October 30, 2014 Farm News

A portion of the garden as it was in mid June

A portion of the garden as it was in mid June

About the same spot in the garden yesterday. Swiis Chard still has some good leaves though a lot has been damaged by frost and just plain cold weather.

About the same spot in the garden yesterday. Swiis Chard still has some good leaves though a lot has been damaged by frost and just plain cold weather.

This is the last CSA vegetable pickup for the 2014 season, this Thursday, October 30.   We had 18 weeks this season which was two weeks shorter than we would have liked but we did have good quantities, good quality and a pretty good variety each week.  Some weeks we had over twenty different vegetables on the tables for pickup.

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The CSA shares on the tables earlier this fall.

The CSA shares on the tables earlier this fall.

This past season was a very good one, the weather provided lots of rain except for two short dry periods, so growth was quite steady.  Overall though it was a little cool, especially at nights, so some of the hot weather vegetables such as Peppers, Eggplants and Tomatoes did not do quite so well as we would have hoped for but we did get quite a lot from them even at that. The early blight of Potatoes and Tomatoes was not so much of an issue as it has been in past years although the conditions, cool and damp, were seemingly good for the blights.

The pepper plants were not quite as large as they might have been but still they produced a lot of fruits.

The pepper plants were not quite as large as they might have been but still they produced a lot of fruits.

The bigger problem for us happened early on in the spring when we were delayed and delayed again by the prolonged cool spring and this was compounded by our too late acquisition of our replacement team of horses and then a new foal.  We also had a near complete failure of our Garlic crop (and as yet we still don’t know why this happened) and we were unable to plant our Corn and the only winter Squash and Pumpkins were from some plants that came up on their own from some of the squashes left in the garden last season and from some that came up in the pasture from the kitchen compost pail that went out to the chickens and the horses.

Incredibly there were 33 of these pumpkins on the one plant.  At the stem of each of the pumpkins there was a very strong thick root coming from the long stems.

Incredibly there were 33 of these pumpkins on the one plant. At the stem of each of the pumpkins there was a very strong thick root coming from the long stems.

So the big problem sort of disappeared and everything seems to have worked out  reasonably well.

Aerron with the new team of horses.

Aerron with the new team of horses.

One of our new team of mares, Nell, with her foal back in June.

One of our new team of mares, Nell, with her foal back in June.

The wee foal Leucan is wee no longer and he looks good in his long, rough, winter coat.

The wee foal Leucan is wee no longer and he looks good in his long, rough, winter coat.

The mare Marta loogs great and we expect her to foal in February or March.  hope the weather is nice as we don't want her inside to foal.

The mare Marta loogs great and we expect her to foal in February or March. hope the weather is nice as we don’t want her inside to foal.

Marta, Leucan and mother mare Nell on the right.  Photo taken on Wednesday.

Marta, Leucan and mother mare Nell on the right. Photo taken on Wednesday.

We are already planning for next season.  We have decided, finally, that we should try to get some interns for next season, and we all but confirmed that we will have someone working for us next season to help Aerron in the animal department as well as lending his help to the vegetable garden.  We do need probably two more interns for the vegetable patch mainly.  In the organic farm vegetable gardens in Ontario, and in other CSA farms, the use of interns and apprentices has been very common for quite some time now.  An intern is someone who will work the season, often from May 1 to September or October for a stipend of typically $80 to $100 each week and veggies and eats, sometimes room and board.  The intention is to learn how do organic farming by doing and by learning from those who have been doing it.  If any one is interested or knows someone who may be, please contact us. this past season we were very fortunate to have help from our working sharers who did far more work than was required.

I didn't have any good photos of garden helpers this season but this lot was helping Maggie and Aerron  in the summer of 2013.

I didn’t have any good photos of garden helpers this season but this lot was helping Maggie and Aerron in the summer of 2013.

We will soon be getting new 2015 seed catalogues and I will soon be searching the internet for the seed lists from the various wonderful seeds companies, all of which sell in addition to the usual vegetables many varieties which are unusual and different and many of which are organically grown too.  We always compile a wish list for some pretty exotic things, though reality dictates that we must stick mostly with the usual.

Preparing to plant the potatoes in early June with other things just starting to grow.

Preparing to plant the potatoes in early June with other things just starting to grow.

So once the last CSA pickup is done we will concentrate on preparing for winter, and we have a lot of preparing to do.  Lots of firewood to be gathered, work to do be finished on the chicken house, though we have done most of it now, work to be done on winter pasture for horses and cows, and we still need to get all our hay up from neighbours’ fields though we finally did get all the loose hay picked up from the 10 acre field on Kirby Crescent.  We also need to put bags of compost away and bring some compost up from the garden for the spring time.  We do have a lot to do.

When we were able, if we had the time, we would load the truck with more than twice this amount of hay.  The truck would carry almost a half wagon load.

When we were able, if we had the time, we would load the truck with more than twice this amount of hay. The truck would carry almost a half wagon load.

Both sides of the chicken house sub-roof are now complete and we now have to put the cover on and finish the sides. Much more to do here.

Both sides of the chicken house sub-roof are now complete and we now have to put the cover on and finish the sides. Much more to do here.

We will also expand the CSA size next season going from the 45 0f you this past season now finishing to some where between 60 and 80 members for next season.  This will of course mean that we will have to be sure to have everything well organized and have our workforce ready.  We figure that we are up to the challenge.  Bring on 2015.  A warm spring 2015 would be nice !

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