Farm 2016 Notes
It is May 1st. I have tilled twice already and planted about 18 rows of lettuces, beets, radishes, chard, carrots, zucchini and squash.
Feb and March were warm and it looked like it was going to be an early season then we got a late frost the first week of April and it has been more Spring like ever since.
It was by far the fairest March I can remember.
It was dry until this past Tuesday and though I tilled twice the earth was so hard that I did not get very deep.
The current rains have been heavy every day and I am worried they will upset the seed placement. I have already bought my starts, Tomatoes, Eggplant, okra, cucumber, herbs all from Whisper hill Farm as I have not had time to sprout my own plants this year. I intend to put them in the ground tomorrow.
We will not have anyone to work the acre across the street this year. Last year was so wet, weedy, buggy and moldy that Sean did not do well and is leaving this year.
So I will try very hard to work the ¼ acre diligently.
These rains are supposed to last through next week also. If I can get the starts in the ground tomorrow perhaps it will help to establish them.
Now it is June 15th.
The rains never stopped and April was just lots of hard and intense storms. I lost about a third of my tomatoes and had to replant in Mid May and then about 2 weeks ago I lost them all due to a very large wash out.
I also had used a Crab Shell Flour and I think I over applied it so that with the heavy wash out rains and the crab flour and the insects that came after that it was too much for the tomatoes.
I also used a general fertilizer from New Country Organics. I forget what it was called. All the fertilizers must have been washed out in the rains.
So I replanted all the tomatoes in garden the first week of June. They are still taking. In the bottom quarter I have Zucchini and squash, the plants look healthy but they are staying very small, growth has been slow. We have had a week and a half of sun and no rains now but the growth continues to be slow.
In the upper quarter I had planted Okra in early May, it also is growing very slowly. It started to flower yesterday and I don’t know if I should pull the flowers so that the plant establishes better or let them continue, the plants are only 8 inches high. Most of them look good but others are quite small.
The weeds in my lettuce, beet, chard and arugula beds got too overwhelming and so I tilled them up and planted Jalapeno peppers and basil instead for the restaurants. Next year I want to establish raised beds with pure bagged dirt for lettuces and such.
So as of now, I have lots of tomatoes and Jalapeno pepper plants with some bell pepper plants, a quarter in okra, a quarter in zucchini and squash. 2 rows of cucumber, 2 beds of carrots and some basil at the very bottom. Quite simple and easy to weed.
The dry spell continues now but it may rain today or tomorrow.
So far the lessons for next year are: Fertilize early before the torrential rains wash it all away. Maybe establish new raised bed boxes in the path of the wash out area to keep it from happening. Continue to plant single plant rows like tomatoes and peppers for ease of weed control etc…
Garden is coming in well. Certain plants are stunted still. Okra producing nicely but a lot of Japanese beetle leaf damage. Tomatoes are still young and will need another 3 weeks of good sun. It will be late.
Starting to put small 2ft steaks on Jalapenos which seems to work well.
Basil is coming in great at the bottom of the garden.
Carrots tops browning but the carrots still seem to be ripening.
Cucumbers doing ok, not great but fine.
Eggplant look great, no fruit yet.
Lessons for next year: Do not over use crab meal, get the chunky kind and work just a little, 2 tbls into the soil around each plant. Fertilize in the fall. Steaks seem to be better than cages for tomatoes. Put fresh bagged dirt on top of raised beds.
Good balance of hot days and rains. Plants are coming along well but still no tomatoes and not just from me but for anyone. Very late this year. Squash and Zucchini have been good. Plant more next year and plant them tighter. Even though I have about 20 plants there have been some that did not come in and other died so I am not getting enough to provide squash flowers in any meaningful way. Definitely do a similar planting to the one you did this year. So easy to weed when in straight rows.
End of Season- Tomatoes did not really begin to ripen until the third week of July. They were very late and were not very good this year. Bugs were terrible this year I think because it was so wet early on. Okra continued to produce amazingly all the way through September as did peppers.
Late pumpkin planting did not take due to intense heat at the end of August.
Overall it was a very bad year for tomatoes and summer squashes in my plot and for many others but excellent for okra, basil, carrots, asparagus , eggplant and peppers.
Plant Garlic this fall. Eggplant was great this year, take good care to keep the flea beetle off them early and they will do very good in the top of the garden.