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Crop & Field Notes: What’s in the Fields

14 August

Things are always changing in the fields.  From month to month, week to week, and day to day.  Here’s a photo essay to keep you up to date.

Pictured here is a field of summer squash from a previous post on July 9th. It’s changed dramatically in just a few weeks.

This is the same field from the opposite direction. The squash leaves are almost completely covering the ground, and the plants are full of flowers and small squash.

The squash are tucked in, hidden under the leaves at the base of the plants. They grow quickly, and this particular squash will be ready for harvest in just a few days

This zucchini is growing in a field nearby the one above.

Lush and green, this is a field full of winter squash and cucumber plants.

While the winter squash are only just beginning to produce blossoms, the cucumbers are already on their way to being ready for harvest. Here’s a small pickling cucumber that will be in someone’s box soon.

The cucumber above just needs to reach this size for harvest.

Plants have wills of their own. This dino kale, looking healthy and strong, is a volunteer that came up in the middle of a field of leeks.

Bees bees bees. We can never have enough of them here on the farm. Whether they are feeding on an invasive thistle…

…pollinating a squash blossom…

…visiting a California Poppy…

…or making sure our blackberry vines produce berries, we love them.

In fact, there are now some permanent hives on the farm. These were placed here, and are managed by, friend-of-the-farm Patrick W.

Summer is a colorful time on the farm. Even the poison oak puts on its red dress.

Much preferred, though, is the red of our dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes. Are you ready for the U-Harvest on Saturday, Aug 24th?

While the Early Girls are already being put in the shares, with the August heat upon us it won’t be long before these Heirloom tomatoes will be ready for harvest, too.

In contrast to last year, this season has been a good one for our cane berries. Recently harvested, this blackberry row still has lots of ripening berries.

There are many patches of wild roses on the farm. This time of year, wild rose hips are adding their own bit of red to the landscape. Cup of tea anyone?

Sweet Lipstick Peppers peek out from under leaves in the pepper fields.

Though the apricot trees no longer have any fruit on them…

…they still bear small jewels. Protective sap balls form where a branch’s bark cracked or sustained some kind of damage.

Our Concord grape vines have been quietly working away…

…creating jewels of their own that will be ready for harvest in late September.

An obscure fruit, the quince are just starting to turn yellow and give off their wonderful fragrance. Difficult to use, these don’t appear in the shares very often, instead they go to Happy Girl Kitchen to be turned into quince candy and membrillo.

There are a number of hedgerow projects on the farm. This row was recently planted near the Heirloom tomato field.

The hedgerows contain native plants, like this penstemon…

…and this other variety of penstemon, too.  Their flowers are important attractors for pollinators.

What would a farm be without animals and other wildlife. This rooster is in with one of our pastured flocks. Though hens will lay eggs without a rooster, having one can help since they announce intruders, herd or lead the hens into the coop at dusk, and dole out any tasty morsels as evenly and fairly as possible (at least, a good rooster does so).

This is one of the goat kids born earlier this year. The kids are growing fast, and they’ve already become noisy teens bleating “hello, don’t you want to feed me?” as anyone walks past their enclosure.

Our farm dog, Chella, takes it easy in the shade on a hot day. She’ll be up all night chasing away coyotes from the hens and deer from the fields, so she deserves a good rest.

And speaking of wildlife, here’s one of our summer helpers, Noah, flying his chard flag high while doing his happy chard-dance.

Summer is a great time to visit the farm, so come on by on a Saturday to shop at our Green Valley Barn Farm Stand, walk the fields and nibble on some freshly picked produce, and take in the sights and scents.