As we go further along into Autumn (our beloved second Summer) the temperatures and humidity begin to ease back a bit, much to the relief of plant and farmer alike. Despite a very forgiving Summer with lots of rain, it’s been pretty dry these last two weeks on the farm. Even the chickens are tired of sweating. While temperatures may be getting cooler, the plants aren’t migrating South anytime soon.
So what’s sweeter than a strawberry? A tablespoon of sugar. Since we haven’t figured out how to grow tablespoons of sugar yet, we’ve planted strawberries. Last week the organic crop production class put in an entire bed of strawberry transplants and laid down a nice thick layer of mulch. This week, a fresh batch of buckwheat cover crop sprang up among the strawberries, much to the amusement of every buckwheat involved. However, this won’t stop us because we love our strawberries as much as we love our sugar.
Cool weather crops are growing strong, and healthy rows of cabbage and broccoli are adding some green back into our Autumn landscape. Just nearby, some sorghum-Sudan cover crop has been mowed down. We have to keep it from getting too tall or explorers mistake it for jungle and dig up our whole field in search of lost artifacts. The sorghum-Sudan makes for wonderful long lasting mulch that improves the fertility of the soil as it breaks down.
In our North hoop house a bed of vibrant looking bush beans has kept hidden under row cover. Even plants can appreciate a blanket as weather gets cooler. Rows of little whimsical carrot fronds are poking out out of the soil, getting ready for the cold times ahead. In our propagation house, flats full of young plants are waiting to get transplanted. Unfortunately, the door to our propagation house has died in a terrible accident. Rest in peace, door.
Sweet potatoes are coming out of the ground right now, leaping up joyfully and rushing hastily to the packing shed for curing. That’s how we wish it worked anyway, but digging them out is fun too. The sweet potatoes have done especially well this year, thanks to the diligent seed saving done by Hillary. It takes a good potato to grow a good potato, and propagating the potatoes from those plants with the most desirable traits leads to better potatoes down the line. It helps greatly to prevent problems with potatoes growing irregularly or deeper than we would ever want to dig. No one wants to drill for potatoes, except maybe Idaho.
We’ve also had a problem with our sweet potatoes turning into yams when we called them yams, so we’ve stopped calling them yams so as to not confuse the potatoes. Those sweet potatoes are my favorite yams after all.
That’s all for now, keep checking this blog for more student entries all about what’s happening!
Posted by, Dylan Mulder, 1 October 2013