The forecast for the Village Farm next week is for cooler weather, which should make for some happy fall seedlings! A nice heavy soaking last week was just what we needed to get our fall crop going.
The organic matter amendments that were incorporated into the soil over the last few months have improved moisture retention, which will help our seeds set solid roots. At the South Farm, you will see rows of sprouting radishes, turnips, beets, mustard and cabbage.
This week we tilled in between the vineyard rows to incorporate weeds as organic matter and prepare for a clover cover crop, which we broadcasted in the vineyard and orchard just before the rain.
Clover — a legume (related to peas and beans) — will naturally improve soil health and contains bacteria that live symbiotically with the roots. These bacteria remove nitrogen from air pockets (N2) in the soil and fix it to the roots in a form (ammonia NH3) that is available for nutrient uptake.
When we rotate to the next cover crop, either by tilling the clover or direct seeding on top of the clover, fixed nitrogen will be available for future crops. This is nature's fertilizer.
We also had time to till a new field section next to the wash/pack shed that will hold cover crops this fall. Again, the cover crops will produce beneficial organic matter and nutrients for a future succession of crops. We also harvested more sweet potatoes (for storage for the winter) and added a row of trellising to the tomatoes to accommodate their continued growth.
Sweet potatoes have to spend some time curing after they are harvested. We've got plenty hanging in bags on the farm that should be ready to eat soon!