If you are a farmer or gardener, and you are like me, time is feeling a bit tight right now. And then there is that exhaustion that can come on around 12 hours into your day, especially on a heavy laboring day, of which there are many right now. One day this week I woke up at 1:11am and the gears started turning. Which of the massive number of tasks should I turn to first. At around 2:30 I gave up and just got up. I came down to my desk and noticed the stapler that I had not yet refilled as it seemed like there wasn’t enough time (I had been running over and borrowing Jack’s instead). But that morning, I decided to refill the stapler. It took all of 1 ½ minutes, and all of a sudden, a calm spread over me and I was able to sit down and make a practical list for the day’s events. Later that day after work, I took a re-energizing nap and completed the reset.
I brand this time of year the “Solstice Speed Up.” We are driven by the sun if we are farmers, and it is going to get more intense up until June 21. I am over here holding space for all of you who are in this period with me. Let’s enjoy the ride knowing that we are in it together. There is so much in our natural world right now to be grateful for as the spring proceeds into summer.
Luckily, there is always time for lunch!
Expressing Gratitude this Week
Okay, I have been grateful to this guy before, but he deserves special mention this week. Jonathan was full-time last year and moved to 3 days a week this year to look for more lucrative work to keep the bills paid at home. Recently he downsized to 2 days per week here as he just can’t afford to work 3 days and meet his family’s fiscal needs. However, Jonathan’s vocational heart is here and each downsizing has been painful. I am grateful to Jonathan for the 100% quality that he puts into every aspect of his work. I am also grateful for his kind and thoughtful approach to life and other humans. And his smile. And we are hopeful that he will be able to figure out the finances and return to more time with us soon.
Jonathan and Clare discussing how best to utilize the bale chopper.
And I am also grateful for Tim Fullen. He arrived as a working shareholder less than two months ago, but when I called him Friday afternoon to offer him a paid day of work, he asked if he could start today, at 6:30 – to take over some of the foliar spraying that Jonathan has managed! Welcome Tim, and we both hope to add more time for him in the future.
Clare and Tim making rows for hakurei turnips back on April 14
Join the 2023 Summer and Fall CSA
We have 132 shareholders signed up for 2023 with 8 days left until the start of the CSA on Tuesday, May 30. Only 18 shares are left!
When you join the MHOF CSA you will become connected to the farming year, week after week, and learn vicariously all the details of what goes into producing high quality food. You will learn about seasonality and what it means to truly eat “in season.”
Reason #10 to join the CSA, eating seasonally
Shareholders, look for an email from us this week with all the details you will need to know to successfully pick up your share next week. The first day of the CSA will be moved to Tuesday, May 30 due to the holiday. Thus, pickups on the first week will be Tuesday (5/30), Wednesday, 5(31) and Friday, 6/2). On the week of June 5, the schedule will return to normal – Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
Cheap Health Tip
Maria Thun Biodynamic Almanac 2023 – You can buy this for $9.07 on Amazon
This past week I was following Maria Thun’s Calendar very closely. There was no rain in the forecast, yet we had lots of planting to do. To me it seems almost magical that that Maria and her successors (she is now passed) have been able to understand the movement of the heavens so well as to predict best days to manage crops by leaf, root, flower and fruit. Practically, for us, is that we do leaf things on leaf days. So, Monday we planted 4000 leeks. It was sunny, if you remember, but it was also cool and there was palpable moisture in the air. On Thursday we planted green beans. That was a sunny and hot day, and by George, green beans are a “fruit”. As we were planting seeds, there was no concern over small seedlings being fried by excessive sun. Add this tip to what Eliot Coleman would call “1%ers”
Farm Videos From Last Week
We are in the process of trying to sign up 1,000 subscribers to our YouTube channel. With that in hand, and with 4,000 hours of viewing, we can then apply to start monetizing our site, which could become a viable income stream for the farm. Right now, we’re at 479 subscribers. Subscribe here. We are in a temporary lull with You Tube production as we arrange for software purchase.
Putting up bean trellises
Early season potato drench
Mulching the strawberries
Foliar and Drench Recipes this Week
We have over 50 recipes that we use for our foliar and soil drench program for fertility management. Here are a couple that we initiated this week. If you would like a copy of our recipes and the calendar for their use, email me and I will send the documents to you. Fertility on the farm has become so enhanced over the past few years from adding this program to our management strategies, that I can’t help but want to share it with you. Products available through Advancing EcoAgriculture – https://www.advancingecoag.com/
We made up this one below in a quart jar and use 1 cup in a 2 gallon watering can.
Cucumber: Seedling Foliar
Number of Apps: 4
Start Date: 5/2
Interval: twice weekly
- 2 oz Rejuvenate
- 2 oz SeaStim
- 2 oz Forage Foliar Blend
- 1 oz SeaShield
- 1 oz HoloCal
- 0.5 oz SeaCrop
- 1 t. MycoGenesis (Use in at least two flat soakings, not necessary every time. Add at moment of use)
This recipe below we make up in a 2 ½ gallon jug and mix 1 quart into our 4 gallon back pack sprayer, add 1 quart of our homemade lactobacillus brew and top off with water. Always add the biology (spectrum and mycogenesis) at the point of filling the tank.
Green Bean Fertigation
Number of Apps: 4
Start Date: 5/23
Interval: 2 weeks
- 2 Quart HoloCal
- 2 Quart Accelerate
- 2 Quarts HoloK
- 1 Quart ReBound Manganese
- 1 Quart Rejuvenate
- 1 Quart SeaStim
- 1 Pint SeaCrop
- 1 Pint ReBound Molybdenum
- 1 T Spectrum and MycoGenesis alternating
Resources from the Outside World
Dr. James Chestnut part 2 – The Logical Approach to Optimal Health – https://theenergyblueprint.com/dr-james-chestnut-part-2/?inf_contact_key=417bfc4bb566cb7af5b89a18ad094be40c973b8936282bcfa17ad90af1aa6cc5
Working Shareholders Always Welcome
Marcia had a great first week – the poor thing hit the ground running and never stopped, but seemed to be having a good time of it. We can still add some more folks who are looking forward to busting it out for 4 hours straight in exchange for good food, a large CSA share and great company, not to mention “free exercise.”
Marcia planting leeks
Ways to Donate to MHSC
Many Hands Sustainability Center – our farm non-profit
Worcester Community Fridges
Thank you to John and Chris Wilson, Mary DeBlois and Amy Cooper for very generous donations this week! We moved very close to our goal and only need $1300 more to provide 14 summer and 14 fall shares to the Worcester Community Fridges.
If you would like to donate for shares you can make a check out to the Many Hands Sustainability Center and send to 411 Sheldon Road, Bare, MA 01005 or make a donation on line here – https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=E54BUH3JJRZ74
Thanks in advance for your generosity.
No Farm Sales of Vegetables and we approach the beginning of the CSA. Sorry
Workshops at MHOF
MHOF vegetable production intensive– June 10; 10-3 with pot luck lunch
$50-$100, Clare and Julie to lead; guest presenter John Duke will talk to us about microscopy and we will be looking at soil samples. This one will be jam packed with info for farmers and growers of all sizes!
Clare and I are very enthusiastic about this workshop where we will endeavor to teach you everything you can learn from us at this time of the year. Come spend the day working with us, learning our unique management methods.
Other Upcoming Workshops
- The Permaculture Farm and Agroforestry hedgerows – June 24; 10-3 with pot luck lunch: $50-$100, Jono Neiger to lead
Cooking with your CSA share – July 22; Clare and Julie to do this one. -noon with complimentary lunch; $25-$75
Food preservation– September 16, Julie, Clare and Jack; 10-2 with pot luck; $50-$100
With a super hot day on Tuesday followed by 27 degrees Wednesday night into Thursday morning, it was a roller coaster ride weatherwise. Frost damage was interesting. It took out our hardy kiwi foliage and killed all the emerging leaves on the mulberry tree. We lost some brassica seedlings that I neglected to cover. I saw new meteorological terms noted this week – yellow flag day and red flag day, to define the wind situation.
Meanwhile, we did plant those 4000 leeks, sprayed so many different sprays on all of our trees, bushes and vegetables, finished up the two mobile chicken tractors, put up bean trellises and planted them, planted radishes, celery, scorzonera and parsnips. We filled in holes in the kale and collard beds, and did some weeding of lettuce, chard, cilantro, radishes and turnips, took down the cat shit guards on the deck and planted the flower boxes. We mulched the strawberries with leaves and a topping of hay to hold them down in the wind. Work was started on deconstructing the chicken house.
We are readying to plant many of the warm weather crops this week, get those blueberries mulched, finish chipping the fruit trees, and start the hay making process. Our truck will be back and we will go at the chopping of hay and getting it down as mulch.
Paula in the leaves
Matt, Leslie and Julie doing bed prep for celery
Stu and Jonathan starting the chicken house deconstruction