The year started off with a nice and dry spring. Our Mennonite friends, the Weaver family who own Rainsboro Produce started our tomato, broccoli and cauliflower plants. This was in exchange for us growing their strawberry plugs. Bartering with good people is fantastic when possible. The asparagus harvest was our best ever soon to be followed by a strong strawberry harvest. Next came our currants and gooseberries. The blackberry and peach crops were damaged by the -18°F winter temps. A bright and tasty spot was the donut peaches. They and 2 other hardy varieties came on strong.
Rain and more rain, for 6 weeks made the summer growing season a muddy mess. Cauliflower and broccoli rotted in the row and thousands of fall vegetable transplants were composted because of the field conditions. We were able to transplant the late tomatoes into the old strawberry beds and they produced well until the first freeze in late October. Pumpkins squash and gourds were no till seeded into rye cover crop. This allows us to not only grow fine produce it also stores carbon in the soil and conserves moisture and cools the soil. We then harvest clean pumpkins, squash and gourds even after a good rain. The fall crops did well and were very important to our bottom line this year. Over 90% of our farm is seeded with cover crops going into winter. On 50 acres we have seeded rye along with vetch, winter pea, clover, tillage radish and Ethiopian cabbage. These plants will overwinter to grow tons of biomass per acre next spring.
Now that the crops are harvested Jon has turned his attention to lowering the farm’s carbon footprint. He attended a week long Photo voltaic Design/Installation Course at Rural Action in Athens, OH and passed the exam. During the next year a grid tied system will be installed at the farm designed to generate 95% of the electricity needed.
Now it’s time to order seeds and plan for the next year!