Thursday, October 23, 2008

Still digging

I am still busy digging potatoes but we should be done by the end of this week. It rained yesterday which made the ground much too wet to be working with. Dad had hoped to be finished yesterday but sometimes mother nature does not always cooperate. There will be lots of pictures to follow in the upcoming days in regards to the potato harvest adventure.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Potato Harvest

I am working for my Dad this fall digging potatoes. They grow over 500 acres for the french fry world of McCains and Cavendish. I think we are almost 1/4 done and maybe a little bit more than that now. We are working long days, 12-14 hours, but some days it does rain and we do get to go home a bit earlier. Needless to say I have not been doing too much here on the farm these days. I need to get my garlic planted ASAP and hopefully that will get done this week or next. Here are a few pics from the potato harvest. I hope to have some more to post soon.

This is our old binpilar loading a small warehouse in Lower Bedeque, old school

Potato field in lower bedeque yet to be harvested. The tops need to die down first

Quick shot of the farm yard, lots of action

Close up action shot of conveyors, trucks and all kinds of potato equiptment

Sunday, October 5, 2008

End of season

What a slacker again I've been in terms of posting to this blog. Life seems to have gotten away from me. We are all done at the market as our veggie selection is just about done. We have two weeks of the CSA left and even their baskets will be thin. My fall plantings did not turn out so great and the veggies that I thought would last into the fall were harvested and sold in the summer. Next summer my potato, winter squash, onion, leek, carrots, turnip, broccoli, cabbage, garlic and pumpkin plantings will be greatly expanded to ensure I can provide veggies well into the fall.

I do still have some arugula, lettuce mix and young radish that are growing quite well and will be ready for cutting this week. The CSA shares will be able to enjoy nice tender greens before the cold fall weather sets in. Even though we have had lots of rain this fall I still like to keep the greens well watered to ensure they grow well.

Watering the arugula

Close up shot of tender lettuce mix leaves

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lots to say

I have been a total slacker lately in regards to blogging. The garden pace has slowed down so much since the Wednesday market ended and I've been doing all kids of other stuff than being on the computer.

I actually got in the garden last week and spent a day weeding and rototiller in empty veggie beds in order to get them ready for winter cover crops. It felt great to get so much done. It had been quite a while since i was able to weed. With all the crazy amount of rain that we had received this summer the soil never really dried out enough to be able to weed. So, I'm feeling much better about how the garden looks. The path ways were really out of hand so I took our push mower and mowed them all down. Much better.

Last Monday Mom and I headed over to New Brunswick to visit two other CSA farms to gain some insight into their operations. It was great to see how they do certain things and the different crops that they are growing. Amarosia Farm near Shediac was a beautiful farm situated so close to the water. They grow so many different things including lemon cucumbers, 8 ball zucchini, Shiso, Amaranth and spaghetti squash as well as regular items such as beans, carrots and potatoes. They operate a 75 member CSA as well as three farmers markets and a health food store. Needles to say they are really busy. The second farm was Nature's Route Farm just outside of Sackville. They also have a 70 member CSA and they go to the Sackville market. They grew a large variety of vegetables as well including potatoes, carrots, beans, corn, beets, dried beans and onions. Each farm was very impressive and I really feel like I'm small potatoes in comparison but I saw some things that were really neat that I will try next year.

The market is still going really well in Summerside. The vendors have decided to go year round which will be a first for Summerside area. It is a great opportunity for local shoppers to support their neighbors and farmers.

Yesterday was a unique day here on the farm. All the kids from our church were invited out to the farm instead of their regular kids time. Around 10:30 6 or 7 cars pulled into the farm and out ran lots of excited and happy kids. We had a great time. We showed them our chicken tractor, how we grow the veggies, our favorite tools, a tour of the garden, fed the horses carrots and had a great veggie snack. Many of the kids had never been to a farm and they loved the open space and all the different veggies. One little girl got quite a kick out of the fact that broccoli grew the way it did. It was a great morning.

This big spider was busy spinning a web in the middle of the tomato patch

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Seasonal changes

We are now done selling at the Charlottetown Farmers Market on Wednesdays. It went very well for us and I am happy that I was given a chance to sell there. We are planning on making a few changes next year and one of those will be to increase our restaurant sales and to stop selling at the Wednesday market. We will continue with our CSA program and I think between the restaurant sales and the CSA we will be furthur ahead. We'll see what happens next year that all might change yet. Thanks to everyone who came to purchase veggies from me at the Wednesday market.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Making hay

Derek's cousine Wade and his friend Donald are raising organic beef and we have done a trade. We had a hay field that needed to be mowed and baled but we do not have the right kind of equiptment. Wade offered to cut and bale our hay and trade for manure spread on the field. We thought it was a great trade. They needed hay and we needed manure spread, i love great bartering.

Here are some pictures from the weekend where they cut the hay and then baled it, what a great weather weekend for making hay.

Cutting hay, the chickens are looking on with caution

Another cutting shot

Tractor and hay rake

Big tractor and baler

Field of round bales

Round bale of hay

Loaded trailor

Sunflowers & garden pics

The sunflowers are in full bloom and they sure add a sense of color to the garden landscape. We have been taking a few bouquets of sunflowers to the Summerside Farmers Market on Saturday's. Most of the sunflowers that we grow are to attract bees and birds into the garden. Bees aid in pollinating the squash plants and birds are great at eating insects and pests. We have five different varities growing this year and I love looking at them.
Friends of ours were here on the weekend and took some really cool shots. Thanks for the pictures Ryan & Jody

Super close up shot of lady bug on sunflowers

another close up of lady bug, what a great camera

Barn window

eggplant under plastic, they are really coming along

hot pepper plant

another hot pepper plant and unknown flying insect

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Friend in the field

Holly using lawnmower and wagon to take water to chickens

My friend from college, Holly, spent a few days with us here on the farm. She helped harvest in the pouring rain on Tuesday and spent the day on Wednesday at the Wednesday farmers market in Charlottetown. The weather was very wet, chilly and down right miserable but we had a great time.
We only have one more Wednesday at the Charlottetown Farmers' Market. July and August sure have flown by.

Holly & I at the Wednesday market

Whitey getting some attention

Watering the chickens

On the way to market

Holly took a picture of me holding up carrots in the shed, we were hiding from the pouring rain

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Life of a chicken on our farm

Day old chicks

First day in the chicken tractor, so much space (4 weeks old)

Tractor filled with chickens, gravity fed waterer

growing chickens in the chicken tractor

they sure are getting big

7 weeks old

Our chickens will be eight weeks old this Monday. They quickly outgrew the chick hotel and have been living it up in their chicken tractor. The chicken tractor is simply a movable pen which allows the chickens room to graze, flap their wings, run around, stretch out, bask in the sun, rest in the shade and just chill out. We move it once a day to ensure fresh grass. At first they were not big fans of the grass but now that they are used to it they can't get enough of it. When we move the pen at night they just love to get to the new grass. They also love to get any greens from the garden that we give them. We have been feeding them greens that are too big or that have bolted from the heat. Favorites so far include summer turnip greens, mizuna and chinese cabbage. If we ever have left overs from the market the chickens get to munch on them. This is our second year raising pastured chickens. Last year we had a heritage cross breed which we got from a farm who raises heritage breeds and they were very entertaining. They had all kinds of energy and they would run around chasing each other all day. We loved watching them. They were slow growing and were smaller than we hoped in the end so we are trying a more traditional breed this year. So far they are growing very quickly. They do not have the same energy level as the chickens of last year but they are still entertaining to watch. We anticipate they will be ready for selling in another few weeks.

It's On!!!

Things are growing like mad in the garden right now. Beans, cucumbers, zucchini, cilantro, dill, beet greens, green onions, swiss chard, kale, lettuce heads, lettuce mix, summer squash, parsley, carrots, potatoes and basil are all super stars these days at the market and in the CSA shares. The tomatoes, peppers, sunflowers, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are all quickly growing and will be ready soon. We had our first tomato sandwich this weekend and WOW, nothing beats a fresh ripe garden tomato.

Yellow beans drying in the sun after harvest

late lettuce planting

Summer turnip

Tiny green pepper

Tiny sunburst summer squash

Purple Beans

Derek giving me a lift from the garden, much better than walking

Magda Summer Squash

Tomatoes, soon will be red and tasty


purple and green cabbage

Our cat Whitey peeking through the sunflowers, soon to attach me while picking beans

Hot pepper

The Summerside Farmers' Market has been a great venue for our business. The new location downtown has far exceeded everyone's expectations. We had our grand opening last weekend weekend and it was a great turn out as usual. It is so wonderful to be apart of such a great vibrant growing group of people. We have wonderful vendors who are all producing a great product. The market is open every Saturday from 9:00 untill 1:00, come check it out!!!

Jen at the market