

Sweet sugar snap peas, begging to be picked! (Yes, I did -- and I ate them on the spot.)

The flint corn is still struggling with weeds, but I'm working on the situation

Finally getting some weeding done in the oats, too -- they're looking good!

Salsify, lentils, and rutabagas (which, believe or not, were thinned!)

The carrots have been thinned, too, to allow the roots to plump up a little more: so far, so good!

The pac choi (left) still dominates, but the golden chard is growing nicely

Celery plants have filled out, though I'm not sure what to do next -- prune a little?

The cucumbers and dill have been basking in the heat --- look at them grow!

I worked in the garden both yesterday and today for 1 1/2 to 2 hours at a time, weeding a few more rows in the grain patch.  But each day I was rewarded with fresh produce: snap peas, radishes, Hakurei turnips, pac choi, chard, dill, lettuce, and chamomile blossoms.

And just look at what we have to enjoy later!

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Shedding blight on the subject

25 June 2010

Tomato seedlings that won't make it to the field: the lower one simply isn't happy in the flat, but the upper one shows signs of disease -- maybe blight?

Last year, area farmers took a blow from the pervasive appearance of late blight (Phytophthora infestans) on tomato crops.  A water mold that ran amok in last year’s cool, damp summer, the blight remains famous for its historical reasons: it was responsible for the crop losses that caused the Great Potato Famine in Ireland in 1845-1847.  And last year, it devastated the tomato harvest.

Dave felt the blow: his total harvest of heirloom tomatoes was easily halved, thanks to the damage to plants and fruits caused by this disease.  This year, we know we face the threat again, since the blight inoculum remains in the soil.

As you might have noticed above, the same disease can affect both potatoes and tomatoes — both are nightshades, of the genus Solanum — and since eggplant is also a nightshade, I wonder about that as well.  Dave practices crop rotation faithfully this year, avoiding the placement of tomatoes in the same areas as the previous year, but since potatoes are another large crop on the farm, there is bound to be some overlap of Solanum species.

So when we heard that late blight had been confirmed both in Pennsylvania and Michigan, Dave decided it would be sensible to take precautions.  There are a few sprays and such that are approved for use on certified organic crops, and the prime candidate used as a preventive against blight is copper hydroxide.  The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA), the group that certifies Dave’s farm as organic, approved the use of this substance, so Dave called in an order for it, receiving it the very next day.

Hope and spray for the best

As with other sprays, copper hydroxide must be handled with care (it is mildly corrosive) and must be applied on a dry and not windy day.  Dave pulled out one of his sprayers, mixed up a batch, and applied the preventive to two plots of tomatoes, leaving a light turquoise mottling on the leaves and early fruit.

Along with the spraying regimen — every 7 to 10 days, or after rain — we will keep our eyes open for potentially diseased foliage, fruit, and plants and remove them from the field as quickly as possible, adding them to the burn pile since they are not compostable.  We’re using that same vigilance on the potatoes and eggplant, too, and I find in my own gardens I am eyeing the plants warily for suspicious spots.

Everyone connected with agriculture — farmers, researchers, and others who have a keen interest in the subject — are paying attention to blight this year, given last year’s destruction and this year’s wet start to the season.  Cornell University — excellent resource for all matters agricultural — has a great fact sheet about blight that will answer many questions.  USpest.org has a regularly updated map showing where late blight conditions are favorable or confirmed.  There’s nothing showing in our area yet, but we know it’s there, waiting.

Here’s hoping we’ll be ready for it.

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All tied up

20 June 2010

First plot of tomatoes, looking healthy and vigorous

The ongoing rains lately have been both blessing and curse: while some crops have reveled in the continuous water supply, others with less lead time in the ground have succumbed to rot, and our work in some areas has been delayed.

Nowhere has both blessing and curse been so evident as in the tomato plots.

The last plot planted, still unmulched because we can’t even walk through it, shows signs of waterlogging, as does the lower part of the second tomato plot (where all the test seedlings reside).  And there’s not a thing we can do until the weather dries up a bit.  With any luck, the past few days have helped us out in that regard.

The first plot of tomatoes, however, looks lush and abundant, as the seedlings there got a sturdy foothold before the rains came.  So this past week, we set up trellises, pruned the seedlings, mulched, and started tying them up.

The first wire stays low, but we'll add more as the tomatoes grow

Over the years, Dave noted, he has switched from tomato cages to this system of metal posts strung with plastic-coated wire.  This line method suits the planting pattern of the tomatoes, which zig-zag back and forth over the drip line, and gives them the space to grow.

For so many reasons, trellising proves beneficial to the tomato crop.  By training the plans upward, we encourage the plants to develop more and larger fruit.  By keeping the plants from sprawling across the ground, we reduce the possibility of fungal diseases or insect damage.  And by training them to this neat line, we will have an easier time walking down the rows to harvest the tomatoes.

Pruned and fit to be tied

Pruned and fit to be tied

The pruning benefits the plants, too, removing the suckers that start to drain the plant’s energy toward the bottom of the plant.  Many of these seedlings already had small fruit developing, but Dave pointed out that these first fruits would not be as good as the later fruits, lacking some of the heirlooms’ prized characteristics.

So, like the Queen of Hearts declaring, “Off with their heads!”, I seized my clippers and quickly fell into a ruthless rhythm of snipping off the leaf stems and fruit along the bottom 6″ or so of stem.  And if any of those seedlings proved tall enough, I reached for a length of twine and tied them to the bottom trellis line.

Over the course of two days, we trellised, pruned, and tied up the first plot and made a good dent on the second plot.  This week, we’ll see what needs to be done on the third plot before we can start trellising there — I may need to replace several seedlings first.

Guess I’m the one who will be tied up this week.

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Growing crazy

12 June 2010

Garden #3, grown glorious!

All the rain we’ve had lately has not, of course, stopped my work at the farm, but it has given me plenty of excuses not to check on any of my gardens.  Those excuses ran out yesterday afternoon, so I visited both garden #1 and garden #3 to do a little work.

Garden #1, closer at hand, needs more work than I was ready to give yesterday, though I did harvest a large bundle of lavender and planted a Black Cherry tomato seedling as well as a few basil seedlings.  I’ll have to get back there some evening to tackle weeds and plant more seeds.

But garden #3, shown above, provides a glorious contrast, thanks to the faithful daily work of my fabulous friend Jen.  She tells me that she likes to begin the work day with her cup of coffee and about an hour of soothing weeding in the garden.  She took the time recently to mulch most of the beds after her husband mowed more of the lawn, and the difference from how the garden looked three weeks ago gave me a frisson of delight when I stepped into it.

So let me give you a tour:

Root crops, 6/11/10

The root crop bed, site of our first harvest, is looking much better with a thick grass mulch and clear lines of vegetables.  We have harvested several radishes and Hakurei turnips (top two rows), so Jen has planted more of each, and those new seeds are springing up already.  The rutabaga (bottom row) are coming on strong, so I have hopes of having a nice little harvest of those for once.  And I think my mother will end up having a bit of her long-desired salsify later this year, too.

Tomatoes, 6/11/10 (with basil and peppers, fringed by marigolds)

Although we’ve had to replace a couple of spindly tomato seedlings, all in all the plants are looking robust and beautiful.  Jen had to find bigger stake-type material in the brush pile out back in order to keep tying up the tomatoes!

Carrots! 6/11/10

At the edge of the tomatoes, a line of carrots bushes out, well nurtured with both grass and coffee-ground mulch.  It will be a while until we harvest these, but I am already salivating!

Broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, 6/11/10

Looking at the patch of brassicas, it’s hard to believe that less than a month ago they were small, spindly seedlings.  Apparently they are very happy in their new home, and the recent rains have provided them the nourishment they need.  The onion crop is looking good, too, and if I get any kind of yield out of this bed, with crops I’ve never had luck with before, I will be thrilled.

Cucumber patch, 6/11/10

Slowly but surely, the cucumbers are coming into their own, with faint fringes of dill joining them.  The butterhead lettuce (bottom row) that had looked so pathetic coming out of the flat has rebounded beautifully — I think we may have to pick some this coming week!

Potatoes, 6/11/10

Potatoes!  Wow!  The first blossoms are ready to open, and it won’t be long now before we start harvesting new potatoes.  I hope to leave some in the ground (especially the Red Golds) for a later, larger crop to keep over the winter, but I am definitely getting hungry for some smaller ones.

Bean and grain patch, needing weeding, 6/11/10

The back section, where I planted dry beans and grains so recently, needs far more work.  Knowing how much work Jen has already put into the garden, I assured her that I would take care of this section, so I spent time weeding in here after wandering around the garden.  If I can get some mulch laid in here, too, that will help, but for now I am determined to keep the ragweed and other invasive plants from taking over.

Flint corn, 6/11/10

With all these weeds, discerning the crops amid all the greenery can prove difficult, but at last I found my flint corn seedlings, sturdy and surprisingly well-protected.  Granted, weeds are hardly the best way to “protect” crops, but given this plot’s tendency toward mud and the number of corn fields I’ve seen under water recently, I wonder if the extra growth — sinking their roots into the soil to keep it from moving more freely — hasn’t helped more than hindered at this point.  Still, this will be the next section to weed, perhaps later this weekend.

Lush greens, 6/11/10

Finally, the greens.  Truly, I think they have benefited from the recent rains more than anything else to grow so thick and lush.  In fact, the broccoli raab, beginning even to bolt, provided me with so much delicious greenery — more than either Jen or I can eat or preserve right now — that I harvested a pound of the very best leaves…

First produce for market: broccoli raab

…washed and packaged it, and took it to the market.  Yes, my first produce to sell myself!  This has been a momentous week!

Now I will have to keep a closer eye on the gardens — and keep working on them more regularly.

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