Planting continues

We have now got tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, green beans, yard long beans, summer squash, zucchini, luffa gourds, pattypan squash, cucumbers, lettuce, potatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, sunflowers, and some winter squash planted. We still need to plant dry beans and some more winter squash, and we will be done with the main season planting. Late, but hopefully not too late, if we get a reasonable autumn. We will be succession planting green beans, summer squash, cucumbers, and lettuce all summer. Cool weather crops will be planted in late summer.

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Planting has begun!

Over the last few meetings, we got a lot done! We rented a rototiller, and broke up 1500 square feet, addition to the 1500 square feet of sheet mulch beds we already prepared.  We will plant into this area immediately, and mulch it latter. This will speed planting, since mulch supplies for our sheet mulching have been hard to get recently.
On Saturday, lots of members came out and planted 250 tomato plants. There are still some more to plant, but the biggest ones, which urgently needed to get into the ground, have all been planted. We prepared a lot of planting areas, and are almost done with the fencing project. We are digging big holes in unprepared grassy areas and filling them with manure. We will plant vining winter squash in these and let them help smother the weeds.
Next week our squash, melons, cucumbers, beans, lettuce, peppers, and eggplant will be planted. Because we got off to a slow start, we are waiting till late Summer to plant cool weather crops, except for lettuce. We have some heat tolerant strains of lettuce which we will be trying out.

Work day notes

I have fallen behind in posting updates about the progress on the farm. In the last few meetings we have: reorganized what is left of our brush piles after renting a chipper, turned our compost pile, laid out quite a few beds, planted some potatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, and peas, got rocks and concrete laid to outline some of the beds, moved some of the tomato transplants out to the greenhouse,  repaired two of the wheelbarrows, mowed parts of the field, done a lot of cleanup, set stakes to protect the new trees from pedestrians and vehicles, dug up some concrete, planted lemon balm around broken concrete in the irrigation ditch (to help stabilize it), continued work on the fencing, added a second automatic vent to our greenhouse, (with only one, the greenhouse overheated severely,) and continued the work of using up our many piles of mulch, leaves, and manure.
Our greenhouse survived the late snows earlier this week, and the tomato transplants inside are all safe. However, one of the heated frames at my house, which still held over two hundred tomato plants, malfunctioned, and we have lost over a hundred of them. Depending on what members want to do, we may buy replacements, or do without.
Then new vent opener is at the bottom of the greenhouse, on the opposite side from the existing one, to create a chimney effect.
To plant potatoes, we laid out cardboard, and built sheet mulch beds in the usual way. But we included potatoes in the bottom layers. As they grow, we will be adding more mulch, instead of trenching and hilling. We used some actual seed potatoes, (which are less likely to contain disease organisms that can kill or stunt the crop) but the price was too high, so most of them are just organic potatoes from the store. After much searching online, it seemed that most people can get away with doing this. Also, a disease can still show up in other ways, even with certified seed potatoes. A disease showing up is much less of a disaster for us then for a commercial farmer, who is depending on potatoes.

Rogation day

One of the priests from our parish come out to lead the Rogation day prayers. The Rogation days are an ancient custom,  held to call down God’s blessing on the crops, and to ask him to ward off disasters of all sorts.  We processed around the field chanting the Litany of the Saints, and Father sprinkled the land with holy water.

We pray that God will protect our farm against the Hail storms which are all too common here in Colorado, and that we have an abundant harvest.

Trees planting: notes from the work day, April 23rd

We got our trees planted today! The weather cooperated, with a nice even cloud cover. We planted three standard pears (Moonglow, Stark Honeysweet, and Starking Delicious), five semi-dwarf apples (Candycrisp, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Enterprise, Goldrush, and Co-op 31 Winecrisp, ) two apricots, one standard and one dwarf (Harglow and Stark SweetHeart), two semi-dwarf plums (Stanley Prune and Green Gauge), A standard nectarine (Stark SunGlo), and a standard peach (Redhaven.) So with the addition of a five in one apple and a five in one plum planted earlier, there are now 16 fruit trees on the property. We will probably be planting two cherry trees as well. We bought bare root trees, which tend to have better root systems, and soaked them in kelp emulsion, which contains growth hormones and trace minerals. We did not use any fertilizer, which tends to spur trees into rapid growth before their root systems can handle it. We added inoculant to start the growth of mycorrhiza, beneficial fungi which grow into the roots of trees. Most trees have fungal allies of this sort, and need them for survival. The fungi spread over wide areas and act as a vast transport network, joining trees and other plants together into one functioning root system. This greatly enhances a new tree’s ability to take up water and nutrients, especially phosphorus.

 

Notes from the Work day, April 16th

Our fruit trees have arrived! Three standard pears, five semi-dwarf apples, a standard apricot, a dwarf apricot, a semi-dwarf nectarine, three semi-dwarf plums, and a semi-dwarf peach. We will probably buy some cherries to add to this collection. We are also looking into trees for the wetter areas of the property, possibly including pawpaws, hawthorn, and serviceberry. The trees will be planted at the next work day, Wednesday the 23rd.

At this meeting we planted 200 snap peas in our sheet mulch beds. We will be planting more in future work days. At a member’s house we have started 500 tomato plants.

We finished cutting up a tree felled at the last work day.

Notes from the work day April 2nd

At this work day, we got a new compost pile started, and cleared an area to start building permanent compost bins out of the wire we have salvaged from the fence. We began lining our keyhole beds with stones to define them, and building mini terraces across the slope with the larger rocks and concrete chunks we have dug up. These will stop the sheet mulch beds from gradually migrating downhill. We discussed renting a pole chain saw and large chipper to turn unwanted tree limbs into mulch.

Notes from the Work Day, March 29th

At this meeting we started rebuilding our compost pile for the spring. We got more logs and branches out of the ditch, and more tree trimming done. Half the fence along the North side of the property is now clear of the old wire and debris, and the posts have been dug out and straightened, ready for the new wire. Our logo has been painted on our new sign, so now we just have to set a post and get a hanger for it. We set dates for upcoming projects, and discussed tree planting, fence repairs, bed edging, compost bins, and other topics. A load of deciduous tree mulch was delivered, and another of evergreen mulch. We will be using the evergreen mulch immediately for paths, and mixing the deciduous tree mulch together with manure to create a hot compost pile, since this will kill any borers present in the chips (if any.)

Notes from the Work day, Wednesday March 22nd

At this meeting, we planted cabbage, kale, broccoli, and Swiss chard in our greenhouse, under row cover material. We formed the sheet mulch bed into a sort of basin, to retain water and keep seeds from washing out. Hopefully we will be transplanting them into the main bed in mid april.

We also took down a lot of the old fencing and straightened out the posts, so that they would be ready to receive the new wire mesh we will be installing. We will be waiting to put up the new wire until we have finished removing some trees, so that falling limbs will not crush the fence.