Tag Archives: drought

2017 Report: Maple Sugaring at Drumlin Farm

Information provided by Sarah Lang, Assistant Farmer

Maple sugaring season has come to a close!

The Numbers

2017
Length of season: 4 weeks
Sap collected: 400 gallons
Syrup produced: 6 gallons
Sap-to-syrup ratio: 67:1

2016
Length of season: 7 weeks
Sap collected: 1300 gallons
Syrup produced: 21.3 gallons
Sap-to-syrup ratio: 61:1

Things to note

  • The normal range for sap-to-syrup ratios is 40–50:1. Last year, Drumlin Farm’s sap-to-syrup ratio was also higher than normal. This is likely due to abnormally warm and erratic weather patterns, which had a big influence on the sugar content of our sap.
  • We tapped about half the amount of trees as we normally do this season to give some of our maple trees a rest.

We’d like to thank our staff and volunteers for helping the sugaring season run smoothly. If you have any questions, please contact Sarah Lang: slang@massaudubon.org.

There are limited quantities of maple syrup available for purchase at the Drumlin Farm admissions window. Grab one on your next visit!

 

Summer Crops Update: August 30

Crops Updates are written by Drumlin Farm Crops Manager Matt Celona

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Mighty Crops
It’s surprising that any plants are thriving under these hot and dry conditions. But the soil retains some moisture, and we’ve had a great melon and tomato season. We are reaching the end of our sweet corn harvest. We have white corn available at the stand today and perhaps for a few days more. We’re also beginning to harvest our last watermelon variety of the season—little baby flower. It’s red-fleshed and meant to be small or personal-sized. You can find a bunch at the farm stand.

The Greenhouse
During last Friday’s quick shower of .15 inches, we sheltered in the greenhouse and seeded the next round of lettuce while waiting it out. Lettuce and bok choi are the only crops we’re still starting in the greenhouse at this point in the season. The greenhouse is now primarily a place of storage for winter squash, pumpkins and sweet potatoes. Feel free to step inside and take a look during your next visit.

Keeping Up with Demand
Mid-August through September is the busiest time at Union Square Farmers Market. People are back from vacation and eager to buy all the summer favorites. Each Saturday, we mount an intricate and large display under three tents, including a whole table devoted to cut flowers. Farmers Sarah, Jessica, Katie, Cara, and Erin have been doing a great job keeping up with long lines of customers on some scorching days on the pavement in the city. Thanks to you all and to the market volunteers for doing such a good job representing the farm and Mass Audubon!

See you in the field,
Your Farmers

Summer Crops Update: August 16

Crops Updates are provided by Drumlin Farm Crops Manager Matt Celona.

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We Got Rain. We Need More.
We did get about one inch of rain on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Many crops look revived and happy. However, it’s a good bet that the warm weather will last, since the outlook is for 90s continuing into next week and beyond. That’s not good news for the farmers or the crops. According to Weather Underground, Lincoln received 16 inches below the precipitation average in 2015. To date in 2016, we are 19 inches below average! This drought is at least two years in the making.

How Are the Crops Doing?
The young bean plants that we watered through the driest stretch are now mature and looking good. The second round of eggplant is fairing much better than the first. These are perfect for grilling whole or sautéing. Our last round of sweet corn is beginning to mature, while storage beets, rutabaga, turnips, and radish have finally germinated. Unfortunately, it looks like the seedings of storage carrots are not going to come up. We’re in uncharted territory with the emergency carrot seedings that we tried over the following weeks —we hope that we can still get a good harvest out of these, but it’ll depend on how mild the fall is.

We’re going to have to take very good care of all fall crops in order to maximize yields from plants that are already stressed by the heat and lack of water. We’re hoeing and fertilizing storage crops, stringing the second succession of tomatoes, and preparing fields for fall cover-cropping.

Many Thanks to Our Volunteers and Workers
This morning, teacher-naturalist Sally Farrow brought a group of Lowell City Corps youth to help us harvest onions. The kids apply to the city for summer employment in environmental work, and thanks to Sally’s relationship with Lowell schools, they have come here for the past two years. Additionally, volunteers Anne and Sheila removed crab grass from the Brussels sprouts patch—not an easy job even when the weather is nice!

Last Friday, we said goodbye to fieldworker Maggie as she returns to Colby for her senior year. Thanks, Maggie, and all of our volunteers for your good work and positive energy!

See you in the field,
Your Farmers