We have been on the move at Harner Brothers CSA. Moving our garden from its original space to our field. We have divided the field into our own “mini-fields.” We hope this will allow us to more efficiently manage the soil health, insects and plant health. In the meantime, the old garden area is being planted with a cover crop. Using moveable pens, we will be putting some of our younger hens that are not laying yet and our roosters on that land area with the hope that they will eat some of the bad insects such as potato bugs and squash bugs.
As usual, there will be a lot of science projects going on this summer. Stay tuned. As usual, agriculture is always interesting! Enjoy a quick glimpse into what we have been working on.
This past fall, the boys used profits from the extra rhubarb sales to send in a donation to Gillette’s Children’s Hospital and the American Red Cross. Let us know if you are in need of any rhubarb ($3 per pound) before the CSA starts, or if you would like extra during the season. We use this as an opportunity to teach the kids the importance of giving back.
In early April, we started the herbs. Seeds come in all sizes. The herb seeds are particularly tiny.
The boys helped to prepare the herb pots by using the cordless drill to ensure there is a drain hole in the bottom of the pot. Much like tile drainage systems in a field, the drain hole in this pot helps to keep the roots of the plants healthy by draining any extra water that seeps through the soil to the bottom of the pot. If the hole was not there for the access water to drain out, the plant would not be healthy.
Don’t let my photo bomber fool you…they worked mighty hard this day in April. Thank you to FarGaze Farms for the use of the tillage equipment to work up the ground to prepare it for planting. We worked up our old garden to plant a cover crop to add fertility to the soil and provide additional area for our chickens (non-laying hens such as roosters and pullets) so they can eat bad insects such as potato bugs (insect control). We are utilizing our field which will allow for more room for growing vines. Look for us to sell pink pumpkins this fall with proceeds going to Breast Cancer Research.
At the end of our first work day in the field, we had accomplished a lot: working up the old garden and the field and building and painting a new moveable chicken pen. It was a great day for teaching work ethic and the need to work hard when Mother Nature allows you the opportunity.
Picking rock is part of preparing the field so we don’t ruin our tiller or other equipment.
We have planted five varieties of potatoes. They weren’t in by Good Friday, but they were in on April 18. The spring has been cooperative as far as temperatures, but we sure could use a good rain.
We also planted several cold season crops on April 18 including a few different varieties of lettuces, spinach, radishes, sugar snap peas and beets.
We pre-planted three varieties of large pumpkins. We are excited to have a larger area for vines as part of our experiments. We thought these “natural” pots looked interesting. They are made of sterilized cattle manure and should break down nicely in the soil as the pumpkins grow.
The giant pumpkins have begun to emerge with the first set of leaves – the cotyledons. I always think it is fun to see the seed pod still attached to these emerging leaves. The pumpkins are planted in the field waiting for a good drink of rain.
At the end of this past weekend, we had over 50 varieties of vegetables and flowers planted. The boys commented are excited to see how it all looks when the mini-fields begin to grow. This weekend was beautiful with it warming up to about 80 degrees F. We did not receive much rain on Sunday but were thankful we missed the large hail that came with that storm.