Farm Update

by Neil Harms

Summer has come and gone, along with the season's vegetables. A basil bush is all that remains. Some plants could have been extended but taking them out made room for the fall crop.

We planted pumpkins a few weeks ago. I find it interesting that pumpkin seedlings are sold in the spring with squash, etc. That is great if you want pumpkins before Halloween. If they are planted in July, there should be pumpkins in October.

Fall and winter veggies are called “cold” crops. They thrive in cold, wet weather. In most cases, frosty temperatures don't harm them. To get a good head start, these vegetables need to be planted in mid-September to early October. The warm weather of these months is paramount to successful growth over the course of the fall and winter.

The cold crop seeds were planted in germinating seed trays a few weeks ago so they would become seedlings large enough to plant in mid-September.

Most seeds take 10 to 20 days to become seedlings. Once the plants break through the ground they continue to grow in the trays for a few more weeks until they are big enough to be planted in the garden. However, large seeds - like beans, peas, pumpkins, and corn - should be planted directly in the ground and not in seed trays.

Harms Farms has a big variety in our veggies. The garden has onions, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, beets, kale, artichokes, bok choy, peas, carrots, and celery. Lettuce and spinach can be harvested in a few weeks after planting, but the other veggies grow more slowly and will be harvested in late fall and during the winter months. Onions take longer to develop, and (if all goes well) can be harvested in early spring.

Those plants, though, have a natural predator in our area: turkeys.

They can devastate a garden, especially one that is freshly planted. They usually travel in large numbers and can tear up the plants in a few minutes. To protect our precious crop, we created a makeshift fence out of tomato cages around the perimeter of the garden. The two feet tall wire is enough to keep the turkeys out.

It is also getting close to persimmon season. The trees are full of orange fruit. The persimmons will be ready to harvest in a few weeks, if not sooner. Be sure to check back for updates on those and the other cold crops!

Thanks for reading!


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