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Grass is always greener

Our Beltie cow, Abigail, has the peculiar tendency to get down on her knees (elbows?) and stick her head under the fence line to eat the grass on the other side.  She’ll even turn her head sideways and stick her tongue way out to get a little extra reach.  With a single-strand electric fence, she can reach a good two feet before the wire gets near her back.  Furthermore, she’ll get within an inch of that wire and I’ve only ever seen her get shocked once in 5 years.  She’ll do this even when there’s plenty of grass inside the fence – I guess she just likes a challenge.  It’s actually pretty helpful, as she does a pretty decent job of keeping the electric fence clear.  What’s really funny is that she never actually breaks out of the paddock, even though she gets most of the way there.  She’s a real class act.

The garden is really starting to pump out great produce.  We’re getting into peak veggie season here in New England, so get into it!  Everything looks good, and we’re still fighting the good fight against the weeds.  Beets are notably absent from the list, as they just can’t seem to cope with the frequent heavy downpours and constantly wet soil.  (Dear Beets, I’m not mad, I’m just really disappointed.  Love, Jeff)

New this week:  Potatoes, broccoli, carrots.

Coming soon:  Peppers, eggplant, potatoes.

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Winning the weed war

It’s been a tough year as far as weed control, with frequent heavy rains making cultivation difficult.  And even when the soil is dry enough for tractor work, mechanical cultivation is much less effective in wet soil.  You can knock the weeds around all day long with the tractor, but they just re-root in the mud.  However, I’m pleased to say that we are winning the war, even when many farms are experiencing a “total breakdown in weed control” according to UMASS Extension.  With weekly cultivation on the Farmall Cub, and some (and then some more) dedicated hand-weeding by Paul and volunteer Jessica, things are looking pretty darn good if you ask me.

There’s a bunch of new stuff coming out of the garden, so check the website.  We’ve just started picking cukes and basil – how about a cucumber/basil/yogurt salad for a hot summer evening?

Coming soon:  Carrots!  Ground beef!

Coming soon-ish:  Tomatoes, peppers, and more.

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From pigs to corn…. and back again

Where we grazed our pigs last year, there is now corn growing.  The pigs helped to turn the soil (although I wish they would have been a bit more methodical) and fertilize the field.  I plowed and harrowed in May.  After picking tons of rocks – and not making a dent in the population – we were able to interplant corn and winter squash.  Then I went back and planted pole beans next to the 6-inch corn seedlings.  If all goes well, we should have a great harvest of flint corn, squash, and beans in the fall, some of which will go to feed this year’s pigs.

Not much new in the garden to add to the list this week – loads of fresh greens are available now, but more good things are coming soon.  Cabbage and cukes in the next couple of weeks, and tomatoes not much longer after that.  Beets and carrots are coming along, too.

Garden Shares are back!  Order a share through the website, and for $20 we’ll make you up a bag of what looks good from the garden this week.

And last but not least, Paul’s hens are laying, and eggs will be available on Monday first come, first served.

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(Actually) Pastured pork

Our pigs are really living the life this year.  They are down at the bottom of the hill where they get access to fresh pasture every week.  We move the pigs before they do too much digging and and then we reseed the turned earth with new forage.  When we open up a new section of pasture, the pigs get right down to business, running around eating clover leaves and burying their snouts in the soil.  Other features of pig heaven include a 1-ton feeder full of non-GMO feed from Green Mountain Feed in Vermont and some nice muddy water holes to wallow in on hot days.  I think I’m going to move in…

If you like great pork and want to support good farming, head over to the Short Creek Farm and download a Pastured Pork CSA signup form.

The Potter Hill website is all up to date with the vegetables we have available this week.  The first squash and zukes are coming in, and the lettuce looks amazing.  Coming soon – carrots, beets, cukes.

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Green things growing

We are still in the mud (and the weeds) in the garden.  The soil has been either very wet or completely saturated since the beginning of June.  Some things are suffering (poor beets, where are your roots?), but other things look fantastic.  Amazing lettuce and arugula, and the tomato plants are almost glowing green.  Either way, many things seem to be running a bit behind, but the forecast is for fine weather and that’s fine with me!

I’m still a man without an office, which means no website updates until the beginning of next week.  But there’s new stuff in the garden – scallions, arugula, radishes, chard – so just make a note with your order when you submit it.  Things should be back on track soon with the website.