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From the Farm: Storm Recovery and Preparing our Fall Garden


The Recent Storm Damage Has Us Down, But Not Out

fall garden

Another month has rushed by at the farm and we are thankful that the severe weather caused by Hurricane Irma has traveled through and is settling down as it heads north. We had several large trees go down, our greenhouse cover was torn to shreds, and we still don’t have power, but all in all, we are lucky to have come out with only minor cleanup and repairs to attend to. Our prayers go out to all of those in Florida and the Caribbean that had to evacuate their towns and are trying to make it back to see if they still have a home to live in.

Perhaps the most disappointing crop damage we had out at the farm was to our yucca (cassava) plants. These have been growing nicely for the last 4-5 months and are well over 6-feet tall. This is a new crop for me and it takes several months for the plant to fully develop the roots that are harvested in the fall. The plants were laid over pretty bad a couple days ago after the heavy wind gusts that came through, but I am hopeful that they will recover. The bright side is that this was only a small planting, probably a 12-15-foot row.

I really feel for many of the row crop farmers who still had tens to hundreds of acres of corn or cotton in the field. Driving around yesterday, I saw some of these crops that looked like they might not even be harvestable. So much work goes into every crop that a farmer plants, and it is heartbreaking to experience such severe damage so close to harvest time.


Readying For Our Fall Garden

Most of our fall seed trays have been planted and young seedlings are coming up with vigor. Our fall plot has been fertilized and plowed and we are now just waiting for the soil to dry out a bit so that we can form our raised beds with the bed shaper that we pull behind the tractor.

fall garden

We are still harvesting some okra and peppers, and we have some late plantings of tomatoes, squash and field peas that will be coming in over the next 3-5 weeks. Our early summer plots are being cleaned up and we will be planting our fall cover crops in these areas in the next 2 weeks. It is always good to give your cover crops a little time to establish before temperatures drop and morning frosts become the norm. We will be planting a cereal rye and crimson clover mix as our main cover crop this fall.

fall garden

In closing, I would like to wish you well if you live in the southeast and were affected by the recent severe weather. Keep the residents of Florida and the Virgin Islands in your thoughts and prayers and give thanks if your family is safe and your still have a roof over your head. I hope everyone has a great month and if you haven’t started setting out your fall vegetables then get a move on because now is the time. Your fall garden will not wait!

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.