Michelle and Elizabeth Weeding Mesclun
Ken Plowing the Corn Ground with Mater and Sonny
Bill Planting Wheat
Bill Cultivating
2013 Garden with Mustard and Rye Cover Crops Planed

Today was a typical busy day at Orchard Hill Farm. Tuesday is always a pick-up day and after the flurry of activity in the morning getting the produce ready for the pick-up some of us moved on to other things. I walked around the farm and took pictures of all the goings on at the same time. Elizabeth, Michelle and Caesar were weeding mesclun in the main garden, Ken was plowing this year’s corn ground (now that CSA working share members picked all the popcorn and ornamental corn), and Bill was seeding wheat in the field that he had cultivated yesterday with our Suffolk Punch Horses, while many of our CSA members were picking and snacking their way through the raspberry patch. We will now seed the corn ground to rye for a winter cover and start in plowing this year’s squash ground and plant it to rye as well. We will finish seeding the hoop houses with greens tomorrow for our Fall CSA and bag up our cured sweet potatoes. The gladiola bulbs need to be dug and put in the basement over winter and a bit more cover crop seeding done in the main garden to prevent erosion over the winter.

As I was strolling around trying to capture pictures of all that was happening on the farm I snapped a picture of the garden plots for next season seeded down with mustard, rye and Sorghum Sudan grass. I then walked over to take a picture of Bill planting the wheat. The seed bed looked so beautiful with its soft, fluffy soil and lots of organic matter. I cast back over the summer, sorry that the ground wouldn’t be the destination of the 2013 CSA main garden after all, despite Ken’s careful preparation of the land. The hay had been cut and left in the field to be worked in, more hay from another field had been brought in addition to increase the organic matter, the land was then plowed in 2012 and  planted to buckwheat. Soil samples were taken and minerals and compost spread and worked in to balance the soil. The reason for the change of garden location was the wire worm problems we had right next door in this year’s early garden…the warm winter last year seems to have been the contributing factor and perhaps a soil type preference. So we changed the location of the garden for 2013 and started preparing ground on the other side of the lane in hopes to avoid wire worm. Then we found wire worm there too! After considerable alarm and research we are starting in on a new cover crop approach that includes mustard and trying to avoid cereal grains in May when the click beetle (adult wire worm) lays it’s eggs. The challenge is coming up with a rotation that works and still adds back organic matter to the soil and leaves the ground covered over winter to prevent erosion. There is considerable research going on for wire worm problems and we will be experimenting here as we try and keep abreast of other people’s results. One of our CSA members, Jeff Tolman, a retired Ag Canada entomologist, has been a great assistance to us in our quest to figure out what to do. All I can say is, we should have a bumper crop of wheat in 2013 after all the care that went in to preparing the ground.

Michelle and Caesar

Sunday is our CSA Pot Luck and next week is the last week of our main season CSA. We will be sadly saying good bye to our two wonderful young women apprentices, Amanda and Elizabeth. All of our apprenticed have given us so much support and energy over the season we are very appreciative and grateful to them all!  Bill will be staying with us over the winter and for next season and we are very happy to have him with us for another year! Michelle has also been a big boost this season as she has popped in and out to give us a hand!  We wish her well in her farm search.