Sooooo, if I made any promises about summer being here in a previous weekly update please forgive me – I was obviously nuts. This bout of cooler weather will definitely slow down some crops in the ground, but when it passes the ground moisture combined with the heat will cause an explosion of growth. So if you think you’ve caught upon your weeding, think again!

~Chris Thoreau, Farm School Coordinator

Updates From the Field

The fields are moving along, lots of work parties and gettin’ er done. This time of year is all about plugging away and opening things up.  The brassicas that have been planted look great!


Field Highlights:

  • Slugs slugs slugs….be faster than the slugs…sounds easier than it is…one step ahead always
  • Wood bugs eating the tomatoes in the boxes in the greenhouse, more planting needed – one way to combat pests is to just keep your transplants big and healthy, well watered and have more on hand so you can keep replanting..eventually you win, safety factor 30% is good for this
  • i_2013052411140196East field is going to get mowed and plowed this week. The decision to bring someone in to do this was two fold, first off, there is no tractor at the farm. Secondly, the buttercup and grass was so well rooted which makes plowing necessary. Rototilling would just spread the buttercup.
  • Lettuce is having a hard time germinating in the greenhouse…like literally no germ… Usually if there is such poor germination, I call the seed company. Most folks don’t ever do this, as they blame themselves, but to have such poor germ is unusual, especially with our team of green thumbs!
  • We find that the first early plantings in the field generally have low germ, erratic spring weather, watering, temp fluctuations etc. When the spinach that Sasha seeded in field 2 didn’t have great germ, instead of pulling the bed, she reseeded in the areas that didn’t have good germ. The new seeds are coming along great and will fill out with the first planting. You have to watch and be on this quickly to catch the timing right on this, watch for germ. As soon as you notice your have spotty germ, plant in the empty spaces
  • Garlic looks like it could get another fish fertilization. Note – do not fish fert after the end of May. After this point in time, the plant needs to root down and focus on bulbing out. Ideally, one fish ferts or side dresses in February and again in April
  • The favas look like they have some sort of rust, which beans can get. Sasha was noticing that they are quite tightly planted which would affect airflow and the weather is so hot and wet, making it great conditions for fungal rust. One could thin the favas for more airflow and/or spray them with a baking soda spray (anti fungal) or any other herbal fungal or compost tea. Check it out to see if you think it’s a rust. Beans can get a blight, but I’m not sure it looked like blight. This is the fun thing about farming, and from what I’ve heard there is an app for this kind of farm detective work :)
  • Many of the pathways in all of the plots are grass grass. The 5 year plan is to get a good perennial clover in there. For this year, I do think another year of black plastic on the grass to knock it back is necessary. It is a necessary evil on an area that has so much grass. The hope is to really knock it back and then end up either getting a perennial clover in there, or leave them open and keep rototilling the paths.

This week we are going to weed, compost, till and PLANT POTATOES in multiple areas. Get ready. If you’ve ever tree planted you will LOVE potato planting, even if you hated tree planting! I have a few jobs that are my favourite and planting potatoes is one of them!


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