Friday, April 29, 2011

A few more pictures

Solar panels

Drilling the holes for the poles

Concrete pump truck - it can pump the concrete about 100 feet. And its operated remotely with the controls he's wearing around his waist. Wow! Neither of us had ever seen one of these before. Its pretty amazing to watch the hydraulics unfold in the air.

Well, we've had a whole 24 hrs with no rain (fingers crossed, knock on wood, etc.).
So we've been pulling weeds - yes - weeds have already started growing. Unfortunately we've not had a chance to use our new cultivation equipment. Its just been too wet even for that.
But our blueberries bushes and little pawpaw trees have been mulched.
With most of our tilling, seeding and transplanting being delayed, we may be asking for some help possibly next weekend with transplanting. If the ground dries out this week we will need to begin transplanting onions, broccoli, cabbage, kale and chard. We'll update you next week on whether this will be possible or not. We realize this would be very short notice, but unfortunately we don't have control over this. But also if the weekend doesn't work for you, we would welcome help any day you want to come up and get your hands dirty. Just give a call ahead of time. If we get a few more sunny, warm, windy, rain-free days, we will be able to till and the plants will be going in the ground.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tilling OK!

We just got in from tilling. We were able to get 12 more beds prepared (with our new tiller!).
We didn't think it would be dry enough, but it was - just barely (except for a few low spots).

April showers

These are the racks that will be mounted on large poles. The solar panels will be mounted on the racks.

This ditch will be for the electric to run from the panels to the inverter in our basement.

One of the few beds we have been able to get planted. These are lettuce transplants that were beaten by the wind and snowed upon after they were transplanted. They still look good though!

We know of a farming couple that say they that whenever customers ask about how the farm or business is going, they always say "Superb", "Wonderful". I guess that's because farmers have a reputation or stereotype that they complain too much - mainly about the weather.
So I don't want to complain too much, but I will be honest - this has been the wettest, coldest spring since we started farming ten years ago.
The rain we've been having at least every few days means that the soil has not had a chance to dry out properly. This means that we cannot get into the fields to prepare our vegetable beds. If we try to operate the rototiller in the soil when it is wet we will end up with "smeary" soil that will form into chunks that will be as hard as rocks when it dries. Vegetables need loose crumbly soil in which to form their roots and that kind of damage could take years to amend.
So mostly we wait. We had one afternoon when part of our field was dry enough to till, so we took advantage of it and got some beds prepared and planted. Last year we got our first beds planted April 5 - this year it was almost two weeks later. I will attempt to till a few more beds this afternoon before more rain sets in tonight, but it may be too wet. And the forecast for next week has showers every day. It has also been quite cold with some snow showers, so we are not sure even that the seeds we did get in the ground will actually germinate or if they will rot in the ground.
The one comforting thought is that we know all the other farmers in the area are experiencing the same frustrations and we'll get through it together!
What this means is that when (if?) the soil does dry out we will have a lot of planting (3-4 weeks worth) to do all at once.

On a happier note, installation has commenced on our solar panels! See pictures above.
Check back in a couple days for more pictures.