2013 Potatos

2013 Potatoes

The season is unfolding and we are enjoying harvesting many of the crops that we have nurtured along all season. Our potato crop is very good this year. After several years of preparation all our planning is paying off. A number of years ago we decided to grow our high fertility crops in a rotation with each other so that we could bump up the fertility and then take advantage of it the next season as well. The rotation is potato – squash – sweet corn followed by one year of  green manure cover crops to replenish the soil and smother weeds before we begin the rotation again. Initially, we planted the blocks beside each other only to find that we had a major potato and cucumber beetle problem. The insects wintered over in the soil and just moved “next door” for a feast the following season. To solve the problem we kept our rotation, but moved the blocks about 1 kilometre from each other. This year we had no potato beetles in the potatoes and the cover crops that were planted the year before, as well as Ken’s cultivation with the horses, resulted in no hand weeding or hoeing in the field until last week when we did a quick once over to pull  a few weeds that had escaped!

Hoop House Tomatoes, Beans, Eggplant and Cauliflower

Hoop House Tomatoes, Beans, Eggplant and Cauliflower

The out door tomatoes and eggplant are slow to ripen with our cooler summer, however hopefully the warm weather this week will bring them along. We had a nice crop of sunflowers for bouquets this year and enjoyed their cheerful presence in the pick-up room.

 Sunflowers for our CSA


Sunflowers for our CSA

Sam Ploughing Down Mustard Cover Crop with Suffolk Punch Horses

Sam Ploughing Down Mustard Cover Crop with Suffolk Punch Horses

Each year our apprentices have a field to manage. They take soil samples, study the results to decide how to prepare the soil for the crop we are planning to grow and do all the field work that is needed. This year Sam’s field is the area that will be our main garden in 2014. All season he has been working getting the field ready. He ploughed down a hay cover crop, planted a cover crop of mustard, ploughed in the mustard, cultivated, spread the compost, cultivated the ground again and planted it to buckwheat, all using our Suffolk Punch horses. The whole process develops his teamster skills and helps to instil an awareness of the importance of preparing the soil for crops as the foundation of organic agriculture.

Horse Drawn Sprayer in Action

Horse Drawn Sprayer in Action

This season we invested in a horse drawn sprayer. Our garden has out grown the back pack sprayer, that we used in the past. Sprayers in themselves are not bad it is the materials that are used in them that determines whether they can have detrimental effects on the farmer , consumer and the environment. Some micronutrients like boron and molybdenum are best applied by spraying as it lets you distribute very small quantities evenly over the soil. We also use it for applying foliar sprays of fish emulsion. There are also organically approved botanical and biological sprays like pyrethrum, bacillus subtilus and spinosad that we use for some insect and fungal pests.   Our draft horses are getting used to the noise of the motor that runs the sprayer as they walk along. However, we have to be careful which horses we use when we spray fish emulsion…if they aren’t used to it one whiff and it can be the start of a run away! Spraying a friendly bacteria on our summer squash has resulted in the friendly bacteria out competing the downy mildew that in the past has all but killed off our summer squash by this time of year. As a result, we have had a bumper crop and are starting to pick some of them when they are 3-4 inches long for “baby squash” to try and reduce the volume!

Bill still has some frozen chickens for sale and our CSA member Deb Atkinson has shared a Chicken Curry recipe that her family enjoys that uses cabbage. Our next batch of cabbage and peppers will be ready soon to go with the recipe!

Crockpot Chicken Curry

Ingredients:

3 Chicken Breasts

2 cans coconut milk

Red Curry paste (I got it at Superstore)

1 small yellow onion

1 green pepper

1 red pepper

½ head of cabbage

Put all the ingredients in the crock pot and stir (put all the stuff in the crockpot the night before as my

Mornings are busy and all I had to do was take it out of the fridge and plug it in. Turn on crockpot to

Low heat if you will be gone all day or high if you want it done earlier for lunch.

ENJOY!!! My kids really liked it, as it wasn’t spicy but a nice mild sweet flavour.