Produce in Full Production
We started picking lots of varieties of delicious heirloom tomatoes, cantaloupe, and watermelon this month! Please come by our farm stand and you can enjoy lots of delicious fresh produce. We even have raspberries out at the stand now, too. The raspberry plants are doing really well -- we are happy that we get to taste test a lot of the varieties now. Apples are on now too so we are making applesauce. Unfortunately our huge apple trees are not quite rehabbed enough yet to sell their apples. We have made lots of progress with weeding this month but aren't quite caught up yet weeding the walking rows between the plastic mulched permanent beds. We are keeping busy harvesting and tending to the large variety of crops we are picking!
Fall Crops Planted
We planted lots of experimental storage tomato plants this month. They are supposed to be picked green and store months on the counter. We are hoping for delicious tomatoes into winter :). We also planted more beets, kale, collards, swiss chard, radish, lettuce, spinach, boo chop, and other cold-loving crops.
Challenges and Lessons Learned
Our first crop of ripe tomatoes had end rot due to inconsistent watering which causes a calcium deficiency. The plants were relying on us irrigating them since they are trellised in plastic with drip trip and cannot receive much nature rain. We have been busy focusing on watering the berry plants and trying to keep up with all the different crops that the tomatoes weren't watered as consistently as they needed. The problem seems to be fixed now and we are harvesting lots of beautiful tomatoes.
Our kale, broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts plants are recently struggling with pressure from an aphid pest. So we will be hoping to combat that right away with spraying natural dish soap and cayenne pepper on them. The dish soap will strip their protective layer off and dehydrate them so they die. So right now we are short on greens as we wait for the new crops to be ready.
Our sweet corn didn't do well this year. We will not be selling it as the ears are very small. We are pretty happy with the two new varieties we tried, so we will grow them again next year. However, the plants didn't do well due to them being planted on some of the worst quality soil we have on our property. The area where they were planted (due to space shortage that had been adequately cleared), is in need of serious soil amendment before we plant there again in order to organically supply enough nutrients for the plants to do well.
Seven beautiful and healthy puppies were born on August 19th to Kona and Nacho. Kona is such a great mom and the puppies are doing really well. Paul was sleeping in the sunroom, where her whelping box and everything is all set up, keeping an eye on her. She went into labor quite quickly this time and wasn't making much noise before the first one was born. Around 7am, Paul took her out to use the restroom, and then they both laid back down on the bed and Paul fell asleep. He woke up about 30 minutes later to find Kona nursing her first born puppy next to him on the bed! He moved them into the whelping box in time for the rest of them to be born. We had quite the chuckle over it.
Chicken Egg Update
The birds are safe and sound and doing well in their fresh pasture we more easily moved them to with their new fencing set up. The young hens have started laying but are slow to get up their production. We hope soon for the numbers to increase so we can restart delivery to all of our previous customers. The youngest birds are growing and we hope they will start laying sometime in October and we will then be able to start our customers on the waiting list.
The many types of vegetables and fruits we grow need tending to regularly. This month we trellised the snap peas, tomatoes, and cucumber plants. We planted a second succession of cucumber and zucchini plants, corn, and other seeds. We have been struggling keeping up with weeding this month especially since we took two weekends off for vacation! So if anyone would like to volunteer some quality garden time, let me know :)
We purchased a new more powerful electric fencer and a different electric fence. We moved the birds to a fresh grown up area to enjoy. Their previous run was tilled and seeded in cover crop. At the end of the month we moved the youngest chicks in with all the older ones- so far everyone is doing well but the stress of the change has caused a decrease in egg production this week. The 6 month old hens have recently started laying eggs as well so hopefully we will be back up to full production soon. This month the ducks started laying eggs as well.
Farm Stand Continues
Shelli continues to operate the farm stand on Wednesdays and Fridays. Check out our Facebook page to see what we have. We no longer have change available as someone stole the entire money container recently at the end of the day :(. If you need change, we are happy to help if we are home! Let us know if you have a suggestion of a better day/time for us to be open so you can come.
The garden work is piling up since we took a couple weekend trips the end of this month. We spent a couple days around Traverse City with Shelli's family. And a long weekend near Pictured Rocks with Paul's family. Everyone needs a break sometime, right?!
Puppies on the Way
Kona is really showing now! We expect puppies to be born on August 21st. In preparation for having the fenced dog run safe and clean for the puppies to play outside, we finished insulating our foundation, stuccoed, painted, filled, pulled and tilled out all the ivy, planted grass, and made a new block patio.