Central to the work on the farm this week has been picking up the hay, cut by Dan and raked by Leo, and taking it directly to the fields to mulch. We have about 140 beds in our farm fields, and our goal is to mulch five beds a day until they are all done. Right now, we’re ahead.
Mulch has a number of benefits. It helps retain moisture – especially important now, in this particularly dry early summer. Under the cover that it provides, the surface of the soil stays soft. Earthworms, who avoid the sun, work happily beneath it. The mulch material provides food for microbes. Uncovered soil loses carbon into the atmosphere, while mulches helps build up carbon in the soil. Mulched, the plants grow much more luxuriously, which Julie has observed over time, sometimes mulching some beds and leaving others purposefully unmulched, to compare the two. The difference, she says, is “nearly magical”.
Another important development of the week has been the removal of one of the tarps from our new growing area in the pond field garden. The tarp was put down on April 15th to smother the heavy sod, with the goal increasing our production area to meet demand and eventually producing a lot more crops for fall and winter. Now, almost two months later, the sod is dead and the field ready to be prepared for planting. The field was ripped and then sprayed with Rejuvenate, which will further break down all of the wonderful grass roots that are dead but providing lots of organic matter. The crew removed the large rocks from the field, prepared the beds and planted carrots, beets and green beans. Overall, this new area will add about 15 new beds to our growing area. Julie says that she is “really looking forward to how the new growing area will pan out”.
Other field accomplishments this week include:
- Hoop houses turned over from spring crops and melons planted and some mulched
- Carrots all weeded and muched
- 3 beds of beets thinned and mulched
- 3 corn beds weeded and mulched
- 3 of our 7 leek and onion beds weeded and mulched
- potatoes completely hilled all mulched – 16 beds!
- tomatillos planted
- successions of beans, carrots and beets planted
- sweet potato slips that we purchased after the others froze off planted
- more kale planted – they are starting to grow!
- lots more lettuce seedlings planted.
In staff news, this week we welcomed Jarod, who Julie says “called up wanting to discuss the meaning of life”. He came this week and will be staying through next week, camping in the luxury orchard tent. Julie is feeling great about the leadership on the farm. Usually, the time before the solstice Julie finds herself “often hanging my head with all the work that needs to be done”, but this year’s team is really pulling together and making great strides. We are always open to visitors and volunteers – please get in touch if you’d like to come out for a day of work and learning on the farm!
If you’re interested in enjoying our chicken this season, the time to pre-order is now! Also available for pre-order: old laying hens for stew and stock, (ready in late October) Fresh turkeys for Thanksgiving, chicken feet, lard and pork from Tamworth pigs. Read more about our meat and pre-order here.