CSA Box Content Pictures

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Farm Happenings mid-March 2016

It's been a busy month at the farm preparing for our first harvest in May.
Seeds typically need to be planted 3-4 months in advance of harvest.
Right now, many thousands of plants are growing for our CSA subscribers.

This year at the farm, every Saturday is a Volunteer Day!
So if you ever wanted to be a farmer for half a day, come on out.
Full details at  Saturday Farm Volunteer Days

Here's one of our Saturday volunteer crews transplanting out Kale seedlings.
It's fun to see Bay Area urbanites enjoying back-to-dirt work.

These volunteers planted pink lady flower bulbs above the pond.

This Indian couple had never been to a farm before, they enjoyed holding
a chicken (and shovel) for the first time.

These ladies are planting Swiss Chard seedlings.  Farm dress can include painted nails and high-fashion boots!

This group's transplanting the beautiful white calla lily flowers that grow wild at the farm.

Here's a helper and Cain planting Sunflowers and Cosmos around the vegetable field.  They should look gorgeous in mid-summer and they'll attract bees and beneficial insects.

 On this workday, we mulched the orchard trees with wood chips.

 Here's a load Saha is driving up the hill to the orchard.

Putting them in wheelbarrows for the manual laborers to move to the trees.

After that heavy duty wood chip spreading day, one our wheelbarrows gave out.  Luckily farm supporter, Heather Lussier (a Certified Professional Photographer) donated a new one to the farm.

 This bobcat has been sighted on a neighboring field, undoubtedly hunting gophers.

Here's one reason Ananda eggs taste so good.  Ananda chickens get to free range by a pond, amongst the flowers, and in the vision of our outdoor altar.

Our old chicken coop was too small and needed to be moved out of the field to make room for more vegetable planting.  It was a two-tractor job.

 We put a lot of effort into improving our soil.  Here I took about 100 or so partially
 rotted pine wood stakes and pounded them into a hoop house growing beds.

 They will rot in the ground, providing food for worms and microbes. 
Ultimately turning into compost and fertilizer for the plants.

In our hoop house we've added a lot of wood chip mulch to help improve the soil.

Worms love wood chips.  Can you spot the worm in this picture?  It's at about 11 o'clock just above the tomato seedling.

Notice the worm holes in this picture.  These worm holes provide an ideal growing chamber for plant roots.  They allow oxygen into the ground and they stay moist and best of all the worm leaves it's fertilizer rich castings around the inside of the hole.  It's the ideal condition for a plant root to grow into.

 Here's an up-close photo of a root growing in a worm hole.

A big disadvantage of wood chips is that they provide an ideal habitat for pill bugs aka rollypollies.
Here's a horde of them devouring our recent squash transplant

 This guilty rollypollie just felled a tomato transplant by munching around its base.
For his crime, he was tossed out into the field.

 To protect our seedlings for the munching pill bug hordes, we had to rake back the wood chip mulch.
Interesting fact: pill bugs have gills and need moist ground to breathe. So they can't stay on dry surface ground for too long.  When the plants get bigger we'll try raking the wood chips back. 

After all our efforts to get a good crop of tomatoes & squash growing in our hoop house, nature and in particular the last storm had other plans.  Oh well, we did need bigger greenhouse growing area for our expanding CSA, guess it is time to build one (donations gladly accepted!).
Many cool weather farmers cover the soil of their beds with black plastic.  This helps heat and keep the soil warm, allowing them to plant hot weather loving plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, ...
For the time being we'll be doing the same.

May we all rise on the winds of change!