Happy Friday and happy optimism to you all! Mostly to me! That’s the type of spirit I try to maintain at least. Even with all this rain… yeah it isn’t easy. On the literal bright side, I have seen a personal record amount of rainbows this year. With all these spotty clouds, there is plenty of time to let the sun shine through and create beauties like this:
Another bright side is that the weather has been much cooler than normal. This makes for great harvesting weather. We are not sweating quite as many buckets as usual. Especially compared to last year! There is also a lot less pressure on us to keep everything irrigated. This one is pretty obvious, but I wanted to point it out! It makes a HUGE difference to our costs. However, in situations like our chrysanthemums, which are all outside on the “mum mat,” we may need to irrigate even if the pots are wet. The mums may be getting plenty of water from the sky, but this water has no food for them. We have to make sure they are getting the amounts of fertilizer necessary to grow a proper mum. Wait...is that a blossom! Oh my goodness, they are blooming already!
It’s August 18th, and the mums are blooming… I think this is the normal time of year, but it feels early to me! Fall is so close, it’s unbelievable. Technically, we still have a little over a month until the first day of Autumn, but we are harvesting apples right now too! Jersey Macs are our first variety of the year. They are not the most crunchy apple, but they have plenty of flavor, and are super juicy.
Another crop in blossom now is our cover crop of buckwheat! I haven’t gotten a whiff of this field yet, but trust me… you know it when you smell it. Don’t let it’s beauty deceive you, buckwheat is a foul smelling flower. Picture a washcloth that has sat on your counter for maybe a week or two. This may not be the best way to go about trying to sell the honey we are making from the plants, but it’s the truth! Surprisingly, the honey tastes much better than the flowers smell. We are partnering with our neighborhood beekeeper, Bob’s Bees to make this thick, extra dark and delicious honey. He has four of his hives sitting not very far away from the buckwheat field. With a bloom as thick as this, you can be sure those bees are all over the field, sucking up every last drop of delectable nectar.
The second cover crop we seeded so far is called tillage or forage radish. It is very closely related to the daikon radish, and looks almost identical. They grow as thick as three to five inches in diameter, and can reach three to four feet deep in the ground. They are called tillage radishes because they do some serious “tilling” for you. The deep roots break through compacted layers in the soil that the roots of our crops would not be able to. The texture difference of the ground in the spring is very noticeable and much more friendly to work with. The radishes are killed from cold temperatures in the winter, and the only thing left in the spring is a shriveled radish corpse draped in a gaping hole. That reminds me of another great benefit of these radishes: the huge holes help drain the snowmelt in the late winter/early spring, drying up the fields much quicker. The sooner the fields dry up, the sooner we can get our peas planted!
Ok, that's all for this week. Thank you so much for reading and see you back here next week!