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Post by Tyler & Kate
Burr Oak Gardens LLC
2014-05-20 12:34:06

May Means Busy, Busy, Busy!!

The month of May is one of the busiest months of the year on our farm. It is also one of the months where we get the least amount of sleep. Long days and sometimes long nights when we have to go out and frost protect our strawberries mean very tired workers. The to do list is never ending and we are seemingly always in a rush to get the next task completed, especially when there is rain in the forecast.

This spring has been cooler and wetter than usual (however every year seems to be unusual in some way), but the plants are starting to take off. The asparagus is finally starting to produce after a very slow start this spring. This is our first year harvesting off of our patch since it needed several seasons to get established. Our two strawberry patches are in full bloom and we are projected a very good harvest this year, so much so that we are planning on opening up to the general public for pick-your-own berries starting in mid-June. Our pea plants are up and need the trellising in as soon as possible. The garlic looks fantastic this spring. We had a couple of very cold nights in April, but we actually went out and covered the plants with a frost blanket and we didn't have any damage even though it got down to 17 degrees. Last year's application of composted chicken manure really helped get the plants going strong this spring.

The impact of the fertilizer on the garlic led us to take a step back and reassess our fertilization schedule. We had soil sampling done this spring, and although we can't afford to do all of the recommendations, we are going ahead with some changes that should really improve our harvest amounts. One of our big projects this spring is to come up with a better way to side dress our plants once they are out in the fields. One of our ideas is to repurpose our potato planter and utilize the hopper and planting mechanism to drop fertilizer next to our plants when they are planted in two row blocks. A second idea is a little more complicated and involves a large bucket, an old cultivator, 4 inch brushes, and and a motor from an old rototiller. That design is still in progress and gives my father-in-law something to putter with on cold mornings.

This week we have been working on getting the pea trellising up, fertilizing with composted chicken manure, seeding in the greenhouse, weeding strawberries, direct seeding, setting up irrigation lines and laying drip tape, prepping fields, transplanting plants outside, working on equipment, marketing our few remaining CSA shares, and lots of other odd jobs. The most satisfying thing about the month of May is seeing a field go from last year's stubble to newly tilled earth with perky green transplants in long straight rows.

If you are on the hunt for a CSA, please check out one of our member farms. Better yet, stop by and give us a hand during the month of May! There are always lots of jobs on a farm and we love all the help we can get!