Well its that time of year again when the kids go back to school! This year we have had an excellent, motivated, crew that has put in several hours of weeding, picking, washing, shredding, and prepping your vegetables. Next week, only Ryan and Laura will remain on the farm full time as most of the crew heads off to school.
In the early part of the week Ryan and crew picked and picked and picked! Due to some higher than average demand for our vegetables, that’s about all they’ve had time to do. Ryan has also continued the irrigation marathon that began last month. We continue to put fall crops out into the field and watch as the pumpkins and winter squash take shape and grow.
This week I thought I would share with you some of our work with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA). In early 2013 we received a grant from the NDA to increase the length of the season we can produce cantaloupe on the farm in Nebraska. This grant assisted us in the purchase of a plastic mulch layer (with drip tape laying abilities) that pulls behind the tractor. We have been testing the success of a variety of plastic mulches, including different thicknesses, textures, materials, and variations on biodegradeable.
In the picture above, Alex is getting the plastic ready to go. One person pulls the two lines of drip tape down and then pulls the plastic under the two side wheels. The person behind the tractor (Alex in this case) then holds the tape and plastic in place until the tractor gets moving. The discs throw dirt onto the sides of the plastic to hold it in place. And we shovel the ends with to keep them from flapping. The first few times we used this required a bit of trial and error in getting the bed prep correct, having the right temperatures outside, the right wind, and the right soil moisture. Now it usually goes out pretty smooth.
Ryan, Katie, and Crew