Seasons at Procter Farm

  (London, Ohio)
Procter Farm
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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.

 
 

Outdoor Planting

There's lots happening on the farm now that spring has set in. We've planted over 100 fruit trees (apple and cherry), preped ground for a new high tunnel, put some of the first crops in the ground, and continue to seed in the greenhouse! The baby chicks are about one month old now and flying up on every available perch place. Additionally, one of our volunteers, Pete, had been devoting his time to building some much-needed tables for the greenhouse. You can see them in the photos below.

spinach

Spinach in the background and our first planting of nightshades (eggplant, pepper, tomato) up front.

sunflower seedlings

Sunflowers! - can't wait 'til they bloom!

sunflowers

More sunflowers - they have grown so quickly due to the warm temps

scallions

Our onion, leek, and first scallion planting hardening off (becoming acclimated to the outdoors) before being planted out in the field.

lettuce

First lettuce planting, also hardening off

 
 

Spring Sprouts

 

2013 sproutSpring has definitely sprung here at the farm, (even if the Ohio weather doesn't agree!) In our greenhouse early spring sprouts have already begun to emerge from the cell trays. There are currently alliums (such as onions) and brassicas (such as cabbage) showing their cotolodyeons.

 

Also, last Thursday 50 little chicks arrived! Believe it or not, they arrived at the local post office from the hatchery via overnight shipping. The post office then just calls the number written on their box in order to notify the purchaser that their chicks have arrived. This is the second year that we have received chicks this way and it is still so funny/amazing to me! The chicks are all golden comet pulletts, from Mt. Healthy Hatcheries near Cincinnati, OH. This breed is known for its cold tolerance and is said to be good for farms where chickens are pasture-raised. Currently they are cheeping contentedly and growing rapidly under heat lamps in the shop. Come check them out next time you visit!

Additionally, the farm is blessed to have 2 wonderful new volunteers contributing to the farm this year. Molly Rosati and Sharon Mavis have generously agreed to share one of their weekday mornings helping with various tasks around the farm. Look for their volunteer profiles on the volunteer page of the Procter Center website! 

baby chicks

baby chicks

 
 

Season Extension

September 26, 2012

brussels sprouts in greenhouse

With the cool weather of fall arriving on the winds that sweep across SR 38 it comes time for moving the growing plants indoors.

Because the greenhouse size is one that will grow with the farm there is space in the back half of it to plant some hardier crops. These crops will grow slowly until about January, when the daylight hours are at their shortest, then resume growth in February. Most of the winter growing season will allow the plants to maintian more of a "holding pattern" than anything else; getting the majority of thier growing out of the way before temperatures drop and sunlight diminishes. Then as long as the temperature in the greenhosue doesn't fluctuate too much the plants should stay fresh, healthy, and crisp until they are needed.

Some of the crops that will be grown this winter are spinach, braising mix, lettuce, beets, brassicas such as kale and brussels sprouts (shown here), and even early tomatoes!

 
 

A Special Tomato Story

June 1, 2012

Last month I was contacted by a woman interested in giving me a couple of tomatoes. This woman's name was Deanna Douglas, and these weren't just some ordinary tomatoes. She explained to me that these heirloom fruits had been cultivated by her grandfather since WWII. Each year Grampy, as he was affectionately known, would choose 1 or 2 of the best looking tomatoes and save the seeds from them, first by soaking the seeds to remove the surrounding "goo" then by setting time out to dry. The seeds would be stored carefully away until the following March, when he would again begin to cultivate the tomato offspring, if you will.

These very special and historic tomatoes, whose variety name is Grampy's Tomatoes" are now growing in the newly-constructed raised beds at Procter. Deanna said she wanted to make sure some of this variety continued to be grown and what better place than a farm, where other veggies are already being tended. She also told me that the tomatoes are an interesting green striped and very sweet variety. Needless to say, I am excited to watch these special tomatoes grow and to taste the green tomatoes when they are ready.

If you are interested, next time you are at Procter take a couple of minutes to check out these tomato plants, exuding as much health and vigor as they are history.

tomato

Grampy's Tomato on the left and a Brandywine on the right, both given to me by Deanna.

Below are just a couple of snap shots of what has been going on at the farm.

blue greenhouse

I finally got the greenhouse endwalls painted! One thing I learned when buying the paint way back when the greenhouse was first constructed was that I had to wait until the temperature was above 50 degrees F at night and fairly dry, so the paint wouldn't just warp off the wet and cold wood. A couple of weeks ago I got the perfect conditions and went for it. It was a great experience, one, because I love painting, and two, because now I know the wood is protected from the elements and will last longer.

scallions

Some little scallions are making their way in the clay-dirt. With the rain we are getting now they are sure to spring up a couple of inches. Alliums love water!

beet

I am amazed at how well the beets have grown over the past couple of weeks. As I learned from two visiting farmers from California, beets and other root crops do rather well in clay-y soil. This was from a shared observation though none of us really understood the reasoning behind the result; given that the fruit of a root crop grows mostly in the soil has to push its way through the clay in order to expand in size. Any ideas?

 
 
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