Early October

Riverbend Farm Newsletter                                     October 5, 2014

It has been chilly the past few days, but weren’t the last two weeks just spectacular ? Weather like that is why people live here. Friday was rainy and raw, but since the wind has died down it has not been too bad, a lot like October.

The forecast is for temperatures to be a little below average for the next few days, a reminder that winter is coming and it is time to get busy cutting wood.  It has been nice to have a fire in the woodstove for the past few days.  The growing season is obviously coming to an end.

Last weekend about 15 people showed up for the final crop mob of the season and harvested a couple  wagon loads of winter squash and pumpkins. We unloaded the wagons in the greenhouse before lunch.  It was very warm which made working outside pretty enjoyable.

After lunch (provided by the Birchwood, thanks Tracy) everybody was beat and went home. Ginger and Mark made it as far as the gas station, turned around and came back.  They thought there was just too much squash lying on the ground and offered to help pick it up. We filled another wagon with pumpkins and then called it a day.

We harvested the rest of the winter squash on Wednesday. With a little careful stacking it all fit in the greenhouse. It was good to get it out of the field. The forecast had dire predictions for lows in the high 20s to very low 30s for this weekend. If the temperature drop below 28º squash in the field would be  damaged.  As it turned out it has not been as cold as predicted, but it was not worth taking the chance.

On Friday the forecast was still calling for a freeze so the crew ( Zach was back for a few days between jobs) harvested peppers and eggplant  to keep them from being ruined by the expected freeze.  I hear it was a miserable morning, rainy, windy, and cold. We have only had frost the past few nights (lows up by the house around 32º) but it would have been enough to ruin the peppers that were exposed to the sky.

In the afternoon we pulled up all the tomato stakes.  It was much easier pulling them out than putting them in. Yesterday afternoon I mowed all the tomato vines and weeds in the winter squash.

I had an odd mechanical failure while mowing. The tractor quit, just like it had been shut off. That usually indicated an electrical problem. It turns out that the spring for the ignition points snapped.  The spring is the electrical connection between the coil and ground. No ground = no collapsing magnetic field = no spark.  Replacing the moving half of the points fixed the problem and the tractor fired right up.

Today I disked the winter squash and the heirlooms. Andrew had broadcast rye and vetch over the tomatoes and squash a couple weeks ago. Only the rye in the mulched tomatoes has come up yet.  In the unmulched tomatoes and squash the seed is mostly just lying there.  Disking those areas will get the overseeded rye into the soil and get it to sprout.

The neighbor has been hauling in loads of composted cow manure from the SMSC Compost facility. It looks and smells like black dirt. The compost will be spread in the field that should have been in the second green manure phase this year. It doesn’t completely replace the green manure, but it certainly helps.  We will start spreading it this week and keep seeding cover crops.

The days are getting short and winter is coming.

Don’t forget about our fall potluck on this Saturday October 11th. We will gather around 2 and plan on eating about 4:30-5:00.  We are planning to do pumpkin carving and a hay ride.  We’ll have cider available, but if you want something else to drink  feel free to bring it.