The forecast for this week was for temps in the mid 90's and high humidity. So far the weatherman has been right. Yesterday, I learned how to make soil blocks. You take a device that you compact a potting soil mixture into the bottom of so that when you push the plunger it pushes out five blocks of dirt, ready to plant a seed in. It takes the place of little seed starter pods that you buy. The potting soil has to be just the right consistency....not too wet and not too dry for it to work correctly with the seed. Get it too wet and when it dries, it gets hard as a rock. Too dry and it won't germinate the seed. We started some broccoli and cauliflower plants for the winter CSA program. We did this in the greenhouse where it was REALLY hot. Glad we didn't have to do too much in there.
Yesterday and today we picked tomatoes. They are going crazy in this heat. Today's weight was around 285# and yesterday's was a little less. Wow ! On Thursday the CSA members can come to a "U Pick night" to get as many as they want. After the amount they'll get tomorrow, they may not want any more. We did deliver Roma tomatoes and regular ones to both dining units today so that will make a dent in our massive quantity on hand. In the last two days we've also picked okra (red and the usual green), green beans, cucumbers, ground cherries, apples, berries, parsley and cilantro. We spent the tail end of today cleaning the cilantro...Yuck..I can't stand the smell of that plant. I can't even put my finger on what it smells like to me but it's so strong.
Yesterday while we were in the tomato patch, two male alpacas were fighting like crazy in the pasture near us. One brother was screaming at the other brother, spitting, throwing his neck into him, chasing him, trying to bite him, etc. I don't know what got into them but they must have carried on like this for 15-20 minutes. Ann said that they fight like this a lot. They actually split them up for a while but they both got so mopey that they put them back together again. The other two males in the pasture with them, just kept a wide birth while the show went on as if to say, "There they go again...."
Tomorrow will be the hottest day of the week, with temps of 95 and a heat index of 105. Our day now starts at 7:30 so we can beat the heat a little bit and finish up earlier. Tomorrow is CSA day so the afternoon will be spent indoors packaging the fruits and veggies for pick-up from 4:30 - 5:30. Probably will have the farmers market to work this Saturday, since we didn't go last week. Working out in the bean patch at mid-day made for hot work....someone turned on the spigot running down my back. It was sort a like Chinese water torture of the drippy kind.
We also got a bed ready for fall lettuce. Since lettuce needs cooler temps to germinate, we put shade cloth over the rows, which will get the soil to cool down 8 or so degrees from the surrounding soil. Hopefully the temps will cool off a bit next week to aid in cooling it down to where it needs to be by the time we plant the seed.
I'm starting to formulate what my project will be. All of the interns need to do a project while they are here. Mine is going to be tied to Sisters of Providence' land ethic...(go here to read it http://spsmw.org/sp/about-us/green-projects/land-ethic/ ) and how it relates to the food plots and sustainability here. I hope it will shape up into a usable document for the sisters to have moving forward.
Bree's friend, Andrew is volunteering here with us this week. He is interested in sustainable agriculture and wanted to check out what is done at White Violet Center. It's so nice to see young people, without a background in farming, showing an interest in agriculture. It gives me hope that our food system can be turned around if enough people get involved.
That's all from Indiana. Hope everyone enjoys the rest of their week !