From the Farm: Bountiful Harvest for our Summer Crops
From the Farm with Brad Kelly
Harvesting Summer Crops
I hope you had a great time celebrating Independence Day! It’s a fun time to get together with friends and family, and a time to give thanks for all the men and women who serve for the freedom we all enjoy in this great nation. But back to the subject at hand, let’s talk farming and summer crops!
Plenty of Rain is Our Farm’s Gain
It has been a dramatically different summer so far compared to last year in terms of rainfall. We have received significant precipitation every week for the last month and the summer crops are flourishing.
We are picking tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and zucchini by the boatload! We also have a wide variety of peppers and some really beautiful eggplants coming off right now.
Pinkeye Purple Hull peas are in full swing and we are anxiously awaiting our first okra harvest (which was planted a bit late, just FYI). Our sweet potato patch looks quite luscious due to all the rainfall, and I think we may be harvesting a little ahead of schedule this year. Sweet potatoes typically take 3-4 months from the time you plant the slips; however, you can leave them in the ground until heavy frosts occur later in the year.
We are almost done harvesting all of our potatoes and even though we were not able to “hill” them early on due to wet conditions, we still made a really nice crop. We have dug all of our Yukon Golds, Red Norbecs, and Fingerling Potatoes, and all we have left to dig are the Russets. These were planted around the same time, but take a little longer to mature. This is the first year we have planted Russet Potatoes, and while I am not as familiar with the timeframe, it makes sense that they would take longer as they are a much larger potato.
Volunteer Plants Are a Welcome Surprise
One thing I have found interesting this year is the amount of volunteer zinnias that have come up. We typically set out zinnia and marigold transplants around the fields to attract pollinators and other beneficial insects. We have done this for a number of years and have had very few, if any, volunteer plants the following year.
I think the mild winter we experienced along with consistent rainfall played a big role with these volunteer flowers this year. When you are outdoors a good bit and connected with nature, it is always fun to observe how the climatic changes that occur each year affect what comes out of the soil.
As another example, thistle (a particularly terrible weed) is more prevalent this year than I have ever seen in my lifetime!
That’s all about our summer crops this month; have a good one friends!
Brad manages our farm operations, which include our certified naturally grown farm outside Madison and the Kelly family’s plantation in Leesburg, Ga, known as Rock House Farm. Rock House Farm produces grass-fed beef, heritage Berkshire hogs, and two varieties of heirloom corn, among other crops.