A Look Back At July On Riverdog Farn

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flower-riverdog-transCourtesy of Capay Valley Farm Shop

July 29, 2013
As crazy as it sounds, this week we’ll be transplanting the final round of watermelons (August 1st melon planting?!). This ”¨round was part of a larger seeding group, most of which left the  greenhouse a week or two ago. These starts just took a bit longer to”¨ mature. And speaking of maturation, our winter squash plantings are nearly there. Acorn, Delicata, and Butternut will be showing up”¨in the box by mid August. Kabocha, and other dark, medium-sized squash will be a little later in coming. This is due to a later planting”¨ for these types, as we want to avoid sunburned fruit. Dark colored quash ripening in a mid-July field is very likely to develop sun and ”¨heat damage. The last of our overwintered onions are being pulled  from the field this week; a task that should have been done a month ”¨ago, but hey, it’s summer time on the farm – never enough hands  available. Our spring planted onions are nearing maturity, and”¨ they’ll be ready for harvest mid-August.

July 15, 2013
We’re experiencing a string of cool nights here in the valley. Temperatures have been dropping into the low fifties, causing a”¨ noticeable slow-down in plant growth. The most affected being our summer crops from the Solanaceae family (eggplant, tomatoes,”¨peppers). This is why, as you might have guessed, there is no eggplant in the box this week. Perhaps the high heat called for this ”¨weekend will bring things back up to speed. We transplanted the second round of leeks for fall harvest, along with the final round of melons for late summer/early fall. Fields are being prepped for carrot and beet seeding, scheduled for late this week. And we’ve finally assembled our team for the foray into the potato patch. Ruby Crescents, French Fingerlings, Russian Bananas, Yukon Gold, German Butterballs, Mountain Rose, and Purple Majesty– all will likely be making box appearances in the coming weeks/months.

July 8, 2013
We’re still working on trellising our tomato and pepper fields this week. For many years now we’ve kicked the idea around of hanging”¨ shade cloth over our pepper plants. During hotter years the Capay sun is just too intense for the maturing fruit, and our yield drops ”¨significantly. With 70 acres planted this year, it’s unlikely we’ll hang cloth over the whole planting. We’ll experiment over a small section of plants, and see how it works. Eggplant is beginning to roll in, with much higher numbers projected for next week. The last planting of sweet corn will go in the ground this week. The high heat delayed a few plantings that were on the books last week, so they’ll be going in this week. This includes our last round of melons, and our first fall rounds of cabbage and leeks. Our chard fields were mowed over the weekend. The next set of chard (and kale) plants have been started in the greenhouse, to be ready for late summer/early fall harvest.

July 1, 2013
Every day this week comes with a predicted high above 100  degrees F. The crew has been starting an hour earlier, at 5am, to”¨ take advantage of the kinder morning temperatures. Squash, cucumber and sweet corn are being harvested in true summer  numbers. And speaking of corn, this is the first year in about five that we’ve had this cookout staple before Independence Day. Our orchards are making good on the heavy crops they promised throughout spring. All the tomatoes, and most of the peppers, are”¨ staked and their trellises are being tied. I’ve been wracking my brain to come up with an equal to Cole’s final”¨ statement from the first week of July last year. I’ve got nothing. So here’s what he had to say: “Soon we will be into the big harvest,”¨and the speculation and idle discussion on the propensities of the staple crops will take on flesh-and-blood immediacy and the trucks ”¨will be laden with fat tomatoes and stalwart melons.”


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