September 24, 2016
A long break since the last post. A lot has happened since. We harvested our summer crops - look for pictures in our updated photo gallery. In transitioning into fall, we had to plan around the schedule for my second year with ALBA’s Incubator Program. It begins November 1st and on a larger farm. This meant that in July and August we planted crops that would be ready for harvest by late October, before we move, across the dirt path to three-quarters or 1 acre farm.
We transplanted Rainbow Chard July 1st, followed by direct seeding Butternut Squash and Zucchini a few days later. I experimented with row covers again. I covered Butternut Squash as soon as the seed germinated. This protected it from all kinds of bugs, particularly beetles. I did not cover the neighboring row of Zucchini that was direct seeded a few days after the Butternut. Do I regret it!! Almost immediately after germination, we saw an infestation of cucumber beetles, one I am not likely to forget any time soon. To control the damage these and other summer bugs caused, I inter-planted Radish, Bunching Onions, and flowers (Alyssum, Marigolds and Nasturtiums). These seemed to help the Butternut once, we removed the covers but my Zucchini plants took a while to recover.
We did plant Yellow Summer Squash, Eight Ball Squash as well as a few Pumpkins and all of them are doing well. Among other crops were Spinach, Mizuna, Tatsoi, Cucumbers, Cilantro, Bunching Onions, Parsley and Radish. In late August we transplanted one row of Little Gem Lettuce and directed seeded another row. We also experimented, successfully, with Microgreens and are now ready to scale up on Microgreens. Another success was letting Spinach harden enough to bunch, even though we grew it under a row cover. Our summer and fall photo galleries capture our experiences, joys and challenges.
We are looking forward to moving across the dirt path to a bigger property but still debating if we should stay under an acre or take on a full acre during the second year of the incubator program. We know what we want to grow, what has worked for us and what we need to avoid this next year. We love what we are learning and experiencing but our biggest challenge is time.