CSA Box Content Pictures

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Dry farmed cucumbers?

While walking around a field that we spread wood chips on, I ran across some volunteer cucumbers growing.

It is October and it never rains in the summertime, so these cucumbers germinated and grew with no rain and no irrigation, amazing.  Also they are deep green and very healthy.  The cucumbers in our greenhouse died several weeks ago from powdery mildew.  Yet these "field" cukes have no powdery mildew.  Maybe a deer ate a large cucumber we threw away and deposited the seeds in a pile of fertilizer?

Seeing how well these volunteer cukes look, I will try to see how to plant a large bed of dry farmed cucumbers, next year.

Same cukes as above.  Notice the "planting" of cukes on the right is water deprived.

Our greenhouse cukes died and dried up a few weeks ago due to powdery mildew.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Tilling Wood Chips into Vegetable Fields

AVF CA HSP Video report Sep2108

Ananda Valley Farm trialed tilling wood chips into vegetable fields as part of a California Healthy Soil Program (CA HSP) grant. This video summarizes the result from the 1st year in September 2018.

Contrary to much gardening and farming advice to not till wood chips into beds, we have found it can be beneficial with some caveats.

As part of our grant, we need to show farmers have seen this video. Could you add a comment below with your farm name and whether you might try some of these techniques? THANKS

Also we will be hosting a Field Tour Oct. 20, 2018 Saturday from 11am to Noon.
You can come by and see how we grow and our trial results in person.
Please rsvp by emailing AnandaValleyFarm@gmail.com.
We are in Half Moon Bay, CA (google maps finds us.)

Friday, August 10, 2018

Aug 2018 unedited update

Some unedited videos from July and August are posted at our youtube channel playlist:

CA Healthy Soils Project at Ananda Valley Farm youtube playlist

Overall our trials are going well, below are some pictures of what we harvested this week all from beds that had a light layer of wood chips tilled in during the spring.

Of special note is the Kohlrabi.  It was planted in a bed that had a 4-6" mulch layer of Eucalyptus tilled in.  The mulch was put in place last July 2017 and then tilled in this spring 2018, so it was aged.
The Kohlrabi loved it, largest one weighed 8.6 lbs.  When transplanted we placed about 1 tbsp. of organic 13-0-0 fertilizer with each plant.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Mixing in wood chips: May 17 2018 Update

So far it seems the row with a light layer (~1") of wood chips tilled in is doing the best, better than the control row with no wood chips.

During the unusual spring frosts, we lost almost all of the plants that received chemical fertilizer.  The plants that received organic fertilizer only suffered mild frost damage.

The row with thin layer of fresh Eucalyptus chips mixed in is doing fine.  Where a thick layer was mixed in, the plants are not doing well.

The row with heavy wood chips, was not doing well, lost most plants and replanted.  The plants have only greened up in the last week and are much smaller than the others.  But it seems they may do OK now, too early to tell.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

2018 CSA Planting Update

Our CSA planting is going well although the plants are somewhat behind in their growth because of the unusually cold March we had.  We even lost the initial planting of lettuce due to the frosts.

Our high tunnel is almost fully planted and the tomatoes and cucumbers are coming on nicely.
Last year we finished the high tunnel in late spring.  This year we were able to plant much earlier and expect to have cucumbers and tomatoes in June! (This is a big deal for a coastal farmer.)
You are looking at about 230 tomato plants, 130 cucumbers, 360 pepper plants, 100 basils, over 200 sweet potato plantings.  Soon to be added about 60 cantaloupes.

Also we are trying to grow sweet potato greens (not the tubers) in our high tunnel. This is a common food in Asian cultures, hope others like them.  Here we are planting cut up sweet potatoes purchased at New Leaf Market in HMB.

We are planting lots and lots of broccoli this year as part of the CA Healthy Soils Program grant we received.  See farm website for an article on it. Here are several broccoli rows with different amounts of wood chips and fertilizer mixed into the soil.  There will be over 1,200 broccoli plants growing.  Hope you all like broccoli.

A couple more trays of broccoli growing to plant out the last 2 rows of 7 total for the Healthy Soils trial.

Here is the green bean patch.  Looks like a bunch of weeds doesn't it?  Actually it represents the ultimate in restorative agriculture ... no till, no weeding, letting native plants grow alongside your crops.

We planted perennial green beans here last year and hope they will be able to outgrow the weeds this year on their own.  So far it looks good.  Here are photos of the beans plants starting to sprout from their tubers.

Mustard greens will be a new crop addition this year. Currently the flea beetles love them, so they should taste good!

A long row of zucchini type squash.  This year we are trying a couple new varieties in addition to bringing back the Magda variety from last year.  There is a big difference in flavor between different varieties of zucchini and squash. If you pay attention to it when eating a medley of different types it becomes quite evident. From the ones we've tried, Magda is tops in flavor so far, but we are still trying new ones.

Here is Ken, the farm co-manager and overall maintenance and facilities man, keeping our farm/golf carts running.

Rows of lettuce and baby chard.  This year we increased our path width from 2' to 3'.  It makes it much more enjoyable for the humans tending the field not to feel crowded when working the rows.  Since we have plenty of land, squeezing rows close together isn't necessary.

Row of Phacelia flowers that will attract bees and beneficial insects when blooming, and should look beautiful also.  We will be planting many rows of flowers this year for beauty and bees.

The Brewster Blackbird here is on bug patrol. We very much appreciate his efforts in eating pillbugs, cucumber beetles and other crop pests.  Last year a lady doing PhD research came to the farm to study all the birds.  She exclaimed how wonderful it was to have so many birds on a farm, very unusual.  We agree, it makes it nice to hear so many of them chirping while working.  Now if we could just train the Quail not to eat the young transplants we wouldn't need to put bird netting over most of our plantings.

Finally for now, here are seedlings waiting to get out into the fields and start growing for you.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Mixing in wood chips: 1st year trial setup

We have 7 trial beds where we are exploring mixing wood chips into the soil.
We want to determine what is the most amount of wood chips we can till into the soil while still getting a good harvest the first year.

Shows adding in fertilizer to test beds.

Tilling in the wood chips.

After tilling in.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

CA Healthy Soils Initiative

Our farm has been chosen to participate in a CA Healthy Soils Initiative 3-year project.
Our project proposal was accepted to trial adding wood chips to vegetable fields as a way to sequester carbon, reduce greenhouse gases, and increase the soil health and vitality.