This week I will write a relatively short blog post because I’m focusing on getting ready for the 2nd part of my field study in North Carolina– making contacts and tooling up my bike, etc.
Weeks 14 & 15 were filled with the usual sheep moving, harvesting, CSA drops, and Belfast markets, but they were also filled with lots of weeding and crazy weather! During week 14, there were afternoon thundershowers nearly every day, so an entire field of 2nd cut hay that Ken mowed was rained on and had to be demoted to mulch hay. It took us a week to get it baled and bring it inside, but we finally did it. A few days ago, Ken mowed the fields behind the house and the forecast shows plenty of warm weather for bringing it in. Last Wednesday night (August 13th), there was a big storm that brought 4 inches of rain over the course of an hour or two. There were three rows in Field 1 that had just recently been hilled up and quite a bit of beautiful sandy loam was eroded away. Ken said that in the future, they won’t use ridge tillage in Field 1 because it is so sandy and only lends to erosion and runoff. On the flipside, Field 2 is so wet that even ridge tillage doesn’t help the soil drain quickly enough. After this season, it will be sowed to perennial pasture grasses.
This Tuesday, I staffed the Munjoy Park CSA dropoff in Portland and got to meet the other half of the CSA members. Most were young, busy families who tried to involve their kids in the pickup, whether that meant sharing fresh carrots for a snack or letting a 2 year old chose which items to grab. There were many people walking through the park who stopped to ask me about what was going on, some of whom were familiar with CSAs, but many who weren’t.
We got a lot of weeding done over the past 2 weeks, and the 2nd rounds of many crops are pleasantly weed-free: the beets, green beans, carrots, cukes, and summer squash will be bountiful and easy to harvest compared with the first round. We also got the rest of the garlic out of the ground and hanging upstairs to dry.
This past Friday and Saturday, we used the one horse cultivator with Jewel and cultivated the new beets and all of the winter squash (along with the other things in Field 2, like fennel, lettuce, and summer squash). On Saturday, I spread clover and rye grass seed over the winter squash so that it will grow up in between them and then cover the field once the squash dies back.
After Week 14, Brian left to go back to school, so we are down one apprentice! Next week I am taking my week off, and I will return to the work force on September 1st.