As a way to kick off our blog, what could be nicer than some photos from the farm. Join us on a virtual tour to see what is growing in mid-July.
First stop, our farm sign, so we don’t forget who we are.
Farm sign atop our tool storage lean to
Down the grass roadway a little further is our new north field. Here we’ve grouped our deer-susceptible crops together and protected them with a portable, 3-D electric fence. So far it has protected our winter squashes, pumpkins, tomatoes, and more. The beautiful Mary’s River wraps around our fields just beyond the treeline.
In this field our Dakota Black popcorn is just beginning to tassel. We love the dark black kernels of this corn that pop open to a pure snow white. Tasty.
Dakota Black popcorn tasseling
Across the field our first planting of dill is just beginning to flower. We grow dill and pickling cucumbers as a source for those who like to make their own pickles.
Delicate Dill Tops
Just outside the deer fencing live our pastured meat chickens. Their portable pens are moved onto fresh grass each morning and the chickens have room to roam because we keep their density in the pens low. They eat a mixture of GMO-free ground grains grown in our region and milled nearby. We love their ability to fertilize our future fields. They are grazing where we will plant garlic this fall.
So much of our work this season would not have been possible without the help of this trusty tractor, an old Massey Fergusson generously shared with us by David Landis of La Mancha Orchard and Ranch. It’s a bit of a workout to drive…yes, I have to stand up to push the clutch in…but it’s worth it for the horsepower! This year we also started working with a subsoiler, disk, and rotovator to improve the sequence of our primary tillage. What a difference a little power and proper timing makes in getting off to the right start.
Just across the roadway from our north field is one of our small apiaries. This hive has 3 western supers on, a sign that the nectar flow is in full swing. The honeybees fan out to forage on blackberry, squash, buckwheat, clover, phacelia, and more.
Honeybees at work
Our south field holds our artichokes, large green buds just asking to be dipped in butter. This year we seeded summer cover crops in between the rows to suppress weeds and create habitat for beneficial insects. The purple phacelia attracts a welcome mix of syrphid flies, bumblebees, and honeybees. We just mowed our buckwheat but it will resprout and again produce nectar-rich white flowers.
Mowed buckwheat, artichokes, and phacelia
This artichoke bud is almost ready for harvest. If you’ve never eaten a fresh artichoke, you must try one.