Have you had a chance to stop by the farmhouse to see the eggs incubating? In addition to our beloved goats we will soon have chicks on the farm. They are set to hatch heading into the weekend though one of the eggs was already showing signs of hatching on Wednesday! Once hatched the chickens will need plenty of time to rest and dry off in the brooder which is the black plastic tub sitting next to the incubators. There will be heat lamps on the chicks as they cannot yet control their body temperatures. Resting in the brooder for the next couple of weeks will allow the chicks the proper environment to grow and fill out. Among the breeds hatching are Barred Rock, Ameraucana, and White Leghorn. There will be a class taking place at the end of May in the farmhouse with Chicken Mike of the Garden Hen to provide plenty of firsthand knowledge and to help release the chicks into their new coop. Make sure to stop by the farmhouse and see our brand new baby chicks this weekend!
Old crops were tilled down this week on half of the South Farm and about a third of the North Farm. This was done in order to plant sudangrass, a beneficial cover crop. The sudangrass suppresses root knot nemotodes and when planted densely enough, inhibits the growth of weeds. It will also help replenish nitrogen in the soil and when it is eventually mowed down, will provide healthy organic matter as well. Planting cover crops is a controlled way to allow the land to grow fallow and control things like soil health and erosion.
Since it’s a major part of the day-to-day duties on the farm, more weeding was done this week. The planter boxes by the model homes, the tomatoes, and the garlic were weeded. Though it seems like a mundane task it is vital to the health of our crops! Weeds compete with crops for water, nutrients, and sunlight and can aversely affect yields when not properly managed.
This spring has been an unusually dry one so the team has been using a lot of irrigation to provide the needed moisture for our crops. Subsurface drip tape was buried beneath the rows of crops in order to deliver water and nutrients directly to the soil and roots at low pressure and flow rates. Among the many benefits of using this type of irrigation are increased yields, decreased overall water use by operating at lower levels of water pressure, and easier access to the fields as there are no pipeline obstacles.