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Summer is in full swing at the farm and we’re sure having fun!

Our garden is producing tons of food. I picked the first big slicing tomato today and am looking forward to a yummy BLT sandwich (with bread from the bakery, of course).

We’ve had a good summer so far with many successes. There is so much to learn about gardening and growing food. Some things work and some things don’t. Especially growing organically and not being able to use some of the chemicals that although may not be good for our bodies, work very well. This makes it exciting and challenging and new every year.

I finally bought some organic fertilizer this year. In prior years, we tried to get by by amending the soil with compost and cover crops. Most things worked, but not everything thrived. I found a source through a local market farmer to buy SUSTANE fertilizer made locally in Cannon Falls. This product is aerobically composted fertilizer that has all or most of the nutrients and humic substances that will help with optimal plant growth. This has made a big difference in our garden. I noticed changes 3-4 days after the first application.

Check out some of these photos:

Sweet Corn

We’re a week to ten days away from eating our own sweet corn. Corn is a heavy feeder requiring large amounts of nitrogen. I’ve never actually succeeded at growing it. I believe the fertilizer is the difference.

Sweet Corn Getting Bigger

Here is our second crop of corn. This looks much better than the first crop. I was able to fertilize right as the plants emerged from the ground and they just took off. Much more consistent also.

Rainbow Chard

Kale

We grow a lot of both Rainbow Chard and Kale and they become a staple of our summer meals.

Horseradish

Even my horseradish is thriving with the new fertilizer.

Zucchini

We grow about fifty zucchini plants each summer to supply the bakery with hundreds of pounds for the zucchini bread we make at The Great Harvest Bread Co. The plants look great this year and so far have no squash bugs. My wife, Carolyn, thinks we have finally built up the soil to a healthy enough level to grow plants that are so vital they resist pests. I hope she’s right!

Strawberries

I developed a new strawberry bed this year. The plants are finally taking hold.

Strawberry Runners

Here is what is supposed to happen at this time of a new plants life. Runners come out. If I tuck them in the soil they will send down roots and start a new plant. By next spring this strawberry bed should be covered in plants.

Mulching Grapes

I recently mulched my small vineyard. I started by putting a side-dressing with SUSTANE fertilizer and then a thick 3-4” layer of compost and a very thick layer of wood chips. I then watered each vine for 15 minutes. The vines had been looking very sad with the lack of rainfall. Four days after the watering every vine had new growth coming out and the leaves looked full and healthy!

In other farm news, we got chicks this summer.

Here are Grant and Millie doing artwork out in the portable chicken house. Look carefully and you can see Carolyn enjoying a long summer afternoon. And who is that on Millie’s head?

Remember Gordy?

Gordy is finally getting big. He loves to eat and sleep out in the pasture. We expect sometime this fall to bring him in for processing.

And remember the baby goats?

All five goats are big and strong and rambunctious.

They love to run around and climb on anything they can find.

I’ll leave you with this picture of some grapes after a much needed rain last night.

We’ll be eating them in 3-4 weeks!

Until next time…

 

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