First Farmers’ Market!

Farmer's Market Sign
Our first market!

We made it to our first market! On Friday, July 1, we were at the Wyalusing Farmers’ Market. Because of the delays in planting (weather and otherwise), we didn’t have anything to sell just yet. But we showed up, got some face time with (hopefully!) future customers, let people know what’s on the way, and handed out some free samples of Allie’s delicious baked goods — chocolate rosemary olive oil loaf and raspberry squares this time.

Free Samples
Free Samples A-Go-Go

Luckily(?), no one else was there with produce either (the weather is at least nondiscriminatory in its scorn). In the longer term, it may very well just be us, plus a gentleman who sells fruit, as the only farmers present. There are some great local artisans there, as well, selling everything from embossed leather wallets to soy candles to knitted goods.

Click on the pictures to see a few more from the market in our Flickr stream. And get more info about the farmers’ market on its Facebook page.

Coming up next: the first fruits (roots) of our labor!

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Plant Update

Pepper Baby
Mini peppers a-poppin

We’ve been hard at work getting the plants in the ground, and it’s starting to really show. We thought it would be great to catch up a little and record what’s currently in.

  1. Tomatoes – 8 varieties
  2. Peppers – 5 to 7 varieties (they got a little jumbled up, so it’s hard to tell what’s what)
  3. Eggplants – 3 varieties, all besieged by flea beetles
  4. Corn – 2 varieties
  5. Winter and Summer Squash – 8 varieties
  6. Beans – 9 varieties
  7. Okra
  8. Radishes – 3 varieties
  9. Lettuce – mixed
  10. Arugula
  11. Spinach – 3 varieties
  12. Beets – 2 varieties
  13. Collards – 2 varieties
  14. Chard – 2 varieties
  15. Onions – 4 varieties
  16. Cucumbers – 5 varieties
  17. Sunflowers – 3 varieties

Still to be planted are melons (cantaloupes and watermelons), 3 varieties of corn, and brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel’s sprouts, cabbage, kale, romanesco).  Melons will be in very soon, brassicas not for a little while since we’re trying them as a fall crop.  The rain this year prevented a spring crop.

Number four through six, also known as the three sisters, are something we are really looking forward to growing. If you aren’t familiar with the three sisters arrangement, it’s a Native American method of growing corn (which sucks nitrogen up) with pole beans (which fix nitrogen and grow up the corn stalks) and squash (which shades weeds and helps keep critters out by being all prickly.) Instead of planting only one thing in a section, all three are grown together. We’ll have a more thorough post just on this in the future when we see some results, but it’s worth mentioning that it’s gone in well so far. Three sisters in the picture below.

Three Sisters
Three sisters, and some unwelcome grass

The major pests so far seem to have been deer and flea beetles. Deer hit a few peppers before we got them fenced, and they seem to have hit the corn a bit. Flea beetles are munching on eggplant leaves, radishes, and collards. Also keep an eye out for a more detailed post on our pest management strategies.

Anyone with experience in flea beetles? Do they keep causing damage as the plants get larger? And can corn recover from a deer nip while really young? Comment if you know, or we’ll update later.

One last thought: grass. Grass is a pain. We just turned over a field for the first time (at least, the first time in a few decades). Despite numerous passes with the disker, it seems the grass roots weren’t thoroughly busted up. What seemed to be clear-albeit-rocky soil was really just a cover-up for the grass growing beneath it. As the plants sprang up after a good rain storm, so did the grass (see both pictures in this post). PLEASE: If you know how to deal with grass without killing the surrounding plants, help us Obi Wan Kenobi. You’re our only hope.

Chicken Hat

Chicken Hat
Nick wears the chicken hat

We were taking care of the chickens a few days ago, right around dusk. This little black bird decided it really wanted to be (a) out of the pen and (b) right on Nick. If you’ve never had a chicken flap directly at your head, let me tell you, you are missing out on quite an experience.

Anyway, chickens are doing good. We recently free ranged them, opening up the fence and letting them roam around. Look out for a post with some ranging chickens soon!

Planted!

First plant!
Well, we did it! I think we can officially call ourselves farmers now that we’ve got the first plants of our first season (finally!) in the ground.  The incredibly wet weather has held us up quite a bit, but we’re finally rolling.  The good news (if you want to look at it that way) is that almost all of the other farmers in our area are in the same soggy boat. Continue reading “Planted!”