Though our summer squashes have only been in the ground a few weeks, we’re nearly ready to make our first harvest! Our pollinators have been doing their job splendidly. Summer squashes like the yellow crookneck we have planted are pretty fast growers. Once one of their squash blossoms is pollinated, it can take as little as a week before the squash is ready for harvest. If you’re as excited for the first squash of the season as we are, make sure to stop by the veggie wagon on Saturday from 8am to noon to scoop some up. If you’d like a little inspiration as to how to prepare your squash, check this recipe in our seasonal cookbook.
Now that our cantaloupes and watermelons have produced their second set of leaves, we’ve been working to properly thin out the plants. When a seed germinates, it produces its first set of leaves referred to as the cotyledon. These leaves aren’t considered “true leaves” as they are part of the embryonic stage of the plant. The true leaves are the second set produced after the embryonic stage and they bear a closer resemblance to the mature leaves of the plant. Once the true leaves are produced it signifies that the plant is ready for transplanting or in the case of our melons, ready to be thinned. This process allows us to ensure that each plant will have enough room to properly grow and produce fruit. Our watermelon mounds for instance were thinned down to four plants each. We make sure to trim off rather than pull up the plants we thin as not to disturb the root systems of the plants that will remain in the ground.
In case you haven’t had a chance to stop in yet, we’ve got eggs incubating in the Farmhouse! We officially started the process this past Tuesday with four different chicken breeds: Austra White, Barred Rock, Cuckoo Maran, and Delaware. It will take approximately 21 days in the incubator before our chicks begin to hatch. In order to incubate properly, the eggs are turned at least 2-3 times per day until they reach the last few days before hatching. At this point, the incubator will keep the eggs stationary as the embryos are moving into their hatching position. Once they hatch, we’ll keep them in the brooder until they are fully feathered and can regulate their own body heat. At that point, we’ll be able to move them to their “Chicken Chateau” built by Farm Educator Adam.