Starting from Scratch at A Bushel and a Peck Farm

In my first blog, I talked about all the planting we did, both into pots for later transplanting, and as the season progressed, direct planting. Well, all those plants are now producing and we are harvesting the fruits of our labors. There has been a crazy weather year. Usually the tomatoes start producing before the beans, but this year the beans have hit full force and the tomatoes are very slow to ripen. Keeping ahead of the beans (and the weeds) is a challenge.

Market days are Tuesday and Saturday and right now we are selling summer squash (yellow and zucchini), beets, some tomatoes of various types, onions, kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and of course BEANS.. The lettuce, spinach and the other green spring crops sold well, but now have all bolted and were plowed under. They will be replanted in the very near future.

We have also started more plants for succession growing, and as the existing plants like the cabbage and broccoli are harvested, the ground is being tilled and the fall crops will be put in. Insects are a continuing problem, and this year some of the normal organic sprays are difficult to get. Since some of the organic sprays are harmful to bees, we can only spray in the evenings. With so many evening storms, this has been difficult, so we have suffered insect damage. Some of the full season veggies we have planted are coming along well. We should be selling sweet corn very soon and the winter squash is looking good, at least the part of that field that we weeded today does. LOL. Some of that may be ready for market soon. While the tomatoes seem to be taking a long time to ripen, the Delicata and Butternut squash are coming in early.

While I’m only working the vegetables, the farm also has bees, chickens and beef. A late frost killed many of the spring blossoms that the bees needed for honey. All the beekeepers in the area are having problems because of this and are actually feeding their bees. There will not be much honey available this year, On the good side, we had a new addition to the farm family: a happy and healthy 100 pound calf. Also planned for next year is to enlarge the chicken flock.

My goal in this program was to learn about starting the gardens from scratch, succession planting, insect control, crop rotation and marketing. I am getting good training in all these areas.

Alan Nywening, 2020 FARM Intern

A Bushel and a Peck Farm, Laurel Bloomery, TN