Strawberry Hill Farm / Blog / Weekly Update Cows & Bees, Corn & Sweet Potatoes

Weekly Update Cows & Bees, Corn & Sweet Potatoes

Posted on by Tim Livingstone

Has been a busy week and a wet one too.  I've never had such an appreciation for soil quality and soil types as I have this year.  We have all types here on the farm and the well drained soils with good structure have grown good crops even with all the rain.  The heavier clay soils have done poorly.  We are grateful for the fact that we have several acres of nice well drained soil.  

The picture above is the view from our bedroom window - our sweet corn patch for the year.  There are three different maturity dates of corn planted here so we hope to have corn for three weeks starting the end of this week or early next week.  Every plant was hand seeded in the greenhouse, handled again at transplanting, carefully cultivated for weeds, and then fenced to keep the raccoons out.  We can expect to get one ear of corn per plant on about 80% of the plants, Sweet corn is probably our most popular crop but also our least profitable.  Most organic growers don't even bother to grow it because it is too difficult and doesn't pay well.  Conventional growers use fungicides on the seed at seeding, weed killers to control weeds, and then lots of insecticide to keep the worms out.  If people only understood what went into good organic corn, they'd gladly pay $1.50 per ear but the reality is that most people just think in terms of the cost per dozen...

 

I mentioned last week that the deer were getting into our sweet potatoes.  Well the good news is that after a spray of very bad smelling fish (Elton did the spraying with a minimum of complaining :-) and a fence put up on Friday, I cannot find any more deer damage.  I'm hopeful that they will find food elsewhere until our crops are out of the ground in September.

I pulled a couple sweet potato plants to see how they are coming and as you can see the roots are forming!  This crop is one of my favourites.

 

Fennel is looking great too.  It likes a lot of water and fertility so I think we'll have a good crop.  We find that it does well on the biodegradeable mulch you see pictured here.  By the end of the season the mulch breaks down and becomes part of the soil so we don't have to pull it up and take it to the landfill.

 

We separated a hive of bees last week to make another hive.  Bees are key to pollination on the farm so it is very rewarding to find them all over in the flowers doing their job.  

 

Here is the view from the fence this morning.  The cows have a large sparsely wooded section to feed from.  Our cows are quite spoiled and don't like it so much, but there is a lot of good food there where they help to keep the brambles down and build the land.

 

 

 

I took this final picture up on the hill with Maggie in the foreground to show the water pouring off everywhere.  Looking forward to a few sunny days.


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