Archive for August, 2013

Stop, Thief!

The strawberry thief was caught red handed, unable to resist the combination of fresh sliced strawberries and peanut butter.

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He was rather calm and accepting of his temporary imprisonment until our dog came to investigate, then he became quite aggressive and vocal.  He was released shortly after this at an undisclosed location far away from our residence.

New research in raccoon behavior suggests they are rather social animals, and often communicate locations of food sources to other raccoons.  If this is the case, there are probably more raccoons to trap and release just like this one.

This hopefully means more strawberries for us and our customers!

-Bruce

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Garden update

On July 28th, I posted a few pictures of the new crops that were seeded or transplanted.   The weather has been fantastic as of late, almost as if Mother Nature is trying to make amends for the slop she sent our way in May, June, and July!  Here are some pictures of  how much these plants have grown in about 2 weeks:

Cucumbers

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Green Beans

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Green Onions

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Summer Squash

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Radishes

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Lettuce Mix

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Snap Peas

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Carrots

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Strawberries

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The everbearing strawberries are coming into full production now.  We, however, are having trouble harvesting the berries before the wildlife gets them.  Whatever is eating them is small enough to get through the electric fence, but large enough that rat traps don’t harm them.  I will be placing some live traps tonight to get an idea of what we are dealing with, and hopefully it is not skunks!

-Bruce

Using the Earthway Seeder

The Earthway Seeder is a very useful tool for the for a home gardener with a large garden and it is an indispensable tool for a market gardener.  The Earthway is very reasonably priced considering all the time it will save the average gardener.  The seeder does a remarkable job on large seeded crops such as beans, peas, and corn, but it does struggle a bit with smaller seeded crops such as carrots, lettuce, and brassicas.  To get around this, I simply use different plates than intended and thought I would share what I use in hope that it will help some gardeners or other growers out in the future.

For spinach, the radish plate works well if you want to plant spinach thinly for full size bunching spinach.  If however, you are looking to plant spinach for baby spinach production, the beet plate is a fantastic choice.  Most of my spinach plantings are for baby spinach, so the beet plate is my most commonly used plate for spinach.

For carrot production, I have found the carrot plate to space the carrots too far apart for my liking.  Many folks simply go over each row twice with the carrot plate, but I would prefer to go over each row once, and save time.  To get the carrots seeded thickly in one pass, I have been using the radish plate.  If you are growing a carrot with very small seeds, this plate will definitely plant the carrots too thickly, but Nelson carrots, purchased from Johnny’s work great with this plate.

For lettuce mix production, I again use the radish plate.  It plants the seeds very thickly and achieves a wonderful stand of lettuce for harvest about 28 days after planting.

Green onions are also planted with the radish plate, and it does a very good job with this plate.

I also use the Earthway to plant all of my cover crops.  I use the beet plate for planting annual ryegrass, oats, winter rye, buckwheat, and hairy vetch.  For larger leguminous cover crops, such as field peas, bell beans, or cowpeas, I use the pea plate.  For sorghum and forage radish, I use the radish plate.  Sadly, I have not found a reliable way to seed any types of clover cover crops using the Earthway…

-Bruce

Market Day

It’s a beautiful day to head to the Alta West Farmers’ Market.  Today, we will have basil, summer squash, eggplant, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, cucumbers, French breakfast radishes, yellow onions, red onions, and carrots.  We hope to see you there!

-Bruce