Notes from the Farm: June 24, 2016
By Aidan McNulty
This was my first week working at the George Jones Memorial Farm, and everything has been really great so far. Over the course of this summer I will try to provide weekly updates on the work being done on the farm, the future plans for the summer, and any other relevant happenings at the farm.
We worked on a variety of different tasks, with weeding being the main focus of the week. The onions in the Northern garden needed it the most, and throughout the week nearly everyone helped weed the patch. We only finished weeding roughly half of the onions, so we will have to continue weeding the garden next week as well. The sweet potatoes next to the onions were being eaten by deer, so on Monday we covered them with a white cloth cover which protects them from deer and allows the sunlight to filter through.
We weeded, removed the suckers, and (partially) trellised the tomatoes in the raised beds. The suckers, which are new stems on tomatoes that grow between the main stem and the leaves, needed to be removed so that the tomato plants would continue to grow upright and use their energy to produce fruit, and they were already quite large. The tomatoes and beets in the greenhouses were also weeded, and the beets were thinned so that they are two finger lengths apart.
There were a few miscellaneous tasks we worked on aside from weeding. We held a planning session Thursday morning, were we brainstormed tasks which needed to be done immediately, regularly, and eventually. The raised beds needed to be watered every other day, and the learning garden needed to be watered twice daily. In addition, we dead headed the Bachelor Button flowers in the learning garden so that the flowers would continue to grow well. Denny spent over a day repairing and doing maintenance work on the tractor, and Brad mowed some of the weeds on the farm early in the week. And the duck pen on the Southern portion of the farm was cleaned.
The highlight of my week was when Abbey showed us the bee hives. We put on the suits and put some smoke into the hive to calm them down, then she removed each frame one at a time and inspected them. She explained how you can tell when honey comb is ready by how it is capped with wax, and the reason it is ready is because there is a correct amount of moisture in the honey.
She showed us how to find the eggs, explained how bees swarm to start new hives and what the nests look like for queen bees. Unfortunately, she also said that the bees were acting unusually lethargic, and after speaking with another person who is knowledgeable on bees believes they may be infected with a bacteria.
I’ll keep you updated for the upcoming week, but please let us know if you have any questions or comments!
Notes from the Farm: July 1, 2016
The weather has been beautiful, and the cicadas have been shedding their skin in the forests by the thousands. Throughout the week, we kept working on the same tasks as the week prior—trellising, watering and de-suckering the tomato plants, and weeding the onion patch. Claudia discovered a raised bed with self-sowed garlic, so we also weeded that patch as well. Cassandra, Justin, and Claudia started mulching the section of the onion patch which has been weeded, which will likely continue into next week.