We’ve been hard at work this past week shaping more beds on the North Farm to make room for our plethora of summer crops. We will have three different cropping systems: shaped beds covered in plastic mulch, shaped beds with vegetated furrows, and flat beds. The beds covered in plastic mulch will be home to taller growing crops like peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes that will benefit more from the weed suppression provided by the plastic mulch. The beds with vegetated furrows (and no plastic mulch) will be for the crops that like to spread out and grow closer to the ground like squashes. Since their foliage grows so close to the ground it will help to naturally choke out weeds. As for our flat beds, this area is for crops that need a lot of space to produce vines like melons and cucumbers.
Now that our tomatoes are starting to produce fruit, it’s time to fertilize! Every two weeks until the end of their season we will be applying an organic fertilizer with a ratio of 4:2:3. This set of numbers refers to the percentage of Nitrogen to Phosphorous to Potassium by volume. These three nutrients work together to stimulate root, foliage, and fruit growth as well as making plants more resistant to stress, disease, and pests. Our cherry tomato varieties are already setting fruit and since they are the smallest variety, they will be the first ready for harvest. We’re getting pretty excited for that first taste of summer, aren’t you?
On Thursday morning the farm team headed over to Neill Elementary to chat with the entire 5th grade class about farming. One of our hens Paulette was in attendance to help Farm Educator Bonnie discuss the anatomy and digestive systems of chickens, their diet, and their general care. From there the team moved on to discussing the life cycle of a plant and what it needs in order to grow and thrive. After the talk, the team helped the 5th graders transplant tomatoes, peppers, and a variety of flowers into their raised beds behind the library. The kids were really excited to get their hands dirty and take part in the planting process.