Life and thoughts from a small-scale organic farm . . . and its farmers

This is a blog that explores ideas around the growing of food and community at Glen Valley Organic Farm.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Farm activities this month

It's already into the final stretch of July and I haven't done much to update the blog lately. Here's a summary of what's happening at this time of the year.

The fields are a constant challenge to stay on top of -- from weeds and irrigating to constant harvesting, we're experiencing busy days. Luckily the rain has held off and that has made weed management a bit better. Each week there's something new to harvest as well as another item that has gone out of season.

Our farmers market stalls are getting quite full and should be packed in another couple of weeks as we get into beans, sweet onions and tomatoes. The berries continue at full pace and we're getting the first few blueberries off of our new planting of bushes.

The freezer is beginning to fill up with frozen rhubarb and berries. Our rhubarb crop hadn't done well in the spring, but has rebounded. The harvest now will be for Aphrodite's Cafe and Pie Shop in Vancouver.

This weekend we will begin transplanting our winter crops -- cauliflower, broccoli, kale, collards and brussels sprouts. Our final seedings of carrots, parsnips, beets and beans are done. We've turned a corner where at least seeding is largely out of the way.

We're had a couple of challenging crops. We haven't had much luck with corn this year -- the sweet corn has had terrible germination and the crows got a lot of what did come up. It was hardly worth trying to weed in the end, and the beds will likely be used for winter crops. The milling corn will hopefully produce better results.

The impact of the Spotted Wing Drosophilia Fruit Fly still remains to be seen. We're finding them in the fields, but haven't had obvious damage to the fruit to make it unmarketable . . . yet. But we're warning customers about the challenges and offering full refunds on any product that people don't like.

After having to put down a goat earlier in the month due to a lymphatic infection we're now preparing to have all the other goats tested for chronic problems that can make them more susceptible to infections. In the meantime, we're milking two does and getting about 1 gallon of milk each day -- enough for drinking and making regular batches of cheese.

In the fields everything is incredible to watch. As the days shorten, the onions and shallots respond by beginning to develop their bulbs. Our flower patches are humming with activity, attracting millions of beneficial insects that are cleaning up aphids on other crops. Garter Snakes are cleaning up slugs and small rodents in the fields. The farm's new hives of honey bees are busy gathering nectar and pollen -- we should have an excellent blackberry harvest with all the pollination taking place.

In personal news, Jeremy has been accepted by Slow Food Vancouver as a delegate to this fall's Terra Madre celebration in Italy. If you're interested in helping sponsor this hard-working farmer's airfare, he would surely be grateful.

And while Jeremy is in Italy we'll be finishing the final markets and preparing for the growth of our family -- a new baby due on or about 11 November. Winter will, no doubt, be as busy or busier than summer, only in different ways.

Here's hoping your summer is going well -- bountiful gardens, great vacations if you do that kind of thing in the summer, and a great dose of sunshine.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog, Chris. We're looking forward to news of the family addition. Loved the pic of Paige & the girls at your tailgate party. Do wish we were all closer - we'd be eating your vegies & your cheese!

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