healthy squash - crop rotationWell, it’s official: summer is finally here! Things on the Stony Point Center farm have been humming along for the past few weeks and we’re all getting excited about the harvests that await us in the weeks and months to come.

We’ve been harvesting lettuce, kale, and collard greens from the Cornerstone garden all month, although we’re still waiting on cabbage and cauliflower to head up. On the other side of the Cornerstone garden, we’ve planted flowers, herbs, squash, beans, and cucumbers. Our first cilantro harvest was last week and we’re hoping that more herbs and flowers will be ready for picking soon. The squash, beans, and cukes are growing by the day—harvests for those crops will hopefully begin in July. I saw the first flowers on the beans as I was walking the gardens this morning!

In the Friendship gardens, our carrots, beets, and potatoes are all looking great. We’re especially excited about the beets because last season our beets were stifled by an unidentified plant disease. This year the beet greens look strong and healthy and some of the beets themselves are starting to fill out. buckwheat in f2One of the Friendship gardens (the larger one) will not be planted with any crops for harvest this year. Instead, it has been planted with buckwheat, a great summer cover crop for our region that has grown nice and tall with all the rain we’ve been blessed with recently. Eventually, we will till the buckwheat into the soil so that it can decompose in the field and add to the soil’s organic matter. We’ll plant a second cover crop in the fall, and come next spring, that field will be ready for a crop planting. At some point this summer, we’ll also move the chickens into that field to help add some fertility that will nourish next year’s crops as well.

The Gilmor gardens are all planted, too, and we’re anticipating a bountiful harvest there as well. We’ve already harvested all of the spring spinach and strawberries, but the onions, tomatoes, eggplants, sweet peppers, and corn will be ready beginning in late summer and early fall, if everything goes according to plan.

Our Farm the Land, Grow the Spirit Summer Institute residents arrived at the beginning of the month, and they have been a HUGE help on the farm. What a blessing to have five enthusiastic young adults to work on the farm four mornings a week. At this point, I have certified each of them as a professional weed-puller. Last week they were hard at work double-digging a new field that will be the permanent home of perennial fruits and berries on our farm. In the coming weeks, we’ll be putting up a fence and planting blueberries, red currants, gooseberries, and nanking cherries in the field they have been working so hard to prepare for planting.

I have to say, it’s a great time of year to be a farmer!

See you in the gardens,
Will

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