FARM NEWSA local wild fire has left the air thick over our farm. The hills are not crisply seen, but filtered through a gray lens. The days feel muggy. The crops continue to thrive with the warm days and cool evenings. The sun has a vastly different look as it sets beyond the hills to the east. Through the smoke, the sun looks like a huge fireball, burning just beyond the haze, and the colors of the clouds and sky are enough to stop me in the middle of what I am doing to enjoy the show.
The first summer tomato and melon fields to be planted are done. The old melon vines are being chopped with a mower before the drip tape and plastic mulch is removed and recycled. The tomato vines that grew to over six feet tall with the support of stakes and string are being taken apart. First the string is undone, letting gravity get the best of the tomato vines, which are no longer six feet tall, but a now mass of old leaves lumped close to the ground. They are ready to be turned back into the soil from which they came. Next the stakes will be pulled out then the drip tape. Finally, a mower will make the first step of composting the plants back into the earth. Then, the disc will mix the top six inches of the ground, effectively eliminating any evidence of the huge tomato plants.
Those fields all have plans for the future. They all will receive a cover crop to help build the organic matter in the soil, suppress weed seeds and add organic nitrogen to the soil. All of these things will help the next crop in this field meet its full potential.
Our carrots range in size from being several inches tall to just-seeded. The first kale and chard transplants are being tucked in to their fields this week. Beets, bok choy, radishes and lettuce are all sitting in the seed room, waiting for their turn on the list to be seeded.