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the fruits of summer

August 15, 2011

things have been busy as ever here, the weeks filled with harvesting melons, apples and peaches along with all our summer vegetables, and a few bunches of flowers to sell at the csa pickup on thursday afternoons. i’ve also been tilling and transplanting whenever there’s a chance — almost 30 120-foot beds of cool season crops in the past few weeks, with at least 10 more to go before we’re done with the fall planting. during my mother’s lovely week-long visit in late july and early august, she valiantly spent an entire day pushing seedlings  into incredibly hard, rain-hammered soil with her bare hands, breathing diesel fumes while i tried not to drive the tractor too fast. we are definitely feeling the lack of organic matter in our soils now, the result of 20+ years of conventional corn and soybean farming before turtle creek gardens was established last year.

past management of the land also contributed to an incredible weed seed bank, so during the times when the soil is too wet for tractor work, there are plenty of weeds to pull by hand. the rudbeckia and verbena flowers pictured above are some of the beneficiaries of that effort. meanwhile the crop duster planes and giant tractors with wing like spray booms patrol the vast corn and soybean fields that surround our small biodynamic oasis.

the weekends have also been full with rich social interaction — this past one i organized a young farmer gathering attended by over 60 people from near and far; the weekend before we had a very fruitful education planning retreat with the biodynamic farming and gardening association; and the one before that lorna and i traveled to viroqua to attend a series of lectures on sacred agriculture by dennis klocek. i hope to write about all these experiences soon. in the mean time, here’s a glimpse of the past few weeks on the farm.

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