Littlewood Farm crew and worthy volunteers worked overtime last weekend ahead of the coming frosty nights to pull all the squash out of the fields. We ended up with six bins, lower than hoped for but really not too bad at all. My favorite is certainly the buttercup, which is the green pumpkin-y looking squash. They are extremely rich and flavorful, with dark orange flesh. I’m waiting eagerly for them while they cure for a few weeks in the greenhouse. Pulling these squash and the root crops–carrots, potatoes, rutabagas, and daikon radish, are the main projects right now.
September is a rewarding month. We are picking more or less non stop, to keep up with the demand for our produce. The red, yellow and orange sweet peppers are a particularly satisfying crop to harvest. If you are interested in freezing some for the winter, they are easy to process. No blanching needed, just chop and bag. Let us know f you want us to save some seconds for you. These peppers have a blemish and need a trim, but otherwise are the same peppers that cost a lot at the store. 10 pounds for $20. Call 454-8466 to order.
All are welcome here at Littlewood Farm for an open house to share our excitement over the installation of solar panels to generate all the electricity for the farm. We will have a presentation by folks from the Sun Common, the company we worked with on this project. We really support of the idea of extensive, small scale solar electricity generation as an alternative to fossil fuel and nuclear power plants. Snacks will be served.
Now that we’re well past Lamas day it feels like things are changing quickly on the farm. A lot of tension has left, the list of things to do that grew twice as fast as we could do them has steadily shrunk day by day. This past weekend, I couldn’t think of a pressing task to complete, and it was an odd feeling–but then I remembered that the pepper plants, being bore to the ground by the weight of their own fruits, needed immediate stakes to raise them back up. Either the weeds are slowing down, or my attitude around them has changed to one where I just don’t feel like we are locked in close pursuit anymore.
The best part of now though is the endless harvesting. We did our first big carrot pull last week, and its just the beginning.
Finally, the wait is over. Cherry tomatoes have arrived and the bigger varieties are coming on fast. Eggplants are ripe and the first peppers are ready to be savored–not just the green peppers, but based on the refried beans I just made, the jalapenos are in as well. I feel like this is the moment of summer I dream endlessly about, pretty much starting March 1st, and it always seems sudden in its emergence.
Never a lack of things to do. We have been working hard, whenever the rains have relented, to mechanically cultivate and hand weed. No point in letting the weeds take over. Easier by far to get them out when thy are young.
Another important project has been to keep up with the application of approved organic pest controls to minimize crop damage from insects. We always scout first, then use the correct product. Many of the sprays we use are bacterial diseases of insects. Some just interfere with feeding of the insect, or make it hard for them to molt. All for a better organically grown product.
We have had to go back over many plantings and replace plant nutrients that have been carried off by the rains. Overall, our efforts have been sucessful, and we are delivering freshly picked kale and chard to Hunger Mountain Coop 3 times a week.
Last week we used my favorite, and probably the best tractor at Littlewood, the Allis-Chalmers Model G. The G’s engine is in the rear, giving it a fast, Thunder Road look. It only weighs 1,285 pounds, making it super light as far as tractors are concerned. All of the 30,000 Model G’s made were built in a single factory in Gadsden, Alabama between 1948 and 1955. They originally retailed for $970 but can now, due to their style, utility, and relatively small numbers, sell for up to $10,000.
The G is great for the organic farmer. We use it for weed control. The G is uniquely ideal for this because the implements are belly-mounted, meaning that one can look just a foot down to ground-level in order to make sure that the carrots being mechanically cultivated are not being accidentally destroyed. This is crucial for organic production because the grower must actually remove all weeds through physical methods as opposed to chemicals. And the G sure is faster than a hoe.
The first weeks of June always feel like a big push on the farm. We were grateful to have some extra hands to help us get corn, squash, melons, tomatoes, and peppers in the ground. All the transplants are certainly enjoying the constant mist/drizzle today. A big thank you to Danny, Kyle, Cayla, Blake, and Brittany for lending a few hours to get the job done.
I have really enjoyed meeting all the folks who stopped by for our spring plant sale this past month. I am inspired and humbled by all the knowledgeable gardeners in the area. Pete and I just moved to Plainfield at the beginning of April, so it was a great way to meet members of the community. Thanks for all the support!
In other exciting news, Littlewood has gone solar. Over the past two weeks a slow parade of people and vehicles from Suncommon have visited the farm and installed two solar panels that are now feeding the sun’s rays directly into the power grid. It feels good to be creating energy in a way similar to the photosynthetic processes that all the plants we’ve been raising here use.
Things are moving along quickly as always at Littlewood. One hot sunburned week runs into a rainy week. The plum blossoms become all we can think about and then just blow away. The wind in one day cracks a plum limb clear off, felling a tree to puncture our irrigation and another to knock out everyone’s power on the road for an afternoon. We’re putting seedlings out to field as fast as we can. Up on the top bench we’ve got cabbage, kale, lettuce, potatoes, and chard already getting established. Just yesterday Emily and I planted 3000 corn plants in the lower field and then today picked and shipped 100 pounds of spinach to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington. It almost makes me want to go to the hospital. In other regards, the Spring Plant Sale continues for two more weeks, come on by.