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August 26, 2016
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Summer is flying by, but doesn’t it always? This week we hit the half way point in the regular farm season. The first half was good, quite good. It was a beautiful, long season for things like kale, chard and kohlrabi. That was so welcome after a few difficult years for those crops. Once the deliveries started back in late May, we have been harvesting, planting and weeding, or at least thinking about weeding,  and harvesting some more. Lucky for us, the two new fields we planted out this year are not showing any signs of symphylan and the weed pressure is very, very low. We are hoping to keep it that way. There are some difficult perennial weeds, like bindweed and Canada thistle, in patches, but just look at these carrots:WP_20160826_004

I have two beds of beautiful carrots. One has only been weeded once and the other not at all yet. Amazing! Carrots are quite difficult to keep clear of weeds, so I am very happy about this.

I am experimenting with a few new crops this year. One, some of you got to try early in the season: Erba Stella, a salad green. Another is one I have tried for a few years without success: artichokes. This year, I got some artichokes, but never enough at once to share. I hope to let them overwinter and see if they will survive for some early spring artichokes. The third big experiment, that we have yet to see the outcome, is sweet potatoes. I almost gave up on this one, because the slips I ordered were so late in arriving. They came the day I thought I should call to cancel my order. I got them planted out the next day. I made some quick changes in my planting plan, kicked the melons out of the hoop house and put the sweet potatoes in their place to give them the best chance to reach maturity. Generally, you need 90 to 100 or more good warm days (and nights) to get some roots. I got them planted on June 19, which means the earliest they would be ready is the third week of September…if they get enough heat. Our nights have been quite cool this year. Even during the mini heat wave last week, when daytime temperatures were over 100 degrees here, our nights went down to the low 40s and even one night into the upper 30s. Quite chilly in the morning! Keep your fingers crossed that we’ll have sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving! (Or sooner!)

WP_20160812_005Our new flock of chickens are laying quite well now. They were right on schedule, according to the information available about them. We are now getting around 2 dozen eggs per day. Chickens are such fun birds to watch. This group is very different from out first flock (now all gone…the last one died on the 4th of July this summer). Our first girls would do anything, including jumping/flying over a 5-6 foot fence, to get to freedom. With these girls, we hardly seem to need a fence. If they do happen to get out through the gate when we go in, they come right back in on their own. They like to stay close to home.

One last thing, something very exciting for us is going to happen next week: Steven is retiring from his job at the City of Portland! We have been plotting and planning for this day since we moved here. He has hung in there, for more than three and a half years, commuting Monday through Friday into Portland. While he really enjoyed his civil engineering work with the Bureau of Environmental Services, he will trade that for some agricultural engineering…and weed pulling. We are so looking forward to working on this land together every day.WP_20160708_007

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 26, 2016 11:37 pm

    Wow – those ARE beautiful carrots!! So happy to hear that you haven’t had to contend with Symphylan this year, and even more happy for Steven! Tell him congrats from us! 🙂

  2. Kathleen permalink
    August 27, 2016 8:15 pm

    I love yor blog…everything looks beautiful. …but I still want to get over there and see your place! Big congrats to Steven…

  3. senecal66 permalink
    August 28, 2016 6:12 am

    Can’t wait for them sweet taters!

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