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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Learning Experiences

It's the busy season for us farmers so that is why I have not been posting very often.

Lots of produce is beginning to come in enforce- tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, cucumbers, strawberries, green beans all need to be harvested daily plus the onions are about ready to come out and that's a big job pulling them than finding a place to cure them. And now that we are buying in large amounts of sweet corn we are having a storage space problem-most of these things need to be in refrigeration, especially in the heat and humidity we are having-but the corn is taking up more than its' fair share of space meaning that some things have to be kept in coolers with ice packs or left out in the heat. Fortunately sales at the farm store are picking up steadily so each day we get rid of more and more corn leaving more and more space for other things. Of course, we order more corn and have the same crisis of space when it is delivered. Ah c'est la vie

We do have a reprieve of sorts, in that we have had so much rain the past 2 weeks (9.25 inches in less than 8 days-most of it falling in two 24 to 36 hour periods) that the first two carrot plantings have completely rotted. So at least we do not have to find cold storage for several hundred pounds of carrots. The first potatoes have also been badly hurt by the excessive ground moisture as well. At least the taters are not a total lost like the carrots, which are orange mushy spikes. The taters have some solidity and about 1/3 are quite useable but the rest...well lets just say rotting spuds are not the best smelling things in the world.

I would be very upset about these crop failures but we knew this would be a learning year for us. Each piece of land is different and it takes several seasons to know what your land is all about. So far we have learned that the north edge of our top field is too wet for root crops but would be good for corn, basil, eggplant, celery, strawberries and other water loving crops. Eugene plans on opening up about 30 new beds on the south edge of the the top field because that area is very very well drained and there should be not problems with roots getting water logged. Plus that area is much closer to the water supply so it it gets too dry we can easily irrigate the area.

We also know that our bottom field wants to be a wetlands very badly and we may develop it back into one. But it has to be a profitable wetlands environment so we have to find out what sort of food plants would work in a very wet area with what we assume to be gladed soils (though the ground just may be really rich top soil like a silt loam since it is at the bottom of a terminal moraine).

Than there is the fact that the people here in Preble County who stop by the farm store have different tastes in food than the people who come to the Oxford farmers' Markets. Eggplant and baby specialty zucchinis, for example, are not flying off the shelves here but in Oxford are strong sellers. So either we switch to different crops or we educate the public as to the wonders of these exotic varieties we grow. Probably a bit of both will happen over the years.

And that is all I have time for today, the store is open and I have people setting up tents and tables for the big 127 Yard sale this coming weekend. And it is HOT.

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