By Zannah Porter, Farm Manager
|A Song Sparrow's nest in the shelter of our squash field|
The beginning of August marks a shift on the farm. The blistering days of July are behind us. The race to get the tomatoes twined and the fall brassica crop transplanted is over. Now we just have a few more crops to get in the ground, a lettuce planting here, a bed of scallions there. We are also direct seeding fall root crops, like purple top turnips and watermelon radishes. These crops make me think of frosty mornings. It is hard to believe, but that weather will be upon us soon enough.
It has been a week of saying goodbye. It's time to say goodbye to our first planting of summer squash, zucchini, and cucumbers. They were quite prolific at their peek but they are now tired and harboring diseases like powdery mildew. Worry not! We have two more planting successions to provide these summer favorites in the CSA for several more weeks. We will soon be in the rhythm of seemingly endless tomato, melon, eggplant, and pepper harvests.
We finally received a reprieve from the lack of summer rain. A few storms have dumped several inches of rain on our various fields. One storm caught the crew off guard in our fields at the Lyman Estate. They were quickly standing in shin-deep water as it gushed down the aisles. That day we received 3 inches of rain in the span of about 30 minutes! Fortunately, we have sandy loam soil which drains well. Our crops did not stay submerged for long. We have had steady enough rain since then and have not needed to irrigate. The plants (vegetables and weeds) are still growing at a hurried pace. I know that the plants will start slowing down. It is subtle at first. Not as many passes with the tractor-mounted cultivators are needed to keep the beds from being swallowed up by weeds.
Our fields will soon be ready to be seeded in fall crops or cover crops. Cover crops will hold the soil in place, also adding organic matter and nutrients for next year's crops. The seed has been ordered and the tractor-mounted cone spreader is being fixed so that as we turn in summer crops we will sow our fields with a blanket of oats and peas or rye and vetch to keep the soil snug over the winter.
I find it hard to believe that we are already in the full swing of the season. We may have more soupy hot August days ahead of us, but we are over the hump, harvesting our way towards fall.