News from the Farm | October 30, 2023

This past week was a good reminder that the weather is in charge, not us. As mentioned last week, we got about an inch of rain on Sunday the 22nd, much more than was forecast. The rain washed off the thick coat of dust blanketing everything, making people and plants alike feel a little refreshed and brighter. However the rain dictated what happened during the rest of of the week and slowed us down in making progress on our long list of time-sensitive tasks.

You should not use a tractor on wet soil – it can compact soil and irreparably harm soil health. We’ve got a lot of work to do to that involves tractors: mowing summer crops, weeding fall and winter crops, bed prep, and planting seeds (flowers, vegetables, and cover crop), and transplants (flowers and vegetables). As the days get shorter and colder, we’re in a race against time to get it all done. As we get closer to the winter solstice, plant growth and biological activity in the soil almost stops, so we need to get as much done before then. This slowdown means that each week we delay planting means several weeks delay in harvest. The timing of cover crop planting is also important; we want the seeds planted before it rains too much to plant, but late enough that we don’t need to irrigate and those fields are irrigated just with rain. The same for our wheat.

We also had a very light frost on Friday morning, the earliest we can remember having one. It wasn’t a hard enough frost to kill off the remaining summer crops, but it was a good reminder that we’ve changed seasons and it’s time to move on. Some places on the farm still look like summer, though in others, especially in the perennial crops, the change in seasons is clear. The scarecrows are now watching over grape vines and fig trees that are rapidly dropping their leaves and the peach leaves are starting to turn colors and fall. Other things are falling too, but with human help: the pepper shade cloth came down on Friday and the tomato plants are being cut and the twine pulled out. Next comes removing the stakes, mowing the plants, and pulling up drip tape. 


One bonus of the rain, irrigators and tractor drivers, who otherwise would be very busy were on hand to help harvest olives for oil on Wednesday! We harvested about half the trees so we’ve got another half to go, tentatively scheduled for this Wednesday.

– Elaine Swiedler, CSA Manager