The farm is fairly diverse. We operate three greenhouses for both the transplants we need on the farm and also some for sale at our farmstand. Our six high tunnels are either growing a saleable crop or a cover crop year-round. In the field depending upon the weather, we’ll have seeds in the ground and plants set out right around the end of March or early April. In the orchard the season starts in February and keeps on going until late October. For our berries we prune in March and have them mulched in for the year by Thanksgiving.
We have three small greenhouses that are used to start all of our transplants. We generally begin planting in February and take our last succession planting of greens out around Labor Day.
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We have six high tunnels on the farm which are used for season extension and crop protection. With the high tunnels we have improved the quality of our tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers and melons. We have also been able to extend the growing season by a few weeks for these crops and for cooler weather crops such as spinach we have extended the growing season by several months.
Our crops are rotated through the various high tunnels on a multi-year year rotation. With the exception of carrots, radishes and peas, all of the crops we grow in high tunnels are grown from transplants started in our greenhouses.
Depending upon the crop being grown we use either drip irrigation or overhead sprinklers. The soil is regularly amended with OMRI approved materials including vegetable and dairy compost, mineral supplements, plant based compost, poultry compost and natural fertilizers. If needed, we may do supplemental feedings with liquid fertilizer and/or compost teas.
In addition to hoophouse vegetables we grow several acres of vegetables on the home farm and on some rented ground. We do a lot of succession planting and start direct seeding and transplanting at the end of March or early April, depending upon how long winter is lingering and finish up planting in the field with a last round of greens in late August.
We grow a little over one-half acre of DarSelect and DarRoyal berries. They are midseason medium size varieties with a lot of good strawberry flavor. They have done real well for us under organic management. In addition to U-Pick we offer pre-picked berries by the quart, half-flat and flat. We occasionally have frozen berries available also. We usually pick strawberries between June 1 and June 21.
We are replacing the raspberry plantings which were removed in 2011 and 2012. Our new patch will have berries in July and again at the end of August through September. We will only have a few raspberries this year as we are in the process of relocating and replanting our berry patch with new varieties which should be better suited to our climate and soils.
We had to remove our Chester Blackberries last season due to Orange Rust. We are evaluating other varieties of berries which may be more resistant and may plant replacement Blackberries next year.
We have a tasting orchard - about 30 varieties of apples, peaches, Japanese Plums, pears and nectarine trees in our one and half acre orchard. Most of the trees are on semi-dwarfing or full dwarfing rootstocks. We started planting trees in 2001 and finished up in 2004. Now that we have a better idea of the flavor and disease/pest resistance of some of our more obscure varieties we will be top working or replacing some of the trees with ones that do better for us.
We also keep beehives in the orchard for pollination, some excitement for the kids and honey.