On the stands this week…
No strawberries today Monday- too wet and cold
Now looks like U-Pick strawberries will open next weekend, June3. Too cool, not enough ripe to open yet! 🙁
Asparagus is done,
garlic scapes begin mid June!
May 25, 2017
Riddle of the day: What did the farmer say when he couldn’t find his tractor? (answer below)
First strawberries of the season hit the stand today. We will continue to pick and put them on the Croton Road stand until we have enough ripe to open u-pick, at which point they will be available picked at both stands. I’m still not sure when there will be enough ripe to open, but tomorrow is out unless we have an unpredicted midnight heat wave. Maybe next weekend? The cooler temps and colder nights are like sticking the fruit in the fridge…it slows everything down to a snail’s pace.
Around the farm, things are growing! The peas finally kicked into growth mode…they won’t be ready for the beginning part of strawberry season, but by about the 3rd week in June we may have some. This year we planted snow peas, snap peas, and shelling peas, and, drumroll please…I labeled the rows!! Finally!
The tree fruit looks good- plums were hit with the too cold temps during flowering, so none this year, but peaches and apples and cherries look great, and the raspberries and blackberries look loaded. Potatoes are up but taking their own sweet time. Onions look wow-healthy, and so does the garlic. We moved all the early blueberries to the Pittstown Road farm and they seem to really like their new environment. This year we will have a partial crop of the early raspberries and blackberries at the Pittstown Road farm. The sweet/tart cherries will not be ready for pick your own this year, but they’ve grown quite a bit- take a look at them out when you are picking strawberries- they are the first four rows of fruit trees beyond the strawberry field.
This year we used a Mechanical Transplanter 5000 to put in our many, many tomatoes. If all goes well, we’ll be opening u-pick tomatoes once or twice a week in August. I have to say, it was a complete and total joy to sit on the planter and plant all the tomatoes without bending over at all, except to dig to search for the ones it buried. Nothing’s perfect, but this thing did an excellent job of planting most of the tomatoes. We’ll tinker with it until it works for all the tomatoes. Totally worth it. I love craigslist with all it’s farm of yesteryear treasures. 🙂
I think I need to update more often…seeming pretty long winded here. Sorry!
Hope you are well and that the hot sun comes out so we can finally open U-pick strawberries soon!!!
ps. riddle answer: What does the farmer say when he can’t find his tractor? “Hay, where is my tractor?!” (I know, that is really, really bad. But it was so funny when kid 4 said it. At least to me. Middle school humor. I think he made it up himself.)
May 11, 2017
Good Morning! Things are hopping now that we are beyond any nights of frost (at least lets hope!). We are busy getting all the annual crops into the ground, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, squash, melons, etc. Also getting the herb garden in at the Pittstown Road farm. So much to do, so few hours in the day!!!
We had a cold scare last week… the new farm (Pittstown Road) is always cooler than our home farm on cold nights- usually 2-5 degrees cooler for some reason. And on clear, windless nights, ground temperature is always colder yet, because remember from elementary school science class, warm air rises, cold air sinks…
This is important for fruit flower buds. So on nights predicted to be 36-38, it was reaching 32 in the strawberry plants. Strawberries do fine until 30 degrees, when the open flowers take damage. Lower temps can also harm forming fruit, and even lower can hurt even unopened flower buds. With so many open flowers and 34 with patchy frost predicted for last Monday night, we decided to cover the field, just in case. Because we REALLY LOVE our strawberries!
Covering the field means unrolling giant frost blankets, 30 feet across by 250 feet long. They are light weight, like dryer sheets or hospital booties. But at that size they get heavy. And any breeze makes them a big kite, which means they can’t go down until the wind dies, typically sometime in the evening just before the cold sets in. The pic above makes it look like daytime, but it is a camera trick…it was taken just as the sun was setting.
We put a pipe through the tube that they are rolled on, and two people stand at the end of the rows holding the tube (like toiled paper on a roll) while others grab the ends and pull the cover to the opposite end of the field as it unrolls. Others grab the sides and help lighten the load by walking along the sides, tugging. After unrolling, we carry sand bags out to pin down the perimeters. Lots of sandbags. Lots of work. Even more work the day after, when they need to be removed before the strawberries cook underneath, and sandbags, which seem to be slug magnets (we farmers hate the strawberry-eating slugs!) must be pulled out of the field.
Rolling them up is just no fun.
So. The results? Strawberries are safe. I wish I could say we saved the day, but the cloud cover stuck around, and the farm stayed at the predicted 34 degrees, with the ground temperature in the strawberries hitting a low of 32 degrees, too warm for damage. Yay! Lol. Except now for cleaning up the row covers…
Opening date for strawberries is looking like Memorial Day weekend or a few days before…stay tuned. Not to jinx anything, but Sam says this is looking like what may be the very best crop he has seen in his entire life. Being a third generation strawberry farmer, that is saying something.
Hope you are having a wonderful week!
Sam, Laura and kids