Another month of hard work on the farm is complete. And I am only 4 days late of my new goal to write a blog post update on the farm at the end of each month (we took a couple days off this weekend to go to the Red River Gorge for a quick camping/rock climbing trip -- everyone needs some time off, right?!). After months of failing to update the blog, despite my best intentions, I finally decided that monthly is a reasonable goal. If you'd like to see more frequent updates, check our Facebook page for new photos. Writing a blog post just doesn't seem to reach the top of the priority list when strawberries need to be picked or plants arrive that need to be planted.
This month we planted a lot of transplants outside we had started indoors and many vegetable seeds were planted outdoors; transplanted strawberry runners we had planted in little pots last fall to fill the current strawberry plot with plants; weeded and mulched the strawberries; weeded and harvested asparagus; harvested rhubarb; weeded and mulched the existing raspberry and blueberry plants; planted over 100 pounds of potatoes and 100 sweet potato slips; planted flowers; sent soil samples off to be tested; moved the ducks to their new coop and area under the apple trees (hoping they will help with apple pest control).
We had one really cold night in May that ruined some of our strawberry crop for this year. It was cold enough that even though we ran sprinkles all night to protect the blossoms, many still frosted off. Fortunately, we still are getting a pretty good crop, just not as many or as big of berries as it would've been had it not frosted.
Based on our soil test results, we spread ag lime on the new raspberry and strawberry areas to raise the pH of the soil to optimize the soil for our different crops. In preparation for the 1300 raspberry plants and 600 strawberry plants that are set to arrive this week, we have been working hard to prepare the new area where we will plant them. We tilled the soil a few times, formed raised beds, spread compost on the tops of the beds (we ordered two dump truck loads of compost), spread pelletized chicken manure on the tops of the beds for fertilizer, and ran drip tape for irrigation. Next we need to finish hooking up the irrigation and put the plastic row covers on.
We experienced a loss on the farm earlier in the month when a coyote, in daylight, dug under our 8 foot chicken fencing and killed half of our flock of 100 chickens. We always lose a couple birds each spring to predators, but never before have we had such great a massacre. We installed electric fencing as an additional layer of protection in hopes that it helps to deter coyotes in the future. Unfortunately, we had to temporarily suspend egg delivery to half of our customers until July when the younger hens will start laying eggs. We received generous donations and words of encouragement from our loyal egg customers and ordered 50 more chicks which arrived on May 22 in order to build our flock back up and be able to start egg delivery for those families on the waiting list. The chicks are doing well!
In preparation to be able to share our delicious produce with the local community, we are building a farm stand to put on our property this summer. Shelli designed it and is building it (with Paul's advice, of course :)), and hopes to have it finished within the next few weeks to be able to start selling. We are already eating strawberries and many types of greens and herbs from the gardens. Soon, we will have more produce ready and are excited to be able to provide you with local, naturally grown, nutritious food. Stay tuned for details!