Wednesday, October 15, 2008

End of Season Clean-Up begins!

I know it's hard to see in the picture, but there was a HUGE gaggle of geese flying south for the winter that flew over Adam's Berry Farm on Monday. This embodied the timeliness of our activity this past week - frantically cleaning up the farm before leaving for Terra Madre next Tuesday! We have spent the last 2 days harvesting out the final rounds of crops, removing Lumite the Landscape Fabric from his valiant works in weed suppression on the farm, and mowing everything down. Tomorrow we disk it all in, except for one small, but hopeful patch smack in the middle of the field containing lettuces, spinach, arugula and radishes for our personal fall dining. We still have the hoophouse to tackle and cleaning up of all the greenhouse space we used this year for the microgreens project, but we are very nearly there. It feels good to be winding down and know that all we have to do when we get back from Italy is install our HayGrove hoophouse! A seemingly daunting task, but we have great support from the HayGrove folks - not to mention the Intervale Center, that worked tirelessly to ensure that we could in fact put it up this season. This was crucial to be able to install it before the ground freezes so that the skeleton is in and all we need to do in the first spring thaw (around early February) is to put on the plastic sheet to warm up the soil so that we can begin planting - we anticipate getting our first seeds in the ground in late February or early March! This will revolutionize how we farm and we are beside ourselves with excitement and looking into the future of Half Pint Farm. But, first things first, and on to the clean-up we go!

So, first unclip all those tomato plants, then pull up the tomato twine, which is buried in the soil with the plant.
Next, coil up the tension wire and string together. Then, remove the stakes.
Pull all the plants off of the Lumite and remove the drip tape. I like the colors of the dropped tomatoes in this picture.
Brush off a bit of the foliage, and then remove all of the landscape tacks. Make map of holes so that we know how many plants to plan for next year.
If you're a dog, munch on the detritus.
Pull the Lumite off of the field.
Drag onto the grassy alley nearby.
Fold up.
Roll to side and get ready to disk the field!

On to the swale field! There we had cardoons to harvest, so we chopped them down and dragged them to the side of the field to process.

Processing cardoons. This is only the 3rd picture this year of us together! I guess things have slowed down enough for us to set the timer on the camera!
Remove all plants from Lumite and remove landscape tacks. Smeems looks on pensively as he wonders what's happening to his farm. Not to worry, though, there's plenty of mice and voles that have been rousted from their Lumite hideouts to chase!
Remove plants from Lumite
. Make map of holes so that we know how many plants to plan for next year. Pull into grassy alley nearby. Fold.A striking sight greeted us as we peeled up the Lumite - worm castings galore! The little guys definietly like the plastic mulch and have been working hard all season!

We really enjoyed the Lumite and though the clean up took us one day per 24'x300' piece, we figure that we only weeded once on those surfaces all year - so it was a fair trade! Thank you Lumite!

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