Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Keep On Workin'

'Gonna stand my ground, won't be turned around, and I'll keep this world from draggin' me down, gonna stand my ground and I won't back down'

If you recall, a few weeks ago there was talk of there being a drought. The recent pattern of rain now has the area at average to above average levels of wetness. To say that rain levels are average means that the amount of rain that we've received has been coming down far too often and with far too much in the storms. What this means is that area farmers are behind schedule for their planting. David has been able to get a great number of plants into the ground, but the amount of produce that is immediately ready to get into the ground is daunting. And then there are all the plants in the greenhouse that are waiting in the wings. As has been stated on numerous occasions, farming is not for the faint of heart. This is not being said to elicit sympathy or pity for David or any other small, local, organic farmer. It is intended to convey the extent to which farmers are subject to the whims of mother nature. While there is much that the farmer can control; when it comes to weather all the farmer can do is the best they can.

Odds and ends.
Hule had a great week last week getting four ground hogs. She also had herself a great chase. A deer got into the back most field, the one that is not currently being used. David was walking around the field to check on things, Hule spotted the deer and the chase was on. While Hule did not catch the deer, she chased it from that back field all the way to the front part of the back field. Great job Hule.

Summer squash, winter squash, cucumbers, the second round of tomatoes, basil, eggplants and sweet/hot peppers, among many other things, have all been seeded and all are doing a great job of germinating. We are hopeful of a great season.

EXTRA EXTRA- As as been the case the past two years, there will be a farm stand on site Wednesdays and Fridays. The first Z Food Farm market will be Wednesday, June 6. The hours of all on site markets will be 12 noon-7pm. Z Food Farm will then make its initial appearance at the Rittenhouse Square Market in Philadelphia on Sat, June 9. We will then be at the New Amsterdam Market in NYC on Sun, June 10. All connected with Z Food Farm are eager for the markets to start. We look forward to see old friends and making new ones.

Here the tomatoes are still in the green house. This picture was taken a couple of weeks ago. All of the tomatoes are now outside the greenhouse; some are in the ground while the rest are awaiting their planting.

At this point a lot of planting has taken place, yet the greenhouse remains relatively full. If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you will see mouse traps on the newly seeded trays. Experience has shown that mice like newly seeded summer squash, winter squash, and sunflowers. The trays shown in this picture are summer squash. Overall three mice have been caught.

Here are some of the crops in the field. This picture is also a week or so old. At this time the weeds are making their presence known.

 Here are some of the plants waiting their turn to be planted. Having the staging area in gront of the greenhouse is new this year. This area is enclosed by the deer fence. While there was no problem the last two years with the deer with the staging area next to the barn, having the plants inside the deer fence should be (we hope) safer.

The top picture is the Red Rubin basil. The second picture is your good old traditional Italian basil. Both are delicious. The Red Rubin makes a gorgeous pesto.

Support your local farmers. Support organic and sustainable farms. Happy and healthy eating to one and all.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Digging In The Dirt

The latest addition to Z Food Farm is The Celli Spading Machine. A description from a web site: The Celli Spading Machine is an articulating spader. The spades work like a hand shovel on a crankshaft. Each spade shovel takes a turn entering the soil, so very little horsepower is needed to operate it. This makes it the ideal primary tillage tool for low horsepower tractors. It can also till damp ground to open it up and dry it out for early spring plantings. These are the two main advantages over the chisel plow.
Like the chisel plow, it can be adjusted to till deep or shallow and can till one bed at a time. The Spading Machine is the ideal tillage tool because the spading action completely loosens the soil across the bed and its motion does not compact or smear the soil at the bottom of its travel."

While there are various other points of interest about the spader, there are two that will be mentioned-- 1) Using a spader saves time. Since time is a precious commodity for a farmer, this is a very good thing. 2) As implied by the last sentence of the description from the website, the spader is less invasive of the soil. Less invasive tilling allows for a healthier soil. Another very good thing. It is quite an amazing implement to watch in action.

Before getting to the spader, here is an updated picture of one of the hops plants. They are growing rapidly. Once they are trellised they can grow upwards of 20 feet. To quote Homer, 'Hmmmm, beer'.

The brand new spader. It was not intentional, but it nicely matches the color of the John Deere tractor.

This is what the soil looks like after one pass of the spader. A second pass will break the soil up enough that David will be able to direct seed those crops that do not transplant well.

Here's David working the field.

At this time planting is well under way and continues at a frenetic pace. Also, the next round of seeding has also started. The ongoing cycle of the farm season is well under way. Among the crops that have been planted are: kale, lettuce, Swiss chard, kohlrabi, onions, broccoli, carrots, arugula, radishes, turnips, Asian greens, and baby lettuces that will become salad mix.

At this time a limited number of farm shares remain available. If you are interested about information about becoming a member of Z Food Farm you can contact David at-

Happy and health eating to one and all.