August looms. The bounty is impressive, overwhelming. The bursitis in my shoulders starts acting up every August--so many heavy buckets of produce. Two crops wear me down--melons and tomatoes. I grow so many varieties, so many heirlooms, each one with different ripeness indicators; I have been unable to train away this job. Many tasks on the farm I have been forced to delegate since having Romy but not this one. Every year I trial new varieties, mainly heirlooms, for taste, beauty, and marketability. I love it. Rare and obscure French heirloom cantaloupe and a new green-ripening tomato from Appalacia. I will try to write about my favorites when I am at the height of the harvest. Both crops are a little late but look promising.
I've been meaning to write about weeds. We have a weed problem. It never really has bothered me in the past. Of all the jobs on the farm weeding is the one I enjoy the most. Trouble is I hardly get any time to weed anymore and my crew just isn't able to keep up. We bought a Regiweeder last winter to help control weeds on the bigger row crops--corn, beans, peas and onions--but I feel mixed about the results. We had terrible compaction in the onions and quite a few casualties. The peas seemed better this year and the corn looks alright, but we haven't managed to keep up with it and some of the later plantings are choked with weeds and too tall to drive through. Now we're in the market for a bushhog to mow things down before they go to seed--the usual culprits ragweed, galinsoga, pigweed, and lambsquater but also our own introductions purslane, cilantro, epazote, mustard, tomatillos, and raab. Our hope is that by cutting down the weeds in the sections of field we haved abandoned (bolted lettuce, picked out brassica, etc) we will minimize the weeds going to seed and perhaps in a few years things will be more manageable.
The flowers seem at their peak, we are sending nearly twenty buckets a day and it hardly makes a dent. And, the corn is in and the cherry tomatos are getting going, and the peppers and chilis and eggplant. Things are looking good.