Friday Field Update No. 16

Happy Friday and happy rain! This summer has been a completely different season than last year. I’m sure most of you remember the absurdly dry and overly warm summer we had in 2016. That certainly was not good broccoli growing weather, even for the newer varieties we have that are more heat tolerant. However, this year has been great for growing broccoli so far. We haven’t had to irrigate the field once! And the temperature hasn’t been above 90ºF for very long at all. There has been rain about once a week on average, and the broccoli along with most other crops are loving it. If there was too much rain, it could cause infections in the roots of many plants from being so wet and cold. As long as we continue doing a good job keeping our vegetables protected from diseases that grow on the leaves in wet weather, we should be in great shape.

  Honey bee doing its thing on a sweet corn tassel.  

Honey bee doing its thing on a sweet corn tassel.  

One of the crops that we usually have to spend a lot of time irrigating is sweet corn. This steady rain has kept the corn coming along beautifully! In this picture a honey bee is collecting pollen from the male flower parts of the sweet corn. Yes, sweet corn flowers too! The parts you can see hanging down from the tassel are the anthers which produce pollen, lots of pollen. This is why I believe the bees were going crazy for it. July and August is about the time of year(called a dearth) when there are very few flowers producing a lot of nectar or pollen for the bees. Both of these are essential for the bees to grow healthy larvae. They reduce the nectar down to honey, and with special glands turn the pollen into “bee bread,” which is absolutely loaded with nutrients. A lot of humans actually eat bee-collected pollen for it’s health benefits. Back to the corn… It has separate male and female flowers just like pickles do. The female flower is actually the ear of corn when it emerges from the stalk and sprouts it’s silk. The pollen is usually just blown by the wind from the tassel down to the silk in order to pollinate each kernel. And for every kernel there is a strand of silk attached. That’s why when you see some bumpy ears of corn, and there are kernels missing, it means the ear wasn’t properly pollinated. Walking through the fields like this is when you can find real treasures on our farm, and all along Ridge Road as well.

FullSizeRender.jpg

This is a picture of the first complete arrowhead(technically probably a spearhead, it is a little large for an arrow I think) I have found myself! It is 2 ¼” long, which is pretty hefty. A few days ago I was just driving the tractor along the zucchini, happened to look down, and there it was. I actually got shivers when I jumped down and held it in my hand for the first time, trying to believe what my eyes were seeing. My dad informed me it is one of the largest that has been found on our farm in one piece. A lot of times you can find broken off tips or arrowheads with corners missing. I count myself extremely fortunate to have found this piece. One of our employees consistently finds these arrowheads, and spends a lot of time walking around our farm looking. The best time to look is after a rain in the spring, when the ground has just been plowed. The rain washes away a lot of loose, small dirt particles and leaves larger rocks exposed on the surface. Because of the large amounts of arrowheads we find, we think at one time, centuries ago, there must have been a campsite on our property. To think how much effort was put into creating this little piece of ancient technology, and how much history it holds blows me away. I will not soon forget the day I found this beautiful piece of native american history.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Quick update on the babies! They’re not quite babies anymore! If you can make it out there is a killdeer adolescent in the middle, right of this picture. I apologize for the poor quality, but these little guys can really run! As you can see, they are doing extremely well and will probably start flying any day now.

That’s all for this week, thank you so much for reading! I will see you here next Friday!