Journey

We, my husband and I bought an old forgotten farm in eastern Pennsylvania a few decades ago; I was blessed to live here with the brilliance of nature, woods and fields bursting with every season’s song.

I had always grown vegetables every summer for my family and kept up with the growing trends and challenges in agriculture via net. As of 2 years ago I had the luck of having a High Tunnel built after a couple of years of trial and error in farming for our family and for our community. It has been a learning experience with the growing seasons being longer and the new high temps that extend threw the summer months. I have learned the hard way in regulating temperatures but I learned so much by necessity….water systems, micro organisms, cold crops and the limitations of my own labor. Having a High Tunnel puts farming on a whole new level and with my 2 years of adapting to it’s wonders and a tractor in 2018 the victories in all my struggles will finally payoff

Now that 2017 is closing I have included my schedule for Sweeterra. his year was a solo year and hoe and shovel were my best tools. I can not be successful without a tractor for our future as a profitable farmer. I have also done an incredible study and research on the lantern fly….taking notes from China, South Korea and Mauritius.  Also my observations of Montreal’s Farmers Markets was an incredible experience. I took pics to remind me of how they distributed color and made their stands very appealing. I will include my summery of my notes on Lantern Flies in the next few weeks.

APRIL

6 built table for seedlings
7 sharpened garden tools and organized cabinet with supplies
8 improved table for seedlings
9
10 pulled up turnips in 2 rows ( planted in 2016 to keep soil loose with it’s big roots
11 picked up a gas fuel tank for farm $100 craigs
12 Picked up plastic Mulch at Pine Valley Farm ( Burkholder) Merivin will use 2000ft.tele 610 894 5151.
13 prepped #1 row and sowed seeds…mix and dwarf Kale. Cleared 1 outside row for planting
14 row #2 Collards  Laid drip line and plastic mulch 
15 Mervins 8 flats ( radish, (2) kale, okra, rutabaga(2),mixed lettuce, escarole, …They are very root bound and some are too soon for the season. I can not give this task to him again. He was to start my plants early. Very disappointing.
Bought BX mulch $27.95
Bought some Weaver seedlings
Planted lettuce in outside raised bed that was prepped ( cleared, hoed and raked). Lettuce was mulched Laid drip line and plastic mulch
16 Planted cabbage in outside row and kale and collards inside where seeds were previously planted ( row 1 and 2 ) I need this head start. Laid drip line and plastic mulch Seeded flats
17 Cleaned outside of gas tank and painted gas tank
18 Used water and aged chicken manure to feed row 1 . Wheel barrel full of rich dirt and BX  soil were used to build the rows up. ($24 )
19 Outside HT plastic mulch was placed and weighed down with bamboo on 2 rows next to HT. 
Seeded lettuce …mixed variety
20 Used water and aged chicken manure to feed row 2. Built us row with rich soil and mulch       $24
21 Called around…Mervin and Henry will not plow my fields this year. OUCH!! I called around to find out who could do my fields….no on yet.
22 Filled 30 flats with BX soil for future seedlings
23 18 Blue Berry bushes did not survive. I pulled them out. Cleared over head frame in HT
 24 Planted escarole outside HT in B1 ( used shovel and hoe. Laid drip line and plastic mulch)
25 
26Tried to rototill. machine is non functional. I have to use hoe and shovel.Pulled up turnips 9 hours
27 Hoe and shovel in HT for rows to be built up. Pulled up turnips. Dumping all turnips and plant disposal in pile outside of HT for mulch pile11 hrs
28 Moving wheel barrel full of lama soil in from outside of HT to build up rows.  10 hrs
29 
30

MAY

1 May…busy researching seeds that ae heirloom and Oher farmer sites .
 
NOTE The Market Gardener and notes from Pat Mangas are the best guides so far in farming for me. 
 
2 I made up labels and bought supplies ( including BX 3.8 cubes)
 
3 Set up hoops and plastic for beans, squash and endive
 
4planted parsley flat and Marshellow flat. Seeded in flats squash. 
 
NOTE. Seed all squash ( summer) directly in soil. Take stronger but plants are so much stronger and bearing. WAtered
 
5prepped some rows ( pulled turnips out and buried some for bio mass in rows. built up with 3.8X 3. BX mix with micro Riz.
 
6 Researched seeds from Fedco. Ordered Planted remainder of parsley near house . Hoed Rhubarb next to barn. watered
 
7 Hung some of the 2016 turnips that matured in the HT over the winter for their seeds.mTook saved seeds from summer of 2016 and planted them ( for turnip geens)  Mixed BX with dirt in HT for 1 row. soi is hard. Weed wacked in HT where the turnip greens were too tall to pull out by hand.Filled bird feeders and repaired feeders to 7 locations ….2 in HT
 
NOTE  sowing turnip greens to winter over int he HT …makes too much work in the next season
 
8 Established Mulch pile outside and rear of HT . watered
Planted  12 Chinese cabbage , 9 bean bush bean plants, 9 lemon cucs, 3 regular cucs , 24 snow peas ( on side of HT with a white picket fence for support) Borrowed incubator for fertilized eggs!!!
 
9Auction @ Kutztown/ to observe. Seeded: Mixed greens, Kale mix nd Jute
 
9 Started to repair lower field fence, weed wacked .placed some plastic mulch on rows.
 Bagged sawdust  from Bills
Filled prep section in barn with sawdust ….filled several truck loads.
Truck repairs. Watered
 
10planting bought spaghetti squash
    power washing ( rented) some supplies and house deck
planted asparagus starters…prepped area outside of fence ) 20ft by 50ft area…by pic and shovel rake and hoe. watered
 
11 bought dehydrator for vegetables  bartered
 
12 Seeds arrived from Beaver Creek!!!
 
13spread wood chips and continued cleaned out section of barn for produce storage.watered
 
NOTE Need 1.cold cellar. Temp in barn is not great …humidity is also an issue 2. some squash plants may have crossed pollenated due to being planted too close???..Some 2016 saved seeds did not germinate
 
14 Finished prep area in Barn with shelving from wooden boxes, bags and containers for produce Baskets and sign making for stands
 
15 Painted gas tank and feed cans. Bought pain and supplies. Weeded
 
16 Planted squashes and sunflowers in and outside of ht watered
 
17 DEAMON ground hog …destroyed all my Tomaotes planted outside.  weeded.Cleared part of basement for future germination. 
 
 
18huge plumbing problem in basement. Started repairs. watered
 
19 making a hose and sprinkler possible for basement. Plumbing …still needs repairs.Watered
 
20 Need plumber…for repairs. Pinehill FArm…..went there t by 2000 ft of plastic mulch @.037cents a ft also bought two flats
 
21 checked a wood splitter from K3YGI . Cleaned out chicken coopwatered
 
22 repaired chicken coop
 
23 String cut. Cleared out hill side. improved water system with new connectors watered
 
Note…water system needs to be checked for holes under plastic occasionally.
 
24 weeded rhubarb and watered it. Built low stone fence around it . mixed chicken manure with water and molasses and yeast.
 
25 plastic mulch on 2 rows #1 and #2 outside. anchored down with bamboo.
 
26 Something inside HT at night….kale and collards not good. hhhmmm nother trap is in order.
 
27 Trap not working……revisited. some of anchoring is redone with 20 logs from wood pile
 
NOTE   using last years raised rows with reapplied plastic mulch.
 
28  securing chicken house with new latching system…sliding door.repaired fence around chickens. hand inspected all plants for bugs. Also fixed raised bed for ( mixed )lettuce seeds and starters.
 
29 picked up splitter. Picked up supplies to but a netting roof over fencing at chicken coop …preventing flyers  from leaving and protection from
hawks.
 
30 HT: kidney beans, long red beans and long greens with tied steel lowers for each plnt to climb. HT{ Planted Thai basil, tall basil and lemon basil next to tomatoes. Pulled some plastic that did not dissolve on the rows outside. Rutabaga, collards and tomatoes…eatten again outside of HT.
 
31 ordered okra seeds. loaded down  with  more logs plastic mulch. Every 8 to 10 ft a log must be put Equaling 10 to 12 logs per row. a heavy chore.
 

 JUNE

1 DC
 
2 DC  checked the gardens in DC and the parks for ideas. 
 
3 DC checked the Botonical Garden…..learned little
 
4 DC
 
5 DC 
 
6 Planted Valerium, Astragulas, collards Jute. Watered and weeded
 
7 Tie tomatoe plants and stakes deep. Chicken mix into soil in tomotoe rows in HT. Bought seedlings and planted Dill, herbs:wormwood (P)astagulas(P) aswlaninde(A), mother wort (P) bloodweed (a) Watered
 
NOTE Called ag center about squash plants dieing.Tried /diogenous
on everything leafy
 
8 seeded in flats: collards, cabbage, lettuce nd Mustard greens
weeded front of house flats and built them up with mulch 4 hrs of splitting wood watered
 
9 Weeded and string cut outside HT in lower field and hill side.
 
10 cleared out portion of barn for path to HT supplies. Made mor shelving for seedlings. Picked off bugs from squash plant
 
11 cleared  and organized metal cabnets in HT . Repaired and enforced fence. Watered
 
12made up labels with dates and displayed them accordingly. Prepped flats for future seedlings
 
13 sanitized area for squash storage for winter in basement. Wooden shelves. Picked off bugs again . put Diogenous on soil surrouncding plants
 
NOTE ASTAGULuS plant is TOXIC. I removed it from the HT and did
not replant it.
 
14 Watered and hoed. Put mulch around sides of HT to discourage weeds on both sides. Weed wacked outside along HT .watered
 
15Built supports for storage structure outsideMOved some supplies outdie of HT for more growing area
 
16Basement plumbing again…leak in pipes. Water in basement. Fixing and taking care of damage Watered
 
17 Started to germinate some seeds in basement and fix a place to store seeds. tired water and detergent mixture on bugs on squash plants.
 
NOTE Seeds saved….using paper plates to dry and label and stack before putting in containers works best ..so far.
 
18 REST…feeling worn. watered
 
19Painted down stairs floor. /area for temperature, humidity and light control is established. NEED a plastic tent.
 
20 fertilizing rows in HT and watered.
 
21 Watered overnight by mistake….NEED. timer for next year
 
NOTE NEED. water  timer for next year. Diogen and water with detergent is not working for stinkbugs on squash plants.Hand removal is not working .
 
22 5000 sunflower seeds finally arrived. WATERED. TRIED TO START CLEARING IN UPPER FIELD FOR SUNFLOWERS IN A SPOT THAT WAS COVERED FROM LAST YEAR.IT WAS FUTILE.Ground IS STONE HARD.
 
23 set out plastic in upper field for seeds was impossible. Will ask Leroy for help with his tractor. Removed all plastic and cleared old watering system. Gathered old gourds for 2018 bird houses.
 
24  third attempt at iceplants. Seeding flats. fourth attempt at tomato plants outside of HT in ( 2) 100 ft rows. I have preset tomato stakes and covering seedlings. These must survive….tomatoes: brandy ine, peach, Atlantis, a black variety, Amish. watered
 
25 Sett plastic mulch along outside of HT for better weed control. 
 
26 Pressure treated more  of house deck and supplies. Sharpened hoe. 
 
27 HAND PICKED BUGS OFF OF SQUASH AND DISPOSED OF SOME OF TH ESQUASH PLANTS. watered
 
28.trained bean climbers . set up more supports for beans to climb.  Peas are a lost cause. No idea what was wrong with the peas. Took peas out and put in Lebanese cucumbers
 
29 Rest. Hoed (2 hrs)
 
30 REST 

 

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