The kids and I seeded ten flats of lettuce this evening—the last greenhouse seeding of 2017! Sensing my excitement, both kids gave a whoop, which naturally spurred me to tick off all the tasks still ahead—potato harvest, winter squash harvest, garlic planting, etc. Before I got too deep into the list, however, I stopped myself. There’s still plenty of work, to be sure, but the kids were right to whoop. Fall is upon us, and the frenetic pace of summer has definitely slowed.
Morning mist rising beyond the sweet potato field
At this point, Steve and I are celebrating a major victory on the weed front. For the first time ever, our late-August field of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and winter squash is virtually weed-free! These crops are the most challenging to keep clean, because they remain in the ground for so long. We cultivate them as much as possible when the plants are young, but once they vine out, the field becomes an impenetrable sea of green. At that point, all we can do is hope for the best. In previous years, our “best” inevitably succumbed to 5’ high weeds, making harvest difficult and sowing future problems. This year, however, we bought a tractor-drawn tine weeder, which uproots shallow weeds without bringing deeper seeds to the surface. After hemming and hawing over the purchase last spring, Dan and I finally decided to take the plunge, and now, as we survey our fall fields, we know it was the right choice.
Of course, the tractor doesn’t get all the credit for keeping the fields clean. We were grateful to have Peter Notarnicola return to the summer crew, and to be joined by Kieran Frodell, a farming newbie who took to the fields like a fish to water. Their commitment, professionalism, and good humor made for a great summer, and thanks to their hard work, Dan, Steve and I anticipate coasting into the fall with (relative) ease.