bertrandfarm

…Come Grow With Us!

Archive for the month “May, 2012”

Get ‘er Done!

Farm work seems to be never-ending.  If I ever come to a point in the day when I’ve run out of things to do, I remember I could always be hoeing!  It rare when weeds take a break from competing with vegetables for sun, water, and nutrients. Me and Theri do most of the hoeing ourselves, but larger projects we save for days when our wonderful working CSA members will be here.  At Bertrand Farm, that’s Wednesday and Saturday mornings.  While I’ve been told by members that one may feel like part of a hard-working chain gang at times, I promise it’s always a fun morning.

This week our CSA’ers were working like clockwork transplanting our tomato family vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant).

These are our Wednesday workers.  It’s doesn’t get any better than chatting with like-minded people while growing food!

Our Hole Digger

Our Mater Transplanter

Our Liquid Fish Fertilizer

With this team, we were able to get 150+ plants in the ground…..now only 2 month until fresh tomatoes!!!

For all those non-foodies of the world, if you purchase fresh tomatoes in May at the farmers market there’s a good chance they’ve been trucked in from somewhere else, a pet peeve of mine.  There is a slight chance they were grown in a local greenhouse, but it’s still early even for them.  Either way, ask your farmer about your food.  You might be surprised what you hear.

While not all of our members worked in our Tomato Planting Team on Wednesday, those who didn’t spent some quality time tying up our beautiful young peas!   Bill swore that trellising peas was a very zen experience.

Our Pea Trelliser

All in all it was a great morning!  Just as it was today with our Saturday CSA’ers.  Thanks to all who dedicate themselves to growing food; you make the world go round!

Farm Update

Every week bring changes at Bertrand Farm.  Thankfully the dueling ducks have made amends and are now buddies again.  After our Wednesday visit from our Montessori students, our mama barn cats decided to abandon their current nesting spots in the barn.  We had a mild panic for a day trying to locate where they moved to.  Theri was worried they had taken them up into the floor boards in the hayloft.  Luckily some of the mamas returned back to their original places the next day.  We found our oldest kittens in a bay in the barn across the driveway (looks like this kitten needs her eye medicine), but we still have two missing litters.  FYI for any youngsters who come out to the farm, we might enlist you as kittens detectives.

In other farm events, I began our chicken tractor experiment.  For the last two months, I noticed that our chickens are not producing nearly as many eggs as should be expected for the amount of hens in our flock.  Thus I have begun using process of elimination to find the hens that are not pulling their weight on the farm.  So I am capturing chickens, breed by breed, and keeping them in our chicken tractor for a few days to see if they are laying eggs regularly or not.  What happens to those not producing you might wonder?  Into the pot they go.

First up are the lovely black ones with the brownish tint, their true name I do not know.

Did you know that chickens are the closest living species to the T-Rex?  I think this picture is a perfect comparison!

Last, but not least.  Our potatoes have broken ground.  We’ve been wondering what they were doing for so long under there?  Now, with most rows all filled in, we have an excellent opportunity to start tilling the walk paths for weed control.  Several of our noble working CSA’ers will be arming themselves behind our beastly walk-behind tillers for the task tomorrow morning!

Damien’s Garden Wisdom for the week:  Did you know that potatoes and tomatoes are related?  They actually look very similar.  Some tomato varieties even have leaves that are identical to potatoes (we are growing some on the farm).  The major difference of course is potatoes grow in the ground and tomatoes above it.

 

Duck Dueling

Given our diversity of animals on the farm, there rarely is a dull moment.  Whether it’s one of our cats having kittens, the arrival of baby chicks, or the discovery of a family of bunnies in the field.   We all enjoy having animals around to make farm life more interesting.  This past week was no exception.  While I did notice the guinea hens on the move, in search of the perfect nesting spot, I was most taken by the daily duck dueling that was going on.  Our predicament is that we have 3 ducks (l to r): 1 male mallard, 1 imitation male mallard (he’s a little bigger), and 1 female mallard.  Thus, our numbers are unequal.  Ducks apparently, like chickens, do not draw distinctions between varieties when looking for mates.  The daily scene on the farm is that of the two men chasing each other around trying to out do the other and win the rights to the female mallard.  Unfortunately victory is short-lived and the dual starts again each day.   

      For today our champion is our imitation mallard.

He’s not shy about bragging.

One might assume that I spend a large part of my time watching the animals and taking pictures.  I guess I do take notice of their behavior most days, but not to worry, Theri keeps me on task enough to make sure that the fields are becoming filled with lots of scrumptious vegetables for our CSA.  Just planted 4 new rows of beans today with our high school intern PJ!

Grow Baby Grow!

It’s May and the warmth of summer appears to be soon to come on the farm.  With April dumping plenty of rain, everything on the farm is really starting to take off.  The end of frost weary nights are hopefully behind us.  Bring on the heat! Of course nothing above 85 and preferably with low humidity.  While we humans are picky about our summertime weather, the plants soak up everything they can get.  Below some green onions are shooting up like rockets.

The past few weeks, me, Theri, PJ (our high school intern), and occasionally Anna (from Prairie Winds Farm) have been working tirelessly to put plants in the ground.  To date our brassicas are in the ground, our greens have made the transition from the greenhouse, 3 successions of peas are forming tendrils, the potatoes sit 3-5 inches beneath the soil waiting for their sprouts to reach the light of day, and the beans are beckoning germination.  Our raised boxes are filled with carrots, baby lettuce mix, and a spicy greens mix.  We’ll be continuing with biweekly successions of many of these crops throughout the growing season.

This picture is of the spicy greens mix.  I can see Arugula, Red Mustard, Tatsoi, Mizuna, and Red Russian Kale in there.  Theri decided to try some out this season upon my recommendation.  I guarantee if you like flavor, you’ll love this greens mix!

Even as this crop season begins, we still have remnants of last year’s finishing up.  Because of the our mild winter, our curly kale was able to overwinter and go the seed.  Kale is a biennial, meaning it takes two growing seasons to produce seed.  It’s been a huge pollinator magnet for us early this season.

Last but not least, our working CSA members had their first day on the farm yesterday, Hooray!  (I of course forgot to snap a photo.)  We’re happy to have many returning members as well as some new ones.  When I ask these members why they prefer to be working members, I was told: 1) we get spend time building relationships with like-minded individuals, 2)  we get to talk about green smoothies, learn about local food sources, and discuss broader national food issues, and 3) we get some “me time”, coming out to the farm and working a few hours is relaxing and enjoyable!

Sound appealing?  If so, we still have  working memberships available.  Come join in the fun!  For further information visit our website Bertrand Farm or check us out on Facebook.

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