Mid June Newsletter

Riverbend Farm mid June Newsletter                                            June 12, 2014

We have been planting non stop for the past two weeks or more.  At the end of May we set out thousands of lettuce and kale plants. The Birchwood Crop Mob stopped by on the last Saturday of May and kicked off the tomato planting. We got rained out a little early. It seems like the first crop mob always brings rain. It was great to see some old friends and meet some new ones.

Our crew has been planting everything that will fit. We finished up the tomatoes and moved on to the eggplant and peppers. Right after that we started on winter squash and pumpkins. The pumpkins continue today. The last round of lettuce is also set to go in this week.

I have been staying a little ahead of them, working up ground and marking out rows. The weather has not been terribly cooperative with getting things done.  The problem continues to be periodic, very heavy rain.  At the end of April we had a month’s worth of rain (5.5+ inches) in a week.  May 31st and June 1st brought  4+ inches. We have been getting an inch or so every week, which is about perfect, but the big storms saturate the ground and there is no place for the regular rain to go.

The southern quarter of this year’s vegetable field has been too wet to drive on, much less work.  The road over to the land I have rented from our neighbor Cathy has been under water for about six weeks. At this point it is above water, but about half of it is washed out.  The ground over there is heavier and it dries out slower than our land.  It might be possible to plant late cabbages over there, but at this point I am not counting on it.

All this has put us in a bind for tillable acres. I figure that we are short about 1/3 of the land I was planning on planting. The only ground that is accessible is part of the field that was in oats and peas last year. It was supposed to get a second soil building crop of sorghum sudan grass this year, but I have decided to plow some of it and start planting there. It feels a little like eating our seed corn,  but there are not any other good options, especially if we get 2-3 inches of rain in the next week.

With spending all of our time on planting we had gotten behind on weeding. A crew of about 20 people from Common Roots came by on Tuesday and helped us get caught up on cultivation.  They hoed all the onions, most of the peas, and about half of the potatoes.  It was great. And we got a break from planting.

Monday June 16

We picked up another 2½ inches of rain over the weekend. We did not need that much, but it seems to have come down slow enough or with enough breaks that we did not get any severe erosion. Once it dries up a little I’ll be able to see if the soil got packed from the heavy rain.

We did get all the pumpkins, zucchini, and cucumbers planted. Noelle was excited to see that the little fruit behind the female flowers on the green and yellow zucchini that she had hand pollinated last year were indeed green and yellow. In theory, we (she) can grow seed for all the vine crops.  Cucumbers are next.

Dave Rieder stopped over Friday afternoon to fix a broken shingle on the barn and helped Andrew, Noelle, and Zach set out all the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant that we will be selecting  seed from this fall.

Our CSA will start up this week. We will be dropping off the first CSA shares on Wednesday. I have sent out a separate mailing to our members to verify their choice of pick up location. If you are one of them and have not seen that message, please let me know.