Seasons at Procter Farm

  (London, Ohio)
Procter Farm
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Late Spring Frenzy

Save the date! Procter Farm will be hosting a volunteer day Saturday July 13th for our CSA shareholders and anyone else who is interested in attending. We will work from 9:30am-12pm on a variety of tasks. At 12:00 we will break for lunch and conversation. Afterwards anyone interested may stay for a farm tour. We are very proud of the farm and excited to share it with you. See you there!

garlic scapes

 

 

 

 

 

 

In other news, our barred plymouth rock rooster became ill about a month back and had to be put down. Happily though, we were able to adopt an Americana rooster from a fellow farmer, who had more roosters than she could handle. Our new rooster has blended well with the hens and we hope will soon also accept the golden comet "teenage" hens we added to the flock.

rooster  golden comet chickens  
 potatoes  chicken run field  
 hens    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most of the time on the farm is spent planting. Each spring, usually around the end of May/early June there is a large influx of seedlings that need to be planted. These seedlings set the stage for future harvests of winter and summer squash, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and a multitude of greens and herbs. Though we will continue to plant through the fall each planting is now a bit smaller as we spend more time harvesting for the CSA, Procter kitchen, and North Market.

 
 

Musical Chairs

baby chicks eating spinach

The new chicks, golden comet pullets, have moved into the winter housing in the corn crib. Here they are eating overwintered spinach from the greenhouse. They need to be kept separate from the adults until they are the same size or they'll get bullied too much. The two flocks will be combined in the fall when the adults move back into winter housing.

seasonal pasture set up

All the barred plymouth rock hens and rooster have moved out of winter housing and out onto pasture. They are so happy!

eggmobile

The new eggmobile, complete with 26 nest boxes. Its actually an old trailer. The wheels make it convenient to move.

hen using new nest box

A hen checking out the new nest box.

new eggmobile

An inside view of the eggmobile.

tomatoes

Can you believe its almost time to plant tomatoes?! This first planting will go out on the next dry day.

 
 

Seasons End

Right before Thanksgiving I finished "putting the farm to bed" as cleaning up the fields and storing seasonal equiptment is often called. Half of the leeks have been donated and the other half are safely stored in the root cellar, layered between leaves. The same goes for beets and carrots. Layering between leaves is a winter storage technique I learned from a class at the OEFFA conference back in February. Now, with any luck, we will have vegetables well into the winter, if not spring.

Other changes have occured due to the impending cold weather. The chickens have moved into a renovated section of the corn crib, where they will be more protected from wind and snow. They still spend most of the daylight hours outside but meander inside thier well-lit coop to eat and lay eggs. Though I anticipated them enjoying their larger space and additional roost bars, they actually don't pay much attention to them, prefering instead, to sleep in one of the corners on the pine shavings that cover their floor. In addition to a larger coop area, they have an automatic door opener/closer that is set to open at the crack of dawn and close once the sun sets, keeping them safe and warm inside the coop. Because this space is so much darker than their red mobile coop they have an automatic timer which turns on lights when the door opens and then shut off when the sun begins to set - but not after sunset!- because they will stumble around in the dark. I must say, the chickens are moving up in the world - bigger house, fancy electric gagets, pine shaving floor... what more could they ask for!?

Chickens Outdoors

 

happy birds

 

laying eggs

 
 

Storage Onion Harvest

yellow storage

Storage onions are a full-season crop, meaning they take the majority of the growing season to mature. The onions in the picture above started as 1mm long seeds back in March, when they were started in the greenhouse. It always amazes me that they grow to such mamoth size!

When 20% of the onions' green stalks have flopped over and skins begin to form on the bulbs they are ready to be harvested and dried.

drying onion

Onions need a well ventilated drying space that is out of the direct sunlight. The greenhouse with a shade cloth is the perfect place for these guys!

 

chickens

More and more of the chickens are laying eggs; I believe we are up to 6 hens laying currently! Also, they are rather enjoying the shade of the tree in their new location behind Cabin 6. Come visit them next time you are at Procter!

asina egg.

 

The eggplant are flourishing in the field! The other day I made baba ganoush with some of them and it tastes amazing! There is just something wonderful about these glossy veggies that makes them as fun to harvest as they are to eat. Just watch out for the small (but sharp!) thorns on the crown.

eggies

 
 

Photos from the Field

June 18, 2012

Over the last 24 hours the farm has been inundated with rain and thunderstorms. Irrigation from the sky is always my favorite form, not only because I was a passive observer but becasue the veggies always look brighter, bigger, and happier after a shower. The mid-summer storm also afforded me some time to relax and reflect, leading to time for this blog entry. Enjoy the photos and info!

pepper

The first planting of pepper plants are coming along quite nicely. Their early growth was a bit rocky but there are even little flower buds appearing. We'll soon have more tasty peppers than we know what to do with!

chardSwiss Chard is one of those vegetables that I really didn't think much about or know much about, for that matter, until I began to farm. I would always see these wonderfully-colored greens in the store but becasue we never bought them I never really thought of them in relation to food I could eat. Now I can't get enough of these greens. Their vibrant rainbow stems are just the thing to make any meal stand out at a potluck and with all the vitamins and minerals housed in the greens they are always a tasty and healthy option!

chickens

The chickens love napa cabbage!

 

chickenshey have grown so much over the past couple of months too! The roosters now are attempting thier "rooster calls", though they mostly sound like broken car horns. They'll learn!

 

chickens

 

toms

In the nightshade field the tomatoes are growing like crazy! They have already been trellised once and are in need of their second line. To the left of them in the photo are marigolds. I have always heard that marigolds are good to grow near tomatoes and we are using the flowers in salads at the center. They taste amazing!

winter squash

All of the winter squash are in! We will be growing spagetti squash, butternut, pie pumpkins and carving pumpkins to name a few. Also the cantaloupe and watermelon are in this field. I am trying to grow a variety of water melon called Savor, which is a small musk melon. We'll see how it turns out!

flower

Throughout the farm fields I have planted various flowers such as the zinnia's to the left. There are sunflowers and marigolds (previously mentioned) as well. They add a burst of color as well as a source of food for insects. Stop by sometime and have a look!

 
 

The Season Underway

Over the past week or so the chickens and I have been trying to work out a routine where I go to shut them in their coop when they are already inside and ready to sleep. Usually I get worried that it is getting too late and too dark and head over there only to find them all scurrying around cheeping contentedly (not in their coop, I might add). Usually I poke around the farm, waiting for it to get darker and for them to all go inside but end up chasing the last few, bent over, arms outstretched, in an attempt to get them inside. Yesterday was the first day of synchrony. I was again worried, seeing as how the sun was nearly set and it was about 9pm, that the chickens were being stalked by predators. My imagination was working overtime as I arrived at their coop, expecting to see little foxes peering at them through the poultry fence, licking their chops. Instead, I looked in the door and to my great satisfaction, found half of my chicks wedged onto the first roosting bar and the rest practically on top of each other on the floor below. Some of the roosting birds were facing backwards. They’ll learn. I think now I know to go out later than feels comfortable and they will be all set to be tucked in for the night. No more chasing them around and feeling bad that I am closing them in when they still want to romp outside.

In other news, major planting is getting underway. I have planted spinach, beets, scallions, leeks, onions, and next week flowers, kale, and parsley will go out. Corn and the nightshades will follow soon after. All of the brassicas (turnips, radishes, cabbage,) are growing excellently and very quickly! The “spring” peas are finally up and I saw the emergence of some potatoes that were gifted to me by Rock Dove Farm in West Jefferson. Have a look at the pictures below!

spring peas

potato

 
 

Of Greenhouses and Chickens

The weather seems to be warming up and a symphony of bird songs can be heard issuing from the treetops, which makes me excited for spring; and spring planting! This coming Friday I am planning to put the plastic over the greenhouse and soon thereafter the shutters and heater will be installed. Just in time for the beginning of seeding everything is falling into place.

In other exciting news, I have ordered 50 Barred Plymouth Rock chicks from Mt. Healthy Hatcheries. They will be arriving at the end of the month and, now that I think of it, just in time for Easter! Through the wonderfully helpful advice of Paul Clever & crew of Good Earth Farm in Athens, I feel more confident about raising the little creatures. I will be putting up pictures for folks to look at when they arrive.

 

 
 
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