Monday, June 25, 2012

The Flame-weeder and Cucumber Seedlings!

Michelle came to spend the day at the farm and we were overwhelmed with excitement to see how many weeds had grown in Mozambique since Friday....only kidding of course. We had four beds to prep for the peas which were going to be planted along with the final planting of our pak choi! After a good hoe, it was time to whip out our trusted flame-weeder which, as we've said before, is a mini flame-thrower that toasts anything in sight. Aside from the handful of ladybug casualties, it is the most fun activity we get to do at the farm! Here's a photo of Sydney starting to roast as Michelle hoes the other beds

 Here is a a before photo of the beds we did yesterday and next to them are the four that we planned on doing today (Notice all those weeds!)
 And here's the after photo of those four rows. Although its taken from a couple beds down from the last photo, you can see how the flame-weeder leaves us with a fresh bed for the seeds that helps to give them a head start against the weeds.
 On another exciting note, our tomato transplants are finally mature enough to go into the ground, so we'll be planting them on Wednesday when Michelle comes to visit again for the day. The photo shows two of the three varieties we have (Scotia and tiny tim) We also checked up on our cucumber see if the seeds had been eaten by those blasted crows and we were excited to see that some of them had started to sprout! It hasn't even been a week and already they are starting to crack the surface! Hooray!
And here is a staged photo of me that we took after we'd planted the first 1.5 rows of peas today. Boy do I look excited. We've still got another 1.5 beds of bush peas to do tomorrow along with the last planting of the pak choi.

If you're reading this and around Sackville and bored during this week, send us an e-mail at We'll be planting romaine, pumpkin, beets, pak choi, peas and tomatoes this week and would love to have you visit us!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Weeds, weeds and more weeds!

This is what we're up against! The second half of Mozambique has started to get a bit out of control when it comes to weeds. Today we planted the second planting of romaine lettuce directly, and the rest of the day was spent hoeing our grassiest section. The flame weeder ran out of fuel so all we could use was our own bodies for this one. It is going to be a lot of work prepping these beds now that the grass and other weeds have started to grow, but we've got a handle on it thus far. Michelle is going to be joining us on Monday, so we'll be sure to put her to work helping us weed!

As we were leaving we noticed the crows were eating our cucumber seed. If they didn't get washed away in this rain, we're worried that the birds are going to be eating them. For those of you reading this post, what has been your most effective tactic for dealing with crows and other birds? we'd love to hear your ideas in the comment section!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Everything is sprouting!

Yesterday we managed to have a very productive day despite being exhausted from our early start the day before. The field looks good (see the photo below) and now besides weeding the mounds and keeping them watered, Iran should be relatively easy maintenance. John used last night to fertilize the corn in Colombia, and he's prepared a few more beds where he wants to plant some turnip that we'll consider chemically treated.
We spent yesterday planting the extra carrot seed and tomato seed in Colombia since we had the extra space and the extra seed, although our expectations for these are low and probably won't be a top priority. We also got our second planting of pak choi in and watered Iran. 

The whole farm is looking great and aside from the things we've planted in the last few days, everything seems to have sprouted! The onions and squash look great, and some of the squash already are growing their true leaves. 

Today we used the carrot seed from last year and finished all the carrots we'll be planting this summer. We also have a sprinkler finally which means we can set it up and still be productive while watering at the same time! The rest of today was spent hand weeding Mozambique. Some of the broccoli are looking great having developed their true leaves.

This bug landed on Erik's head so we took a photo! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hot and Sunny Days

Most of our friends love the sun because they are working inside most of the day, but with this sun-streak we're in and the forecast calling for more, we're getting a little tired of it considering we have to water the fields to keep the veggies from dying! We were in Saturday and Sunday to water the fields to make sure that they were getting enough to drink. The peppers and the basil especially are not enjoying the heat, so we have to keep checking them for wilting.
We had 3 drills of corn planting in Colombia first thing in the morning, but just as we were going to do the second 3 drills, the wheel on our wheelbarrow blew out yesterday which put a damper on our planting dreams for the day. We instead spent the day watering and weeding Mozambique. We also planted what was left of our broccoli seed where we planted broc #1 since a lot of the seed were probably washed away or rotted during the week of rain we had and only about 20 seedlings sprouted. 

Today, still hot and sunny, was spent finishing planting the corn now that our wheelbarrow had been fixed. While Sydney watered Colombia, I prepared and planted the 5 rows of cucumber mounds in Iran (Syd joined later). The end of the day was reserved for more mulching. Now if only we can get some rain! 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Flame Weeder is Here!

A big thanks to Lucia over at ACORN for helping us pick this one out! It arrived yesterday and we're using today to finally test it out. Yesterday we finally had a bit of rain which was nice and we were able to put in 1.5 rows of yaya carrots before running out of seed. The 40 blocks of straw we got covered about 50% of Iran so we're going to have to get a second order to finish. The mulch is going around the squash and cucumber mounds to control weeds which will help a lot with harvesting. Also, next year, it will be a great set of nutrients for the soil. Michelle ordered us some sunflowers which we've planted all over the property in hopes of sprucing the place up a bit. We also used yesterday to borrow the mail truck and move our tomatoes up from Cuthbertson and to buy some potting soil so we can do our romaine lettuces as transplants.

Our winter squash isn't looking so hot, we're thinking because of that week of rain either rotted or washed away all of our seed. We decided to use yesterday to replant the mounds as only 15% of them had developed seedlings from the 8 seeds we planted per mound.

Today we got to use the flame weeder on Mozambique and Iran since it was such a nice day. We've gotta say, that this is the most exciting part of this job. The flame weeder is essentially a mini blow torch that roasts any weeds or seeds in the soil, which is great just before planting a new crop, which in this case was right before our broccoli. In other exciting news, we have turnip seedlings, and lots of them!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Erik Flying Solo

It's the third hot and sunny day in a row and Sydney had a calculus exam leaving me all alone for the day. On my way to work I found a baby chickadee about 50 meters from the farm, and figured I'd take him under my wing. He spent the morning in the little home I set up for him but eventually worked up the courage to flew away in a gust of wind. His name was Pepe, and we're hoping he's still out there going strong.
The majority of the day was devoted to mulching Iran, although I only laid down 15 of the 40 blocks we had. Then I got the 400 basil plants into Colombia in the beds Sydney and I had planted yesterday. It took most of the afternoon, but they're all in. Since it was so hot today, when Sydney showed up at the end of the day, we decided to water some of Mozambique, except it started to rain. Here's a photo of the basil all planted!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

If we have nothing else....

...we'll have onions! 

These last two days we've spent giving some attention to our onions which are coming along quite nicely. The black plastic has been laid down in preparation for the basil plants and tomato transplants. We also spent today weeding Iran to get ready for our mulch which should be coming tomorrow. Today we also got the first planting of our Pak Choi in, which is the first of three. Overall a very productive day! We did have to spend a lot of time watering the fields, and lugging those hoses around takes a lot of energy. We're working on getting a sprinkler, but has anyone had any other success watering a while field with just a single hose? Any ideas would be fantastic, just put them in the comment section! 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

14th and 15th Update! Nice Weather Finally!

We got some good weather finally. With the cold temperature and the rain, we couldn't get out to the farm on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Sunny weather on Thursday and Friday however, gave us a bit of time to get some work done. The tomato seedlings at Cuthbertson are on their way, although it looks as though about 60% are going to make it. The rest of the two days were spent weeding, going to Anderson's greenhouse to pick up our basil transplants and jalapeño plants that Michelle ordered for us, and working on our herb garden. We're still waiting to get some more drills put into Colombia so that we can lay down the black plastic and get the basil into the ground. Sydney and I also bought some giant pumpkin seeds while we there and we've turned it into a competition to see who can grow the biggest pumpkin during the summer. Some photos below!

Before making some changes to the herb garden

 After weeding and mulching! 
Sydney checking up on our jalapeño transplants. They started to wilt a bit, but we attributed it to a bit of transplant shock and they're doing fine. Anyone ever have any luck with jalapeños in Sackville? What did you do to make them survive?  
Erik with our basil plants which are loving the sunshine. They're very healthy and are more than ready to be transplanted as soon as we get those drills in! 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Farm Animals

This week's weather is looking pretty terrible and wet. That being said, we did get out a little bit to do some work on the farm. When we're on the farm, we've been able to snap a bunch of photos of some animals and insects. We've gotten to the point where we are so lonely that we've actually named a few. The best reaction thus far has been when Sydney accidentally touched a slug and screamed as though she has just cut her own hand off. The other things we've seen thus far are below!
A spotted salamander under an old damp potato bag

The largest worm we have ever seen. Probably the circumference of a dime

This is Leroy the crow. He waits on a nearby dead tree for us to show up every morning and then spends the day flying around the farm getting bullied by some of the local sparrows. 

This spider landed on Erik's head. Anyone have any idea what type it is?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Tomatoes and Peppers

Our tomato seedlings are well on their way. We are keeping them in a green house, although not the type you'd expect. Since we don't have a real greenhouse we have to keep our seedlings in Cuthbertson house, a vacant residence on campus to keep the seedlings from being exposed to colder temperatures overnight. We put them outside during nice days so that they can get a little bit more direct exposure to the sun which sometimes feels like we're taking our pets for a walk. Yesterday we also added a 200 green pepper plants to the group which we are holding off on planting until we can get some black plastic covering to insulate them this summer. We're hoping those tomatoes can grow a bit more so we can get them into the farm soon, although the forecast for next week is calling for a lot of rain.