Happy Friday! What a sunny week it has been. All our crops are really enjoying this strong flow of energy from the sun. Pretty much all of our apple varieties now have color on them. My dad actually ate a Jersey Mac a couple days ago, so you can expect to see those coming in VERY soon. What did I just say?? Apples? Wow, we are halfway through summer already. That reminds me of tomatoes, and boy oh boy are we harvesting a lot of them out of our high tunnel right now. Here is what it looks like at the moment. Maybe a little bigger than the last picture I posted(back in Field Update No. 10, May 25th)?
These tomato plants really took off. You can’t tell from the angle of this picture, but most of the plants are just as tall as I am. Cornell Cooperative Extension has been assisting me with the nutrition program by sending in leaf samples to an agricultural lab for analysis every two weeks. This has helped us keep a fine tuned eye on them, and feed the plants exactly what they need to produce the best fruit possible. Something else that has helped these plants explode with growth is the rootstock we grafted them onto. I talked about this more in depth in Field Update No. 1 and a little in No. 2 as well. There are 15 plants in the tunnel that are the same fruiting variety, but not grafted. This allows us to easily visualize how big of an impact the grafting process has.
Just outside the high tunnel is our ⅓ acre mat we grow our chrysanthemums on (usually simply called mums). The mum mat is completely full right now with mums that are also loving the growing conditions. We have three different plantings of them so that the blooms are spread across the season. Pictured here are mums from the first planting. I wanted to talk briefly about the irrigation we use. The mum foliage has grown so much, you can barely make out the black irrigation line running along the tops of the pots. This irrigation line posed a bit of a problem the first year we set it up, which was only two years ago. Due to it’s black color, it absorbs a lot of heat from sunlight, and actually expands and contracts. When this happens, the little holes that let water out of the line and into the pot move outside of the pot and drip on the ground. This also meant they could not be completely fixed on each end. We figured out that bungees worked the best at keeping the line tight and centered over the pot. Nothing is ever easy! Now on to those strawberry renovation pictures I promised you.
The picture on the left is after the first two steps. And the picture on the right is after step 3, the final step. The strawberries are weed sprayed, and then mowed down pretty hard. It sounds pretty counterintuitive, I know. Mowing off all the foliage you’ve worked so hard to grow? However, it is a sacrifice you have to take now in order to maximize the crop for next year. Once the plants are mowed, I go over them with a 4 foot rototiller. We take teeth out of the middle, and drive over the center of the row so the only plants left behind are nice and organized. I plan on taking pictures every other day, so we can watch as the rows regenerate and green up. I’m excited to see how quick they take back their field!
Ok, that’s all for this week. Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you back here next Friday!