Don’t worry: The farm is still open this Saturday, June 18, when Strawberry Day was originally scheduled. Forecast calls for beautiful sunny weather!
Take a look at even more classes and workshops we have coming up:
Friday, June 17
Friday Evening Hayride and Campfire
4:30 and 6:30 pm | All ages Join us for a hayride as spring moves into summer. Watch for birds flying at dusk and evening fireflies before stopping at our campfire for stories, s’mores, and a special nighttime visitor.
Saturday, June 18
Landscapes for Beauty and Wildlife
9:30 am–12 pm | Adults This program will cover beneficial and beautiful native shrubs, perennials, grasses and trees and how to utilize them in your landscape to enhance the habitat value of your yard.
1–3:30 pm | Adults These excursions will focus on observing, exploring and appreciating the world around us. Registration not required.
Afternoon Chores and More
3:30–5 pm | Ages 4–12 w/Adult It’s chore time! We will feed chickens and collect eggs, then bring hay to the sheep, goats, and cows. After we finish up we’ll treat ourselves to a farm-fresh snack.
Friday, June 24
Fairies and Fireflies
8–9:30 pm | Ages 4–10 w/Adult Join us to hear stories of fairy antics, make a special herbal charm for protection. Then explore the sanctuary for signs of fairies and fireflies dancing in the meadow grasses.
Strawberry Update We have decided to cancel Strawberry Day this year because of our small yield, but nice berries are still ripening in this dry and sunny weather! Pints are available for purchase at the farm stand, along with the first carrots of the season. The crops team did a great job hand-weeding the carrots and bringing them to Union Square Farmers Market. Other farmers couldn’t believe we had grown them at Drumlin. Field-grown Massachusetts carrots on June 11? It’s a first for us, too!
Establishing Crops We’re nearing the part of the season when we establish all major crops. Last week, we planted the melons and sweet potatoes. This week, we’ll plant an acre of winter squash. After that, an acre of pumpkins will round out the large plantings. Last week, the greenhouse volunteer team seeded Brussels sprouts and the fall storage cabbage. So, while it’s not yet officially summer, fall crops are already germinating in the greenhouse.
Volunteer Groups We received help from three volunteer groups last week. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, groups weeded, planted sunflowers, harvested strawberries, and cut back field edges. Thanks, everyone, for your amazing work!
The Farm Stand Peas, beets, summer squash, garlic scapes and spring onions will arrive at the stand very soon. In the next few days, you’ll see us pounding stakes and putting the first line of twine on the fast-growing tomatoes. Stop by the field in the morning to say hello!
The farm stand is open! There you’ll find hakurei turnips, radish, scallions and lettuce. Chard, beets, carrots and dinosaur kale are not far off; we may begin harvesting some of these crops by the weekend. The inch of rain we received on Sunday should help push these crops along.
We believe the onions have reached a size and toughness where they’ll be able to withstand the onion fly maggot. We’ve removed the row-covers and now must battle the weeds that have been growing unchecked for several weeks. Since last Thursday, volunteers have been clearing weeds and doing some planting. Many thanks to Volunteer Coordinator Pam Sowizral for contacting these generous groups!
When potato plants are 8–10 inches tall and dense with foliage, it’s time to control weeds with a hiller. Ours has adjustable gangs of spinning metal wheels—three per gang—that look like many-pointed pinwheels. The more you angle the gangs towards the plants, the more soil they push. The goal is to build soil around the base of the plants so that the tubers forming there are protected from sun exposure. Additionally, the hiller has a fertilizer hopper that drops fertilizer right at the base of the plants as we pass over them. We also use the hiller on strawberries, eggplant, peppers, chard, and summer squash.
We got the timing of the potato hilling and fertilizing right, as the Colorado potato beetle larvae have just hatched and are feeding on the foliage. It’s a race now between the plants’ growth and the damage the larvae will do. The fertilizer (OMRI approved) will give the plants a boost, but we’ll monitor the damage and spray a biological control if necessary.
The Strawberry Struggle
While many crops are growing well this summer, the strawberries unfortunately aren’t. The plants suffered in the drought and entered the winter in rough shape. The whole area we hope to be picking from in a few weeks—including what we planted two years ago—looks weak and pest-ridden. Hopefully the recent rain will cause the berries to jump in size, but we don’t think that’s likely. We plant over 50 different crops as a strategy to balance failures, but it’s always disappointing to have problems with a beloved and central crop like strawberries.