2016 marks the beginning of our fourteenth season of farming Mountain View Organics. The fields are disked and cover cropped, which brought us some beautiful visitors to the open fields. The cranes pictured below faithfully landed on the seeded fields each morning until the seeds germinated. I see these same birds down the road a piece on another open seeded field. These cranes are a rare sight around here and are welcome. We do not mind sharing a few seeds with them for the tranquility and beauty they provide.
Skye is driving the John Deere up the freshly graveled drive after disking the fields. No rototilling this season, simply disk and drag prior to opening up furrows for planting with a triangular blade.
Record rainfall this winter brought a multitude of blossoms on our fruit trees. Pictured from left to right are nectarine, apricot, and cherry blossoms.
Flats of transplant containers filled with vitality for a healthy start. We watch the biodynamic calendar for optimum planting dates for the various crops.
A variety of tomatoes from paste to large red heirlooms were started in flats, then transplanted to 6-packs, and later to 3″ and 4″ pots for momentum and prime readiness for transplanting in May.
Red and green cabbage show steady growth.
Greens, including various lettuces, kale, and mustard will be planted this weekend, along with onions, potatoes, broccoli, and cabbage!
Seedlings of watermelon, various muskmelons, and cucumbers show a healthy germination rate.
Who says that corn can’t be transplanted??? We do it!
Gopher snake! A good guy in the garden…they help to keep the rodent population in check. It is, however, startling when bending down to harvest a beautiful zucchini, to find that diamond pattern with the same coloration as the deadly rattlesnake right at one’s fingertips! Look for the rattle…also the head is shaped slightly different, with the rattlesnake having more of a triangular head.
Cucumbers are reaching out, flowering, and producing fruit!Painted serpent, or striped Armenian cucumber
Walla Walla onions bulbing up nicely!
The tall proud red guy is the rooster…he’s a nice one! The hens are quite happy!
Baby chick born…mama hen keeps watch!
Tomatoes are forming and hanging on the vines!
Black widow…what a beautiful spot for your web…you carry a deadly venom, but when you look so healthy and nurturing towards your young, it is tough to kill you…just don’t come into the house and you will survive!
Blackberries starting to develop a little color…
Melons growing…hope to have some for market soon!
Omi and Opi are happy with this early harvest share!
Jordan and Sean prepping 2nd field of summer squash
Lots of hula hoeing!
Skye shot a rabbit…sad to take its life, but when this beautiful creature methodically eats all that we have grown, there isn’t much choice…View of Mt. Shasta from Mountain View Organics
Halona melons are usually the first to harvest, but we have had nightly visitations out in the melon fields. At first, the foliage was being eaten. Next, when the melons started forming, they were munched by some critters, which we correctly guessed were rabbits. Here we have EVIDENCE!!! They have been caught in the act on our Bushnell night vision motion sensor camera!!! A glowing eye can be seen on the right side of the picture… Now we see two eyes…Long ears…we see you!Good…eat from that melon pile…instead of taking a fresh bite out of each and every melon.Clearly…you are a rabbit!Yeah…you! We have EVIDENCE!!! These after-midnight parties have got to end!
View of sky looking towards farm from Lake Shastina on the 4th of July. A huge storm hit us on the 4th, causing the gulch to open up and cut pathways through the farm. Needless to say, we have been repairing damage to save our crops.
This gulch remains dry most often, but can become a raging river during a strong storm. It opened up the night of July 4th and cut streams throughout the farm and down the road.
Fairly substantial scar running down from gulch. Rock pile at top of property calms the torrent, but did not stop it.
Empty field next to corn shows where water flowed through.
Jordan and Skye prop corn up with shovel scoops of soil.
Same field…standing straight and tall!
This is a later planting of corn, younger and more resilient…we waited to see if it would right itself…
It appears as though all is well with the corn at present.
Watching the storms on July 7th…wondering…Dramatic skies!
2015 marks our second season living on the farm and our 13th season farming this land! It is nice to roll out of bed at the crack of dawn to check the crops, turn on the water, and plan for the day’s work, sipping a nice strong cup of coffee! The crops are growing well, the weeds are under control as never before, and the squash is starting to produce. You can find our zucchini, gold bar, and zephyr squash at Berryvale currently. We look forward to joining the Mt. Shasta Farmers’ Market in the next few weeks, once the onions bulb up and the cucumbers start producing!
A nice fresh layer of organic aged bark from Shasta Forest Products in Montague helps retain moisture and keeps the top of the soil from crusting over. It also allows room for the onions to bulb up under the compost, protected from the scorching heat and blinding sun. This view is a diagonal from the bottom field up towards the top back corner.
What is the secret to a successful farm? NO FEAR OF HARD LABOR!!! That’s it! We spend most of our time hoeing and weeding, allowing space for the plants to establish themselves. These pictures show the fruits of our labors thus far…we have had many challenges along the way. The warm winter allowed for more pests than ever before. Early on, we fought flea beetles and cutworms. Currently, we are battling rabbits…THEY ARE NOT CUTE!!! Our melon fields are growing beautifully, but have nightly visitations by rabbits, who are eating the Halona melons as soon as they are about the size of a baseball…not even ripe! We tried pepper and garlic spray around the perimeter of the field to deter them, set traps, and night vision cameras. Still, we see new bites in our melons each morning. Skye will be going on patrol before dawn to catch them in the act and shoot them…yes, shoot them before they take out our entire melon crop…we still have faith that the gnawed up melon vegetation can recover without these persistent critters present.
The first melons to produce are the Halonas. They are an orange fleshed sweet muskmelon. What is pictured here are the Galia melons, which are next to start production. Looking good at present…still more reason to get those rascally rabbits out of our fields! Galia melons are green fleshed, sweet with an almost tropical flavor!
We planted two corn varieties this season. An early yellow sweet corn, which can be seen tassling in the background. In the foreground, we have Silver Queen, which is a later white sweet variety. Once the corn starts producing, we should be bringing it to market for a nice strong consistent run!
You can spot the yellow squash blossoms throughout this prolific field of summer squash. Identification of zucchini plants versus gold bar and zephyr (both yellow squash) can be noticed by the coloring of the leaves. The green zucchini has a darker green color, with a mottling of color on the surface, where the yellow squashes have a solid green color.
A view from the top of the property, across the winter squash and down towards the corn fields…it is amazing how much these plants have grown in the last few weeks! When they first got planted and took time establishing themselves, it seems they would never grow…then suddenly…WOW!!! Good qualities for farmers to have are patience and imagination….
View of Mount Shasta from ground level framed by sweet Walla Walla onions…
Thank you flowers and thank you bees! You are most important!
Going Back in Time…
When the end of the school year comes around and our focus shifts to the farm, there is not time for much else. This photo is taken from the lower corner of the cucumber field up towards the back top corner of winter squash. Photos are taken, but we can’t seem to get to the computer. With these excruciatingly high temperatures, well above 100F, we are driven indoors to the cool comfort of our fans and air conditioner to take time to reflect on our work and share our experiences with others. The fields look good, but it’s such a sensitive time, full of wonder and hope….this was just 3-4 weeks ago….
Baby tomato plants at the beginning of June!
Early fields and young grapes…
This is what the fields looked like after a late May rain…water puddling in the pathways.
Corn transplants are started in tree containers for long straight roots.
After 12 years of farming on this beautiful piece of earth, our pump gave out and we’re having a new variable speed system installed. The good news is that we hit water at 80 feet and the well is 200 feet deep! A deeper appreciation of water is definitely gained…