Monday, May 30, 2011

Hotter'n a pig...

My mother always had a saying when it was hot out... 
"It's hotter'n a pig in a wool suit doing the Lambada". 
Well, let me tell you, it's HOT out right now. Summer has hit and hit hard. And the pigs feel it too.
I don't know about dance moves... but they seem to be into waterobics!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

seed potatoes

For every one potato in a sack, there are 2-5 seeds. The trick is to cut the nobby tuber so that each new chunk has at least one eye. This eye becomes a sprout, growing into a potato plant, sending out more roots, turning into more potatoes. If you are lucky (it's a good weather year, you hill them well, there is little pest/weed pressure, and you got a good variety) 1# of planted potato seed can yield 10# of new potatoes!
Last week the garden class helped to cut down about 85# of seed, to be planted today. I LOVE that the seed company sent our certified organic seed in a recycled box: would you like fries with that?!?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Black Magic

Although I have never used it myself, many farmers rely on plastic 'mulch' to suppress weeds, keep the soil warm, or both. The thing is, when you lay the stuff down, you have to leave almost a whole bed's width empty on either side, taking up valuable growing real estate - not to mention you are putting petrochemicals on bare earth.
I am pretty strongly against the stuff.... however, when I pulled up some plastic that was over-wintered (Jenny helped!) I realized that is really does suppress weeds.
Then a thought came to mind (Jenny helped!): Why not plant in the beds that were covered last season, and cover the 'open' beds - killing the weeds that grew last year.
With a no-till practice, I won't be summoning up dormant seed on the clean beds; and after this season - with the weedy beds under plastic - there will potentially be NO WEEDS in the entire plot. At least that's the experiment. What's more, since winter squash take up so much room, I would be planting them every-other bed anyway, this is the perfect spot for this trial... 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tractor work

Pat has continued to be a huge help on the farm.

A few weeks ago he spent an ENTIRE day working in "the back 40" organizing the compost piles:

This past week there was more.
Why the rain coat? Not because of the weather... but because of the black flies! A new enemy of ours, we don't have these things 'down south', biting gnats are the WORST! One bit me the other day smack in the middle of my forehead! People keep telling us that after a season we will be 'immune' to their bites, that they won't itch or leave a mark... but for now we look like Measles patients!

onion planting

I don't think I have to explain to anyone what kind of spring it has been... we, and everyone else, are about a week behind schedule due to rain, rain, rain. While overcast skies are great for transplanting... downpours are not!
This week we are finally able to get onto the fields to get some plants into the earth. And today (between downpours) we finished planting all of the onions - and leeks and scallions. Being the most tedious of plants to get in, we are glad to be done!

Get in line, you onions!
Because there is a history of cutworms on this land (and evidence of them in the hoop houses) we are taking preventative measures with these little plants. We don't have enough time or resources to protect every onion... but at least the ones near grass (where the cutworms enjoy the winter months) will get cardboard fortresses at the stem.

Monday, May 16, 2011


My apprentice, Jessica, started last week. She moved all the way up from Austin, TX to work for the summer here at The Community School. Her first week was a big one: Flatbread night, Spiderweb Gardens, the Spring Fair... And now we are looking at a week of RAIN! The season has begun, and we are all excited for it!


Friday, May 13, 2011

pigs on the move

We opened up a new space for the three little pigs this week. It is amazing (and awesome) how quickly they are rooting up the space (just 1 week!) here is a side-by-side:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Flatbread Pizza night

Thank you to everyone who ate pizza last night (either at the restaurant or to-go) Having never done a benefit night before, I had no idea what to expect... I had a blast! It was great to see smiling, pizza-stuffed faces. I am sure it was a success, helping fund the building of our new high tunnel.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

May's Garlic

With help from many hands (Pat, Lori, the garden class), we were able to carefully pull the growing rye grass cover crop from the garlic. Then Pat + I spent an afternoon mulching it! Grow, garlic, grow!

names chosen

Our new threesome has acquired names

Two boys and one girl - the girl always seems to be in the middle, a protection thing, perhaps?! Using the top right photo as reference, clockwise from the left: Hamlet, Sassafras, and Kevin Bacon.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Piggy Gaga

The first crew of pigs to be raised here at The Community School arrived today!