Late Summer Farm Update

The autumnal equinox is just around the corner, leaves are falling, and a couple cooler, darker days have signaled the inevitable end of summer. Seven little piggies are being rotated through the Lower Garden to act as little tractors that efficiently root things up and also fertilize as they go. Once they are too large for the garden they will be moved into marginal woodlands along the roads. They feast on the abundant food scraps of our seventy person community as well as the nuts and nut butter waste from our small nut butter factory.

The first pig paddock move in the garden, early August. The pigs are slowly rotated, section by section, through the former brassica and potato patches.

Five weeks later. This shows the succession of cover crops being planted (to the left) as the pigs move through the former brassica and potato patches. Sudan grass and then buckwheat have been planted. As the season progresses, rye and vetch will be planted. Note that all the dent corn has been harvested, with a few stalks remaining to act as trellises for beans that had been planted (the beans didn’t do very well this year). Winter squash was interplanted with the corn. For the past many years the gardens always have at least two of the Three Sisters, but the beans vary and typically aren’t as productive as the corn and squash.

Both moving the pigs and seeding cover crops behind them is very weather and time dependent. Ideally, they are moved before they start making holes and compacting the soil.

The dent corn drying off in the big red garden shed. Richard, who has worked the land here for over a decade, has been breeding this variety for seven years. Once the corn is ready he will selectively save seed for next year’s crop. All the extra corn will be eaten by us throughout the year. Richard cooks dinner every Monday and his nixtamilized corn tortillas are the best!

The pigs and an idea of the path their paddock has taken through the garden.

Of course, with all the surpluses coming in right now Foopin (Food Processing) is very busy canning, freezing, pickling, etc. to reduce food waste as much as possible. This year, so far, we have put up 75 cans of tomato sauce, 50 of pickles, 41 of relish (sweet pepper, hot pepper, etc.), 67 of whole peeled tomatoes, and 9 tomatillo salsa. This is what has been put in the root cellar. It doesn’t count anything put into the kitchen or freezers (peppers, okra, etc). There is also an abundance of hot and savory sauces for people to enjoy with each meal.

Canning whole peeled tomatoes.

Chopping and freezing excess peppers.

Blanching and peeling tomatoes for canning.

Most of the canned veggies go right in to the root cellar.

Spinach and other greens are going into the ground and the garden is beginning to prepare for cooler temps. There will be plenty of work harvesting sweet potatoes in the coming weeks. This year there are three large patches and it will likely be the largest harvest in all of East Wind’s history. That is about all I have for right now, queue the picture roll!

Waste tomatoes (and an eggplant, apparently) from tomato processing go to the pigs, as do most food scraps.

It can be hard to keep track of all the pepper varieties cultivated each season. Here are the sweet peppers and the next picture showcases the hot peppers sorted and labeled (very convenient for cooks!) in the walk in.

Sorting and labeling things in the walk in makes for less waste and happier cooks!

Preparing spinach beds in early September.

Yeah, we go through a lot of these.

Yours truly mowing the overgrown tomato paths after getting back from a vacation. Early in the season I like to collect the clippings and use them as mulch, but later in the season it adds considerably to the amount of time needed to this task (takes me about four hours to do all of the gardens without collecting the clippings)

Shari harvesting thyme in the lower herb garden.

It seems every time I go in the walk in the number of kombucha kegs is increasing. That Ginger Jolt was so good!

One of the water lines in the Lower Garden burst. Here, Taeo is fixing it up and showing new member Nicole how it’s done.

A typical mid to late summer lunch. Remixed leftovers, newly cooked rice and lentils, and fresh musk melon and watermelon. Lunches are typically the previous night’s leftovers with a couple new dishes. Dinners are no leftovers and all new dishes. I eat a lot of melon at each meal, so good to have fully ripe melons. I’ve heard that pictures of plates full of food were super ‘in’ about two years ago and here we are.

Here our layers are eating food scraps from the kitchen.

Watermelons are in decline and no longer ‘market worthy’ (we don’t market farm), but just because they are smaller doesn’t mean they don’t taste great!

Boone in the process of stretching mozzarella.

Cayli J milking Mary Jane.

One of two fall carrot patches that was recently weeded and thinned (but I took this photo before mowing the margins), directly adjacent to one of the soon to be harvested sweet potato patches.

Post by Sumner. Pictures by Sumner and Fran.

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