6-29-22

Yesterday, what I remember: 
Barbara weeded and covered the sweet potato section of row 59. Afterwards, a fawn came and nibbled something in the adjoining rhubarb row, it then appeared to to be looking for the sweet potato plants, it kept looking, Barbara didn't lose her temper but tried to shoo it, she couldn't.  I don't remember how she made it scram. 
Now, we (Jason) will set some nite guards in that row facing west  for Deer control.  
Phyllis drowned three chipmunks from the greenhouse door area. The  surgical gloves I had on for squishing potato bugs were "handy" for  disposal of the dead munks. No problem. We have about 10 flats of  seeded flats in the greenhouse now, all covered with plastic domes because of the new chipmunk settlers. I will take a picture of her trap for tomorrow's report. 
We planted some small Basil pots from row 39 in new row 12, when we need them I hope we can just pull out the pots complete with fully grown basil . Digging up small basil is easy and it serves to thin the crowded basil row 39. 
The rest of row 12 was seeded to Roma II flat beans (over 100') . "In sight , in mind " , is why they are planted there. you have to keep an eye on beans. 
The potatoes were sprayed again, it looked like the beetles' eggs had all hatched, it was then or never. Bob "wanded" while I squished. the potatoes are in flower
But for the beetles, they are by far the most vigorous I have ever grown. Because of the 12" high hilling there are few weeds, while the neighborhood has flowering red root pigweed 30" tall. 
Today: 
1. Install the 6x6 grid over the three chestnut field flower rows, they are only 125' long. So that should be quick. ( this is a common usage of quick round here, is it proper? ) 
2. Weed the  lisianthus rows ( so old ) use  scissors so you don't pull the lizzy out. Tomorrow, I hope to say they were done: Flying dishes will attract attention, but is not an approved management technique, anymore. 
3. Stop anyone that looks like they might pick our shelling peas. Only pick row 7 now, the snap peas. Do not pick rows 8 and 9 which are shelling peas. I will put a yellow caution tape across the aisle between 8 and 9. the snap peas last longer than the shelling peas however some hi 90's weather is about to land  which  will cause the plants to be less vigorous. Our shelling peas will be ready for shelling in a week or so. July 4 would be right but we may be a few days later.
4. Carrots: we need a few bunches for the yellow cooler sales. Using the fork that I left in row 30 or so, loose the carrots and pull out all that you loosened. Bring a hoe and remove all the weeds left where the carrots were harvested, including the area ( about 40' of  row) that I pulled last Saturday for the market. Do not let the weeds take over where the carrots were dug. After you have put the carrots under a hydrant's full flow, leave the leaves on and put them in bunches into clear bags . Place them in the yellow cooler. The bags will prevent them from quickly becoming limp (although when that happens put them in a pail of water and they will come back) 
5. Bait the traps for chucks, put the traps at the south end of the twenties rows. I have a couple of  macintosh apples (I prefer crunchy types) for you to use in baiting. The Havachuck trap. 

IMG_1577.JPGIMG_1578.JPGIMG_1583.JPG  
Bob is Spraying our potatoes the strip of weeds in the left shot is what happens when you space the potato row too wide. I measured carefully and flagged each row when we planted 48" center to center.. I made a mistake there. There is no way we can control that little row of weeds other than weed wacking then hand hoeing. As you can see it is not urgent yet.  You can see the immature potato bugs at right. 

6-28-22

Yesterday: the sweet potatoes were weeded and covered (59), the eggplant rows 51 and 59 were Neem sprayed using the big red tractor, the potatoes west row and east rows were sprayed, a lug of yellow squash, zukes and cukes were picked. The row covers in the phyllis shed were bagged and brought to the basement of 24 s prospect st. Included in that is a bag of 1/2"x1/2" deer netting. The vacated corner is now a jumble of tubs, bushel baskets, barrels which  were jumbled about outside the shed. Put loose bins, tubs, barrels, 5 gal pails there when you see them. 


Do today: 
0. Irrigate the onion rows 58,57 they need water to swell with, now. 
1. Weed the edges of row 51 classic eggplant pull out any weeds in the  row too
2. I will go get chicken feed at Tractor Supply. I think we are down to 9 chickens. They are dying from living now, not from the usual predators. 
3.  I will get a piece of fabric for the triangular gap between the tents  (10' legs 8' base)  at the market. It will be held in place by big hand spring clamps. 
4. Weed, using scissors, the lizzies in the upperfield, I think it is row 5 or 6. 
5. Water seeded flats in the  greenhouse and plant a flat of arugula, the new seed packet is in a steel drawer. 
6. The phyllis shed has a torn bag of white N, please use it to fertilize, again, the corn. Sprinkle it along the new flower row 11 too.
7. I will paint a sign for Amity st : summer squash, zucchinis, cukes  ( all $4/ quart box),  lettuce, kale, chard, celery, scallions, basil,  carrots with an arrow to Sunset Farm. Keep a few on the outside counter at the yellow shed so customers will see them, those that get  nibbled will go to the chickens as they are discovered. They must be visible from your car without bars and nets ..the nibble losses represent the ad price. I will plug electronic rodent repellers
8. I put 100 new plastic pots in the greenhouse for making  20 basil pots from the young basil in the south end of row 39. Use the larger pots in the greenhouse to pot more large basil from row 3. Do as many as you can . Be sure to water them. 
9. Install the 6x6 netting over the flower rows 83,84 The posts are up. there are more posts if needed at the wash stand. 
10. Electric shock fence wiring and an electric extension cord were found in the phyllis shed and are on " the table" for putting on reels/caddies , when you need some shade. DO NOT put things away unless it is clear  where they should go. Keeping our equipment stored and findable by all is a dream I had and still is. 
IMG_1351.JPG 
Sunset farm byproducts. Like flower petals. 
IMG_1350.JPG
Now this is fertilizer and barrels. Covers are in the 24 s prospect st basement 
in big black 50 gallon bags with labels and plastic ties
IMG_1347.JPG 
This works, except sometimes the tractor goes in too far. We used to have to use the big  broom to clear a plastic row that got too much dirt on it when it was installed .. we can't do that anymore since the  new biodegradable plastic would be ripped by that broom ( would you like to have it?). Leaning things against the shed wall is to be human. You can tell so much with  a glance at the tools we use; the orange / white pole is a tree branch pruner..getting to the fields and rows without losing your hat or glasses is necessary.

6-27-22

Do asap
1. Cover the sweet potatoes at the south end of row 59. Use hoops . 
2. also hoe/weed the edges  so the  weeds won't be 2' high when the cover is removed. 
3. Bait and set a chuck trap at the  south end too, of row 59. 
4. Pick cougar yellow squash and zucchinis and cukes that are more than 6" long.  Cukes can go in the gray cooler under towel. (keeps them hydrated)
They all sold well at the market in quart boxes. 
5. After all that bending over stretch you while picking snap peas in  row 7. put them in a covered low lug in the gray cooler too. Pick them every day.
6. Plant #72 plug flats  of fennel, arugula, dill, kohlrabi, and cover them with clear lids. The chipmunks know what we are doing. Time to keep the door shut again. 
Phyllis got emotional and actually designed, made and installed a chipmunk trap at the chippers greenhouse entry.. I love the community spirit. Thank you. I will tell you more about it,  if it works ... it involves swimming.  there seems to be a lot of them this year. 
7. Thin the basil at the south end of row 39 but putting small bunches of them in the new 5.5 dia x 3.5hi round pots which I just bought. We will set the pots on the ground in a new row #10 in front of the social seating area/ We will take them out as they grow and as we have the demand. Do 20 of them. 
8. It is a no brainer to notice that the corn needs hoeing between the stalks. Rows 70-83  David Sharken wrote to me that he had a hoe in his hand so he just started hoeing the corn.... it's  like a dowsing rod or  follow your nose. 
IMG_1562.JPG
This row of overseeded basil will be thinned by making small pots of basil thereby leaving spaces for the neighbors to expand.
IMG_1568.JPG 
Carrots as they come out of the ground: rows 31 and 32 I would like to continue loosening, then pulling them out in a continuous row so we can hand hoe where they were .let's keep that row from growing into a hi weed row. That means don't cherry pick the carrots, carry on where I  stopped last Saturday morning. I dug three lugs and they all sold. I left the Tops on so their freshness was undeniable. They are crunchy. 
--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell 

6-24-22

I guess I forgot to press the "send" button yesterday.. and I can't find it either. "Could be worse"  works for me. Today, we harvest lugs for tomorrow's market. 
I go to the farm at 545 am to meet Bob and load up our two vans... Bob is already there and hasn't even missed me. I muffle  my cough or he would want me to sit down till he is done. It is nice to drive the few blocks to the town common at about 15 miles an hour ( the speed bumps on Sunset Ave and loaded van) and not hold up anybody; In all our years there has never been a car behind me, much less one that wants to get somewhere. 

The farm is in better shape than ever before . Thank you for your help. 

The green house has about 10 seeded flats, most are covered with plastic domes since the chipmunk asked for more, yesterday. Fortunately, we had extra seeds to replant. 
Do today: 
1. Four lugs of lettuce, those who pick please trim them in the field so there is not a leaf you wouldn't sprinkle with oil and vinegar. Place them perfectly (looking up ) in the lug for sale , then put that lug in the cooler with a damp towel over it to prevent dehydration (wilting). Pick a lug of iceberg, Boston, red Beulah, iceburg again. 
Put them immediately in the gray cooler, do not let the sun look at them more than 5 minutes. 
2. Pick beets Red and Yellow  rows 3,4,14. Wash them in the wash trough, cut off the roots, pull off any ugly leaves. Shuguang came down at 6 last night to help and I left her harvesting beets .. so look on the blackboard as to how many were done. We need at least one lug of each. 
3. Cut the cilantro in row 11. take out any unappealing stuff and put the lug in the gray cooler ... right away! No wash. Cover with a towel. 
4. Go over the cougar yellow and the zuke squash in row 25 , go over the cukes in row 26 pick all more than 6" long. Wash them as needed. Put them in the phyllis shed , out of the sun but not refrigerated. covered so the squirrels can't  nibble.
5. We have about 15 broccoli  cut them with a two inch stem with leaves;  I will trim them like cauliflower.  Put them in the cooler , lay them flat to stack. 

Pull weeds as you harvest, throw them in the aisles, do not make piles, we will disk them in. Hoe the corn too. 
IMG_1565.JPG 
Three rows of watermelon red and yellow, and squashes rows ,53,54,55 . Row 52 on the left is snow peas. We  will not be able to disk again since the vines will fill the aisles... the next look will have 3' high pig weed and lambs quarters so dense that you find the melons as you twist your ankle.  The phone makes the field bigger than it is: the rows are 250'long not a1/2 mile. 
IMG_1563.JPG 
We will staple a 4' 6x6 trellis  to the stakes this will also make a barrier to keep the watermellon away from the eggplants in row 51. The snow peas will be done my mid july. They are growing too well; what will go wrong?  The soil in the deerfield is stone free and very well draining. There is a drip tape under the plastic in the very center of the row.

6-21-22

1.Plant all the tomatillos in row 56. Turn on the water in that row too. They are in the greenhouse. single row 24" apart. Install 4' stakes between them for weaving. 
2. Plant (in the greenhouse) seeds, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, lettuce, In two weeks plant arugula 2- 72 plug flats in the greenhouse. These will be be set out where the peas are now in mid to late August, after the flea beetles have left the field. (if we miss by a week or so and the bugs show up, we will NEEM them. If we get a heat wave of 3 digits in late summer, we will turn on the drip irrigation and go to the cape and socialize with our children. As Gert did so well. 
3. Set flower stakes ...do the snaps first and do them today! They are falling over. Start with row 24 next to the willow field. 
4. Weave tomatoes in the chestnut field. 
5. Trellis for snow peas in row 52 north end only about 50' long. 
6. weed south part of okra rows..rows 10.1 and 10.2  
7. Dig some basil pots.
8. Weed where ever your see them. 
9. Put row covers into black 50 gallon bags and use twistems  around the top.  I think I will  store them at 24 s prospect st basement. I would like to put the tubs and baskets in the shed where the  covers were. I wish our main entrance did not include a pile of trash barrels, bins, tubs and the handy junk pile.




Done: removed the covers from the  vines in the 54,55 rows.  , bags and hoops .. excellent job. Big job too. 
fertilized corn,spinach, we had our bait  stolen from our  chuck traps by squirrels. 
IMG_1562.JPG  
Weeded, way oveerseeded basil, we will pot some of these in the process of thinning it. 

Flowers for several events this week: zinnia, canterbury bells, snapdragon, yellow marigold, batchelor buttons, calendula, olaya, argeratum,sunflowers.
Vegetables now: broccoli, lettuce, kale, spinach, zukes, cougar summer squash, some hot peppers, chard, beets and beet greens scallions kohlrabi, 
Give the rhubarb a rest: it can be pulled again in September. 

You think people might secretly pick a zuke? Our zukes and cougar yellow squash secretly grow, they hope to get too big ( in a few days) so that we won't eat them. 
I planted them in row 25 very near our 50 year old compost pile, (it is a one way pile, where is Rodale's "gold" ? We don't know, never been seen.) You can throw them into the pile from the vines in that row. 


--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell 

6-20-22

1. Hoe and pull the weeds from the edges of rows  53,54,55 use the sharpened hoes too
2. Remove the covers, jhoops and bags from 54 and 55. I did 53 yesterday myself. The vines want to get out of the tents. It is easier to pull weeds first so you don't have the  good vines mixed in with the  weeds. 
3. Plant the flat of tomatillos that are in the greenhouse: set them in row 56 after the onions and leeks. leave room for about 10' of more leeks that are in the greenhouse. plant them too. Tomatillos: 2' apart. OME CENTER ROW, put in 4' posts between them . The posts are in the  bushes near row 35. 
4. Fill 72 plug flats with media at the greenhouse and plant two with  brussel sprout seeds. We will plant them in the ground in mid August. Maybe in row 13 but we will have to install new plastic for them when the Deere returns from the shop. 
5. Set out the 4' stakes for flower row 34 make them 3" inside the plastic edge and no closer than 12' apart ( about 4 paces) 
6 Jason: please set the camera ( I will bring D batteries) to see the half eaten butternut squash vines at  the south foot of row 26 so we can tell what time the chuck eats them. Wood chucks are punctual and easily addicted . Someone will have to be there to make them disappear. Waiting is not something I like to do. It might be possible to park  my spare silver honda close by with the windows open, I will do that today. I could listen to npr with head phones too. 
7. Fertilize the corn and the two remaining spinach rows. By hand with a shaking bowl of hi nitrogen 
8. Don't forget to finish weeding and thinning rows 10.1 and 10.2 : okra. they are looking great, they should be about 12" apart and will grow to 5' unless they get hit by the phylloxera, a soil-born disease /  the leaves will wilt and fall off, it happens to tomatoes too. It has happened almost every year. The good news is that okra has to be picked at least every other day and one day in august it you don't have to. 

Ripe now for the  "pick your owners"  lettuce all kinds, dill, cilantro, hot peppers, broccoli, kohlrabi, kale, beets, chard, flowers, parsley, scallions, new spring onions,spinach, pots of basil, 

IMG_1560.JPG
Baby snow peas (oregon) that were pushed into the soil thru the plastic by Barbara V note the irrigation line underneath the middle between the two rows. I wish the weeds weren't at the edges. At least they are not very big yet. Row 52 north end.
IMG_1558.JPG
A liberated watermelon row : red and yellow  Row 53, note the other two rows that still have deer and chuck covers. 
they will come off today
IMG_1553.JPG
Basil at the south end of 41. More hoeing and weeding needed, then we will thin by transplanting. (can do with basil but we will need an irrigation tape since this soil is so well drained. FYI after this photo was taken, the aisles were harrowed and the weeds gone.


6-19-22

Yesterday's market seemed to be empty:  then I noted that last year we said the same. this year sales were $730 vs 540 last year. (inflation).  We had about 30 "arrangements" @ $10. We brought back 4. Lots of lettuce, beets yellow and red, kale, chard, rhubarb, kohlrabi, great broccoli, spinach that was not as deep green as we would like, 6" pots of basil (3 lugs) baby squash and zukes, "spring onions" scallions, cilantro,first celery. 

Carrots not ready , maybe some next week plus  cukes, hot peppers, celery. 

It became windy and cold, the tents were weighted then they were attached to the tables too. 

Do today: 
Weave tomato rows in the chestnut field. Be sure they are tight..never open a tomato twine box ,ever. Weed the rows at the same time. 
Set out posts at least 12' apart along the flower rows . Set them 3" inside the edge of the plastic . Hit them down at least 8" Then set out the 3' wide 6x6 flower mesh
so they  don't fall over into the aisles. Pull big weeds when you plan to walk by. 
Remove sand bags, hoops, covers from the covered vine rows in the deerfield (fifties rows) Collect the bags and store/stack them on the pallets that Bob set out at each field. this makes mowing much easier and saves trying to get down from the large tractor while carrying Henry. Henry , the pug.  Pugs were bred .(gmo?) to provide the owner comfort , Bob obliges Henry  while he operates a  tractor. . 
Fertilize the corn, add some to the remaining spinach. 
Install 4' posts @ 7' apart for Zack's snow peas trellis  in row 52 north end. The peas are up. 
Hoe the basil at the south end of row 41 . Transplant clumps of seedlings into the vacant remainder of the row to the North where the parsnips never germinated.  (not one)this will thin them and help them grow at the same time. 
 
IMG_1551.JPG 
Picture was taken before all the lugs were filled. 
Taped on the blackboard at the upper left is Friday's list of things to do ( for volunteers and everyone else) .
canterbury bells below ... last year they were a bush with flowers ,this year they are a flower. Any clue? Note the weeds at the plastic edge, I hate it when they  happen. 
IMG_1531.JPG



6-17-22

1. Pick for tomorrow's market, I will make a list  with the number of lugs I think we need. New big items include: basil pots, beets, broccoli, yellow squash, beet greens.
We won't bring vegetable starts. 
2. Keep the lugs underfilled so they can be stacked. Don't put anything in a lug that doesn't look good. Take off all dead stuff. 
3. Install flower row posts and 6x6 netting. 
4. Weave the chestnut field's 6 rows of  marzano tomatoes. lift up low branches , keep the string on one side going one way and the other side going the other way do not  cross over which creates diagonals. Diagonal tomato twine makes harvesting difficult.  The tomatoes will be woven every 8" in height. (4 times over the season) 
5. When harvesting,  pull big weeds when you see them, including along the plastic edge. 
6. Harvest notes: 
Basil: put media in the bottom of the pot and 1" on top, this will reduce weight and hold water like a sponge. Let's have at least 4 lugs, they will sell.
Beets : harvest by feel, lemon sized beets red and yellow. Do not damage the leaves, remove ugly leaves. 
Broccoli: cut two inches of stalk attached to the head. Leave leaves on that stalk and trim like cauliflower. The stalk is good to eat. They  should be at least 4" in diameter
Yellow squash: cut them loose with a knife, cut all over 8" long, won't be many since the cool weather has slowed them up. Same with zukes put them in the same lug for now. 
Grasp 4 " clumps of beets roots and all: from the direct seeded row ( about row 9)  after the dill. This will thin the beets as well as make a lug of beet greens: a forkful of cooked beet greens .. more flavor and much more satisfying  than other relatively lightweight greens.
7. Hoe the direct seeded basil at the south end of row 40 or so. 
8. Remind me to fertilize the corn. 

Yesterday the traps were baited again.. the beans are sought after by the chucks. We set the wildlife camera to see the critters checking out the traps. We also enclosed the beans with electric  shock wires. 
Two rows of tomatoes were "woven". 6 more rows to go. Bittersweet, grape and virginia creeper vines, walnut seedlings were removed from the near by row 50 blueberry bushes. 
Okra rows weeding and thinning was and will be continued, flower rows were weeded, most of the aisles were harrowed with our gray 9N that Bob repaired ( needed a new ignition system, from the web) and our very old double set of disks. We need a new set of harrows: ours can't be greased since the holes in the disks have become too large over the years. The disk harrows are the heaviest attachment we pull. 
The potatoes and eggplants have been beetle sprayed and I saw a definite bug reduction ..of course that is exactly what I was looking for. .. while I was harrowing. 

No nap yesterday for me, Connie and I watched the commercial free Congressional hearing. So different to hear that Trump loved it when his staff would fight each other at oval office meetings: his entertainment! 
IMG_1547.JPG
Jason weaving the tomatoes. The box is made to hang from your belt. Note weed free shot.

IMG_1548.JPG
Disking the aisles in the  chestnut field yesterday. Trying to avoid running over the plastic and slicing it up too. 
                             


6-16-22

Must do today: 
1. Weave tomato rows 49 and 48. These are now sprawling and must pulled up and contained by tomato twine. . first one side of the row then the other side of the row. Do not make diagonals from one side to the other side in the row: in the past these have made harvesting more   difficult and also occasionally have creased a tomato. Never , never, never open a tomato twine box, just pull out the twine. Once a 6000' box of twine is opened ,it is useless and can only be thrown away. 
It is easier to do it two people at a time, one to hold up the branches. There is a lightweight pipe tool to make it easier but today we will concentrate on getting these two overachieving rows reigned in. 

2. I discovered that some of the okra thinning and weeding resulted in look- alike weeds being saved and the okra pulled out. We transplanted some last night to fill in the new blanks. So don't weed/thin the okra unless you are absolutely sure which plants are the okra! 

3. Bean rows must be protected by a double electric fence. There are two bean rows adjoining the carrots, one on each side of them. 

4. Time to remove the hoops , covers and sandbags from  rows 26 and 27. The rows with squashes and cukes. Before the market we must pick the saleable sized summer squash (boring) and zukes. Handle them extremely gently, the cougar yellow summer squash bruises too  easily. Never throw them into your box. Be sure to wash them and change lugs when you get back to  the sheds since the bottom of a black lug collects dirt like a provolone grater due to our very soft , fine but sandy soil. Don't miss any hoops, they will get entangled in the cultivators. They are very hard to see. 

5. Bait our havahearts; make a honeydew cocktail trail to the traps.. do one near the beans and the other near  row 53 watermelons. Right now our main critters are wood chucks and  potato beetles. Both can eat an entire 200' row almost overnight. Last year we vacuumed the beetles off the potatoes , we got a lot. But a couple of weeks later the eggs that were laid before we sucked them up, made slimy  nymphs that sucked up the leaves. So this year we are spaying with our 50 gal sprayer weekly . You will hear if the "safe ", organically approved , expensive ( $50/ spray/ week)  not only didn't harm our bees but did kill the beetles.  I  sound doubtful.. 
In years past we get potatoes but no where near our expectations. maybe 2x the potatoes we planted, not the 10x per boosters .
IMG_1538.JPG
IMG_1536.JPGThis is the second and final hilling. This is our best, now we know a pug is the secret. The 1956 farmall cub and its ability to go slow matches me. The pug mascot, Robert Cyr, is driving. I watched. 
IMG_1526.JPG  flowers , they will fill the page next time. the aisle on the right was just disked, I did the willow field rows yesterday that's why the flower shot. It is not so easy to walk on, with no swimming afterwards. Use the golf cart too. 

--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell 

6-15-22

It is weeding time, pull them out or cut them out with a sharpened hoe. I will grind them all the hoes on my shop  grinder today. A sharp hoe at the soil line will cut the weeds very easily. 

1. Please extend the electric wire around the  two bean rows : the new row east of the carrots and the row next to the spinach. The wire for these two items is to be designed to thwart woodchucks not deer. This means the wire must be no more than 10" above the ground or they will simply go under it. I have seen them do it many times in the past. We also have run  double wires about 16" apart so the chuck is immediately faced with another wire and doesn't have the space to jump again. This is needed at our bean rows. Look at the row next to the spinach and see that the southern half of the row is almost gone.  The main problem at the carrots are chucks not deer. The wires have to be as low as possible so the animal will have to touch them in order to eat. 

2. I bought 100 6" pots for the basil plants in row 3 south end. Dig up and replant in these pots enough to fill three deep lugs. Put them on the counter at the yellow hut. They need to sit in the new pots for a day or two to look good and they can be for sale 24/7. Please be sure there is a wood  $5 sign next to them. The pack of pots is in the greenhouse. The pots are very thin and delicate at least till they are filled ,, they cost about 30 cents apiece. If I like them, I will shop beyond amazon for a case. 30 cents bought a fancy loaf of bread at our neighborhood A&P in the 40's. 

3. Fill 12   72 plug flats with media and stack them in the greenhouse: they will be used for zinnias, cauliflower, broccoli, arugula, and lettuce for our fall crops. Zinnias will be seeded immediately however. 

IMG_1518.JPGIMG_1517.JPGIMG_1513.JPG
It took an hour or so to hoe the weeds from the east edge of row 59, then we ran the cub through to keep the rest of the aisle weed free. 
The next two photos are the classic eggplants in row 51 which are also home to colorado (the three nymphs on the leaf have a reddish tinge) potato beetle. 
We sprayed yesterday this time with capt Jack's dead bug spray. Which is an approved organic spray originally made from dead bugs found in a former rum distillery .
Last week I sprayed it with Neem oil which worked well. 
Note the weed free rows of onions , thanks to Barbara Van den Berg and  David Sharken. The row on the left is the new row of sweet potatoes. A few of their leaves are gone too.. but to chucks, not Colorado bugs.
Note the deep shade of the deer field in the evening: very comfortable. 


6-14-22

1. Continue weeding row 58 onions. 
2. Install wood posts for flower rows in the willow field. Over 100 posts are in the north verge near the hydrant. Place in pairs 4 paces apart. Place them 4" inside the plastic so the tractor won't snag the posts or the 6x6 mesh. 
3. Plant the  broccoli flat (on the wash stand)   at the south end of row 15 (or so ) where red lettuce once grew. There are more broccoli starts in the cold greenhouse.
deer June 10 2022.JPG in case you  didn't know. Next shots will be of our Fearing st dumpster..which fills too fast. We need the license plate in the photo, too, please.
IMG_1494.JPGPachysandra is grown here  for floral arrangements. The key to a healthy crop is to ignore it most of the year. Let the leaves from the oaks above provide them a deep compost mulch. That is their nourishment. Not having the blower guy remove them is a blessing too.  Stopping  him is the trick. (only young guys do it and that is just when you are napping) 
 
4. Jason: calibrate the 50 gallon sprayer: Add exactly 5 gallons of water to the tank (that already has water in it) and run it up and down a row  back and forth two times , so you then can measure the amount of spray emitted , including that during a turn around (if you left it on) . I want to know how many gallons of spray I  should mix per pass per row in the future. The real spray will be mixed and sprayed in the evening . I need a rough idea so I know whether I am preparing 2 , 5 or 10 gallons per row ( up and down )  there are many variables, so just bumble along and we will get an approximation: we will spray till we run out anyway, I just don't want to run out half way down  a row. 
5. Weed all patches of lisianthus. 

I will reset up the cub for cultivating: time to do the corn,and  the bean rows. Please temporarily take down the wire next to the spinach so we can cultivate the bean row it is adjacent to. 
Cut out the large vines and weeds in the row 50 blueberries.. or we will have to forget about  pies. 
Louise Reilly will be happy to hear the sour cherry trees at our  24 south prospect st property are now being eaten by wildlife.  Maybe stilts will help? When I pick them I eat them right away since the stem and pit often stay on the tree. 
I ground one hoe at my "shop" so that you will be better likely to slip just under the surface and cut the weeds.. this is useful in weeding and thinning the okra rows ( near row 8). 


6-13-22

IMG_1504.JPG Watermelon  in row 53 . The cover has been moved off the edge so the aisles and edges can be cultivated to clear the  weeds. Next week the covers will have to come off for good since the vines will want to run.  At that time we must collect the covers and ALL the hoops and sand bags.
IMG_1501.JPG 
These are Yellow watermelons , doing very well not having been visible to the deer and chucks.

1. Weed the onions in rows 58,57,56  start in the areas that are bad first. 
2. Lift the cover back from the edges in 55,54, so we can cultivate the edges with the farmall cub. Note that I caught the hose with the cultivator last night and didn't know it till I passed the raspberry patch.  disconnect the hoses and put them coiled up out of the way. You will need the large blue handled pliers to do that. They are in a box of irrigation parts in the middle (C) shed. 
3. Check that the traps are still baited , I  just put the large piece of melon in loose thinking it would trigger the door if it were moved. More melon is in the gray cooler. 
4. Plant the half flat of broccoli in the now vacant south end of row 14 or 15. I left the flat on the wash trough . 
5. Elayne talked of weeding the okra rows (it is great when what is your fun, is very helpful at sunsetfarm ): The okra will grow to 5' height, so we will weed and thin the okra at the same time. Leave a full hoe's width between okra seedlings using a hoe. We have had a high mortality of the okra row seedlings in the past so they were deliberately over- seeded . It may be time to thin and weed the two rows. Get it started . 
6. Hoe the edges of plastic rows and weed the flower seedlings as you do it. 

At Next week's farmers' we will have more broccoli, kale, beets, lettuce, yellow squash, zukes, maybe cukes, kohlrabi, parsley, chard, basil ,cilantro.. And flowers. Elayne and Phyllis will be elsewhere , Connie needs some helper/company at the market . Come anytime after 730 , no experience needed, will  be another experience on your resume. may be just what you need to get out of your usual. If you come at 545 to the farm you can get a lift to the market and get to join the market setup routine. If it is not  raining, it is beautiful then. 
Last week was beautiful, but quiet. About $900... the market has only one other "vegetable farm stand" perhaps those that come are not looking for farm produce. 


--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell

6-12-22

1. Spray using the backpack sprayer, the eggplant row 51. Use (approved Neem and or Capt Jack ,spinosad). I  noticed lots of  potato beetle nymphs  in the middle of the row. THIS IS URGENT 

2. Plant leeks in row 56 separate leeks from onions with three flags at each end of leeks.

3. Cultivate the corn ( rows 60's ) and all the rows in the deerfield using the red farmall , perhaps take off the disc and put sweeps on when doing the corn. 

4. Remove, to one side,  the covers and sandbags on the 50's rows so the edges of the plastic are exposed for tilling. Then replace them! 

5. Install more blinking nite guards in the 50's south end. The  vines will soon outgrow their covers at which point the covers and all hoops must be removed from the field and the  vines will have no protection except nite guards. 
 
6. Farmall cultivate the bean rows in the 30's.. But first you have to temporarily move the electric guard wires. 

7. We will bait the chuck traps with large slices of honey dew ,they don't have to be  well secured to the inside of the trap this time since they will be  big. I am thinking that the act of removing a large piece of bait will trigger the  trap to shut. The " have- a -heart"  directions (probably  written in California) , recommend using honeydew for chucks, so I do , I usually don't do that. We use surgical gloves when touching the traps to keep our stink off . this could be just a myth , we don't know. 

8. There is a 30' section of row 14 or so at the south end that was red lettuce, replace the lettuce with .... I will find something and set the flat on the plastic to be planted. 

9. Weed the plastic rows hand pick out all the little weeds now. Especially the  lisianthus plantings.

10. Go get the 50 gallon sprayer that is stored at the basement of 24 s prospect st. 
IMG_1497.JPG  Would anyone like to have some free  10-12' tobacco poles? They are probably 100 years old and were for twenty years in our vineyard.   We purchased them at a Hatfield farm auction in the early 80's . At my age, I don't think I will be reusing them.
IMG_1488.JPG The Junde 10 2022 harvest list with 0's representing black lugs.  I had to pull another lug of "spring onions" for the market. Most of that second lug was too late to sell off so it is in the yellow hut (cooler) along with other bagged vegetables for sale. $4 a bag or a contribution.

IMG_1485.JPGFennel is doing well up in row 3. We will reseed more flats in the greenhouse for a July replanting. Why do we use black plastic? imagine the  nightmare of weeding between ...  with the feathery plants tickling your nose, while your back is talking too. 

6-10-22

1. See photo of the chalkboard list of products to be harvested for tomorrow's market. Fill in the 0"s when you fill a lug. Keep anything you harvest out of direct sun as soon as you can. 
2. We must install the 6x6 mesh over the flower rows: I tilled the aisles in the upper field last night  some flowers were already falling into the aisles. It is easier with two people . 
3. Weed the plastic rows that were planted first : rows 2,5,6 for flowers . Weed the vegetables in 2 and 3. Don't weed items that will be harvested like the lettuce 
focus on the the parsley, leeks, broccoli, basil 
4. Basil is doing well in row 3 south end.  I think it might be good to pot some in 4" pots for the market in addition to cherry picking bags. We have a direct seeded row in the willow field that is in the row that is seeded at the north end to parsnip.... I still see no seedlings there. But the basil is very well germinated. 
5. The beets have to be cherry picked to get the golf size and larger. Leave the tops on. 

Barbara planted 50' of row 52 to oregon  snow peas for Zach. At the north end. It will require a trellis too. Can you plant peas so late? We will see. 
IMG_1488.JPGJune 10 vegetable list : the flowers are also coming in. Each circle is a lug. The brush is there because I washed my car, it was the first wash for our Nov2021 $32,000 steal.( plus trade in )  At least the  farm well water is a savings . 
IMG_1483.JPGHead (row 4 ) lettuce planted too close together, we will fix that today Harvest and thin them at the same time. Good news is that there are no weeds where you crowded your lettuce. It is hard to picture such brash growth when the seedlings are planted out in April, cold and still flurrying. 
IMG_1479.JPG The San marzano tomatoes are looking good . We will be weaving tomato twine soon. those are the 5' " brazilian pine"
posts. While setting them in place you will wonder about their provenance. They were cut with a  band saw, that left only shallow cut marks. They are too good to be. I imagine they won't be available very long. And neither will our gas and diesel tractors. The farm is likely to last a while since the wifi signals missed the farm. 


6-9-22

Tilled the aisles, caught the plastic now and then
Barbara van den Berg planted 50' row of oregon snow peas in row 52. these will be finished before the adjoining watermelon takes over. 
Jason Stevens set up solar "eyes "in the willow field. Set on short tomato stakes about 30" above grade, they are supposed to make the chucks think a wolf is eyeing them. They are solar powered.

Yellow squash will be picked tomorrow for the Saturday Farmers' market. Zukes have flowers now. 

Sharpening hoes is" very easy" but I am getting a bench grinder to restore the original bevel. (I do want to hand sharpen anything ?) .. then I will use the "very fast and very easy " hand sharpeners. A sharp hoe is much easier to cut the weeds off at the base. That is all you need to do, by the way.  When you weed get all the weeds even those that have not sprouted yet by disturbing the soil that is exposed to daylight. Bend down as if you were at jazzercise and hand pick out even tiny weeds next to the plant you will eat someday. 

image.pngWe have used these  blinking red eyes years.. I don't have any way of measuring their effect. And they are not cheap either.  Maybe? And would we get any crop if we stopped using them? If you don't screw them tightly to the post, they might stay on while you pound the post into the ground. Mostly not. So, attach them after the post is set. The battery drill makes it easy, since the tomato posts are very hard maple and oak and you can't nail into them. I don't know if they work this year..since so far we are asleep before it is dark enough to turn them on. 

The Tomatoes are very vigorous, two weeks ago they were purple- stunted- homegrown seedlings. Now, they are close to 2'  high, and need to be contained in our tomato twine containment walls. They have flowers.  We hoped to plant them around May one so they were in the growing trays about 2 weeks too long. Early May was  too cold this year, but the plants recovered in the field. I haven't counted them but I think we have more than 500 planted.. we are limited by the number of 5' tomato stakes. Our chestnuts and san marzano tomatoes bring pyo's that have picked us out. 

Pick tomorrow: clip Kohlrabi (3 lugs) lying flat in the lug, lettuce  red and green (5 lugs all "looking up" ) yellow squash in row 22 or so (pick as many you can that exceed 6" length) Cilantro ( 1 lug lying flat in neat order) Scallions (2  shallow lugs lying flat) Kale (4 flats , lying flat) Look at the basil in row 2 south end (get a lug, cut at the base, some of the bunch that is in each hole, one shallow lug) Rhubarb from Row 50 as much as you can from that row, Spinach :Cut all that is 8" high put in the gray cooler under a damp towel till it is bagged.. I hope it is at least two full lugs. 


--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell 

6-7-22

1. Set out flower starts both those in the green house and those behind it. 
2. Weed the south half of row 5, Use a large hoe to chop weeds along the edges and also to pull the soil back from the plastic edges. When weeding the flowers in the bed , remove all weeds even very small ones. 
3. I set a flat of scallions at the north end of row 12 where the turnips were: please plant them in the turnip holes. Aso in row 14 at the south end  there is a 20' section which had red lettuce. Plant scallion plugs where the red lettuce had been. 
4. The West edge of row 23 or so, the covered melon row must be hand pulled of large weeds. 
5. Hoe the direct seeded okra rows near row 10. I cultivated these rows on the weekend with the cub they need to be touched up by hand. 
6. I set out 50  4' stakes for row 5  and more than 100 at the willow field near row 30 These are for the flower rows. 

IMG_1454.JPGIMG_1458.JPGIMG_1461.JPG
The cougar yellow squash have started, this is the last shot of this row that will not also include overgrown squash ..it happens overnight. The flowers made squash without bees, I guess, because it was under the white cover.  
The cast iron bracket that attaches and supports the rear left cultivator on our 1956 McCormick Farmall Cub needs to be replaced  at the lower left of the pic you can see the break in the casting where the bolt can't be tightened any more. Help. 
At the right is the foot of weeds that spring up along our black bioplastic mulch,,cultivating this area requires moving the cover over. Maybe they should be weedwacked first since now they will clog the  cultivators. It is difficult to NOT snag the plastic too when cultivating. So it is a little storm: covers are needed because of chucks, weed tilling needed along the plastic edge ( or the weeds roots will go under the plastic and pop up opportunistically where a dog or deer broke the plastic earlier.)  and the farmall cub tiller bracket support is broken. What is the worst thing that could happen? I ask and answer myself. 
We have a lot of Kohlrabi, in a salad it is water chestnut. If it had a longer shelf life you would be seeing reports that it prolongs life etc, it is the perfect local product. but 9 of 10 have never tasted it.  In a Blue state I thought it would be elite.  


6-6-22

Over the weekend there was significant chuck damage to the squash and carrot rows at the south end. I put back most of the covers and Jason will instll an electric shock wire system over the carrots as we did with the spinach over the winter. 
We will bait the traps and set them at the south side of the willow field. 
The blackberry row was cleared of bamboo. 
The direct seeded crops were  cultivated with the farmall
 We have two or three lugs of kohlrabi in the yellow cooler left over from the market.. they are perfect. 
The market was thought to be lower than it  would have been ( about $850) : competition from the Hadley Asparagus Celebration  was suggested.
We need a cast iron connection part for the rear cultivators on the Farmall Cub... time to scour the Net.

Do  today: 
1. Set out blinking night lights at the south end of the willow field ... set out about 8 of them on wood post Set the height of the posts about 15" when in the direct seeded rows and put them right on the center of the row so the cultivator can clear them. 
2. Continue to plant leeks in row 56
3. Take a look at the south end of row 59 : are the sweet potatoes ok? Shall we cover them ( we did last year)
4. Weed flower rows 2,5 
5. Hoe the sweet peas with the trellis as the south end of row 11 or so. 
6. Do a lot of thinning of the radishes.. see if the chickens like radishes. 
7. Hoe the two okra rows something like 8 and 0. 
8. Pull weeds out of the carrot  rows. 
  Saturday market
IMG_1448.JPG IMG_1447.JPG  Flower arrangement by Connie for the Charles Heffernan Memorial yesterday at the farm.

6-4-22

1. Pick up stones between the corn rows in the swimming pool field. Put them in buckets and when you have a chance bring the buckets to the stone pile near row #1. 
2. Check the vine rows( 22 or so ) see if there is deer damage , if so,  recover the west row. Mostly muskmelon. 
3. Direct seed a row of regular green and yellow beans, I will identify the row location today. 
4. Weedwack and   till with the  red farmall cub, the ends of the rows . Remove the hoses till we need them again. Coil them out of the way of the mower and the tiller. 
5. Bring the big sprayer to the farm from the gray house basement (24 s prospect st)  with the blue tractor. We must spray the potatoes. Two people would be a good team. 
 IMG_1446.JPG 
Each filled in O is a lug. We have way too much kohlrabi.
IMG_1444.JPG
A golf cart with just cut lettuce in ubiquitous black lugs. I am rushing to get it into them into a cooler and out of the noon day sun. 

6. Plant leeks in row 56. Plant replacement onion seedlings in the 57,58 rows.
7. Weed the flower rows 1 and 4.
8. Plant scallion bunches where we had red lettuce in row 13 and 14. We have a full flat of seedling plugs. 

--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell

6-3-22

1. Potatoes are up and need to be hilled with a disk on the farmall.
2. Blackberry row was cleared of knot weed (american bamboo). 
3. The south end of row 59 was planted last night to Beauregard sweet potato slips from the tatorman. We used a dibble and planted the roots into the ground vertically. I bought 100 slips: 4 bunches of 35. As soon as we note any loss to deer or chucks we will cover them with cover over hoops. I hope to keep the remaining slips as replacements. We planted them about 16" apart in a single row. I think they are too sweet to eat. Now that I am diagnosed as a #2 diabetic, I have an excuse. 
The planting  instructions drip: "plant two hours before sunset" and the other side are recepies for sweet potato desserts.. I got rid of that paper immediately, although we did plant 2 hrs before sunset last night... just in case they are not just kidding the northerners. 
4. Plant any remaining flower starts in the blank row at the chestnut field. approx row 88
IMG_1442.JPG

6-2-22

1. Install top string on the pea trellises, clip it to the netting.. weed then hoe the pea rows. 
2. Plant scallion plugs where the lettuce was harvested abd where the turnips were. Rows 12 and 14. a scallion flat is at the stand and maybe also on the north side of the greenhouse. pull out the lettuce roots 
3.Pplant onions as replacements in rows 58,57,56 plant leeks in the  southern portion of row 56. 
4. Eliminate weed patches at the ends of the plastic rows.
Photo below: Jason Stevens is disturbing the weeds growing in the aisles, he is also playing chicken with the plastic in order to clear the weeds that grow adjacent to the plastic . This has to be  done once a week to keep the aisles clean. If weeds continue along the edges they soon grow into the plastic and take over. 
IMG_1419.JPG

6-1-22

Yesterday Bob Cyr directed the purchase and replacement of two new batteries : one 6 volt for the Farmall cultivator and one 12 volt for the Blue 8N  
the 6 volt has a reverse ground quirk. the Black battery connection goes to the Positive terminal and the Red goes to the Negative terminal . I think this is why our battery charger didn't charge it, we attached it the other way around " red to red which was wrong! I am hoping that Professor Jason will confirm and explain it to me. 
The  two batteries were picked up at the local AutoZone which also keeps treats for Luna. They had a 6 volt  battery -one- in stock despite the Autozone chat line that responded to my question about 6 volt battery: " we don't sell 6 volt batteries" So that is why I mention it : I thought that the company  chat lines were authoritative! Maybe the real chatter was having a moment away from his desk? Good news is that the two batteries together  cost me $99. Bob said since we have to replace them every year , buy the cheapest battery. 

1. Plant the back ordered green ball dianthus ( variety of  sweet william) which fedex delivered yesterday. They are in the greenhouse since there was a possibility of a hail storm last night .. like a possibility you will sleep soundly. Plant them 4 across in row row 83 North end beyond the hydrant. Do this first thing today.

2. hand weed the big weeds especially the lambs quarters from the 7, 8, 9 pea rows. Don't do an exquisite job as you did on the carrots, but at least pull out the weeds that if pulled out later will also pull out the peas.. especially since the peas  tie themselves to the lambsquarters. 

3. Run the red farmall up and down the aisles where there are weeds along the black plastic edges .. use the Yes Deere , but it it much slower and requires more skill
we have about 30  plastic rows . better to have them all done imperfectly.. 

4. Install tomato twine to the tops of all trellises and clip it to the 6x6. 

I have another medical appt this am in Noho but afterwards I will get a bunch of the 4' tomato posts  for the flower rows. We need about 400 which will be installed at 10' or so intervals in the flower rows  4"  inside the row in the black plastic both sides to hold the 6x6 grid to keep the flowers upright. 
IMG_4841.jpg do you think Luna likes the sweet smelling peonies?
IMG_1434.JPGIMG_1429.JPG
First pass at tilling the potatoes, they are there, midst the weeds. In a week I will do it with disk to hill them up, now that I can see where they are. We hope that our seed id stakes  (red for flowers) will answer your question, we expect the next flower on that zinnia will have a  much longer stem too.


5-31-22

Ripe: lettuce red and green head and loose, kohlrabi perfect, rhubarb in the cooler, kale by the leaf, collards, chard red, yellow and green, peonies, short calendulas, millet for flower arrangements, scallions big ones as well as spring bunches, sorrel 

1. Use the red tractor to till direct seeded rows in the upper field and to remove the weeds next to the plastic on all rows. The red tractor  (1950's Farmall made in Louisville Ky ) should be running all day doing this work. Cultivation needs to be done weekly .. this is the  major change in our work from planting to cultivating what we planted. 
2. I will put empty buckets at the swimming pool field. Walk down the short rows and pick up stones! leave the buckets at the end of the row and pick them up with a golf cart. 
Put them in the stone pile which is up next to row #1 (in the verge). When you tool around the rows with the cart and you spot a stone - often carefully placed on the plastic by a planter or weeder- stop and pick them up. Bring them to our pile. (I will take a picture)
3. Run a tomato twine at the top of the pea trellises clip it to the trellis. Install the sub posts between the big posts David Sharken reports that the hand stapler is much easier than the power stapler... helps to get a grip too, the grip we lost from no handshakes. 
4. Using the weed wacker, and or  loppers, clippers cut out the american bamboo (knot weed) from the west side of the black berry row. Repair the deer netting . 
5. Use our little tiller to better weed the perennial rows 17,18 the newer one is  stuck on full throttle -- that is a good thing for now. He will replace the carburetor as soon as we get one. (maybe today)
6. Remove the hoops and covers from the upper field rows. 
7. Plant leeks in row 56 and replace dead onions in 57, 58. Don't care which color. 
8. Plant ALL the flower starts that are outside. Use the hydrant row in the chestnut field if you can't find a spot. ( row 83 I think) 
IMG_1416.JPG
IMG_1418.JPG 
The farmall cultivator that straddles the row. This shows you too how hard it is to see in the shadows in the field. 
You need a sunshade to see the bolt nuts when you have to adjust. the row I am straddling here is carrots .. about 2" tall with perfect germination and density. The row looks good because it was handweeded by three volunteers a week ago. My left foot is riding the clutch, my right foot is between the left rear wheel brake and the right wheel brake. Note the clip on the left brake that can be flipped over to connect to the right brake so you and apply both at once. It has never been flipped, it is probably to be used when driving to the field at about 1 mile an hour! By applying a wheel brake you can turn around much faster. ..if you hit the right one.
 
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell


5-30-22

1. Set the tomato stakes in the willow field that have not been pounded down  to 50" or less above ground. Use the pole driver. 
2. plant leeks in the unfinished onion row # 56 4 across . They are in the greenhouse and I think there are some at the northwest corner of the greenhouse on the outside. replace dead onions , there is a flat of new onions at the north west exterior corner of the greenhouse. 
3. Remove hoops and bags from the upperfield rows like 3 and 4. 
4. Hoe the plastic edges, till them with the rear tines of the red tractor, if we do it now it will be much much easier than when they have to be hand pulled. 
5. Install wood slats at the bottom of the south greenhouse addition --East side . Screw them with 1 1/2 or 1 1/4 " screws. Screw the other slats too since they are only stapled on now. 
6. Replace the torn panel on the west side of the south greenhouse. Plastic is in the back of a golf cart. 
7. Hoe /weed the peonie row  (16)  weed between the plants. 
8. Bring pointed short stakes ( I think they are 3' long) from the red  barn to the stake pallet near the manure spreader. 

The corn has been planted, there is room for a deer resistant row at the west side of the corn. Plant the now flowering starts of table ace acorn squash from the greenhouse there. Plant a  single row 18" between plants. 
The kohrabi is ripe , eat it raw or cooked. the leaves are good too. (row 14) Harvest it using clippers to cut the tough stem. 
Sprinkle fertilizer on the parsley -- some of the white stuff that is nitrogen. The parsley is not thriving.

5-29-22

1. The swimming pool field is laid out with flags. It will be seeded to silver queen corn today.
2. Bob has been mowing with the new flail mower pulled by the Yes Deere, He managed to do the steep west slope of american bamboo ( knot weed) of the swimming pool field. Looks as scary as it is. The grass above the upperfield is a golf course fairway now, ready for someone to make a pitch and putt course. I don't know anyone that plays golf, though. 
3. Manage the weeds at the edges of the plastic rows. Hoe or use the farmall . Trick is to not snag the plastic only weeds. 
4. Run a tomato twine the length of the pea trellises and clip the 6x6 to it. We have a box of plastic clips in shed of the shelf with  cardboard containers. 
5. Trim the new plastic east wall of the south greenhouse and add screws to the wood slats that are currently stapled only. 
6. Replace the torn plastic panel on the west side.

IMG_1410.JPG
12' high 50 year old azalea I planted at 136 sunset. Pink was in then.


5-27-22

1. Staple up the 6x6 netting to the pea rows and the sweet pea row using the new cordless compressor with 1/2 " staples. 
2. Harvest : rhubarb 4 lugs put in gray cooler.
3. Use clippers ( not a knife ) to  cut saleable size kohlrabi.
4. Clip also or cut with a knife, the lettuce 5 (five ) lugs put them immediately in the gray cooler ;cut them just below the earth line so the heads don't fall apart. Don't even wash them , get them immediately into the cooler. We will plant something else where they were growing after I drill out their roots. Beans? scallions? Beets? 
5. Cut ALL the mesclun , put immediately into the gray cooler
6. Cut one lug of sorrel
7. Cut one shallow lug of scallion bunches
8. Cut three lugs of chard, cut the stems too, Include chard from rows 3, 4 as well as 14
9. Kale: we have cut the middle row of kale and sold it: now we have to cherry pick the bottom leaves ..how much we harvest depends on how much we have. Kale is a very popular product. 
10. Pack in the yellow van whenever you can (now is good) : starts: put id stakes in flats with melons , squash , peppers, tomatoes. (we are done planting tomatoes) 
mints, dill, broccoli

I will put an ad on craig's list for tobacco /vineyard poles, We have about 100 12' treated wood poles 4"-6" in diameter to sell $5 each. I suspect they are close to 100 years old. We bought them for our vineyard in the 80's at a tobacco farm auction in Hatfield. they are perfect for a very rugged deer fence. I will take some pictures.

5-26-22

1. Plant flower seedlings
2. Hoe edges of plastic
3. Till the area above row 1 and plant a row of pumpkins from the greenhouse 
4. Plant leeks check the stand and the area on the  north side of the greenhouse for the most mature seedlings. Plant them in a part of row 83 the hydrant row in the chestnut field. plant them 4 across using a dibble
5. Continue installing the 6x6 mesh on the pea rows: I got a box of 1/2" long staples for use with the pneumatic stapler. Today ,we were using 1" staples, so this should be easier. Also install 6x6 mesh on the sweet pea row ( I think it is row 10) 

Water rows that need it. I will replace the ripped plastic panels of the south greenhouse. The new stapler with 1/2" staples will be good for that too.

5-25-22

1. Plant flowers in the chestnut field east row.
2. Turn water on onion rows 58 and 59 after two hours. They were well weeded yesterday by Barbara Van and David. Plant replacements when water is turned on. 
3. Hoe the weedy edges of the black plastic before the weeds get too big to hoe.
4. Drive the posts in at all the tomato plants. The 60" posts should be 50" showing above ground and the 48" should be 38" do this with the post driver not a hammer, it means driving most posts 4" further into the ground. 

We will rototill the newly plowed pumpkin patch above row #1and plant one row of sugar pumpkins (pie pumpkins). Jesse plowed that land last night. 
Bob is mowing and straightening up everything. While he was working hard at that, the gray 9n (1937)tractor wouldn't start: no spark. He is working on the points and the distributor, to make a spark. It's an ignition system problem. So we used the 8n (1948) but its hydraulics are failing, causing the plow to lose its height setting while you are in the middle of a row. 
I will seed another row of cilantro and radishes in the willow field. About new row 27 or so. 
We have to replace some plastic on the South greenhouse and also remove large weeds thriving in there. 
I will start the 6x6 mesh on the peas today. Temporarily it will be attached with a hand stapler, then with the pneumatic stapler. 
Being picked now: mesclun greens, kale, chard, lettuce red and green, purple top turnips, scallions, a few big kohlrabi's,  and Big scallions from the "set planted" onions in row 15 or so which we hoped would swell to globular onions but instead many are opting to make scallions instead. They are very sweet, however. Just pull them up as you need them. 
IMG_1409.JPG
IMG_1408.JPG
Setting 60" tomato stakes in the chestnut field, one between each plant. The trees are all chestnut trees. Maintaining the edge between the plastic and the aisles is a problem. (weeds that you can't get with a machine unless you are very alert and don't hit the plastic.)

5-24-22

1. Hand weed the onion rows 58 57,56  we have to do this before pulling out weeds means pulling out onions too. Onions must be kept weed free or they won't "bulb up".
2. Plant flower seedlings use row 84 when 83 is done.
3. I will check rows 3 and 4 to see if the basil that  Elayne transplanted need water. 
4. Place all remaining 5' stakes on tomatoes. When you do, pound them and those set out yesterday down at least 10" use the post driver that is on the wash stand.
5. Start bringing down the short stakes for the flower row 6x6 grids, they are in the red barn at Fearing st. 

 Using the post driver has got to be good for you. Like conducting. 

Yesterday you did a perfect job of hand weeding three carrot rows. I was amazed. Also the five foot tomato stakes that were set out were a lot of work. 
Jesse learned to pull the disc harrows with the gray tractor... up and down weedy aisles. He is a natural. 
I seeded a 72 count flat of tomatillos yesterday, a month later than planned but I bet that it will be soon enough to give us the main ingredient to green salsa in late august. We will have jalapenos and cherry bomb peppers at that time too.  We have to save some 5' stakes for them. I will plant them in the south end of row 59. 
We will be cutting a lot if not most of the lettuce this Friday. I'm thinking about what to put in their place: scallions? 
We have had a couple dozen seedlings  swiped by chipmunks in the greenhouse this year ,,,, never had that problem before.. and also never before (in 50 years) have we had no damage, to date, from woodchucks.  The deer are there but damage has not been noticed yet. I have no reason why. 
Bob has been doing a massive organization of the equipment lineup. We intend to relocate the scrap pile too, the Brigham Lane appearance of the shed area will be upgraded . 
We have lots of hoses that we connect to our drip taped rows. We regularly damage them and have to repair them. It is a very quick and easy repair.. my only problem is I have put male couplings on both ends ... twice. 
Bill 


--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell

5-23-22

1. Hand weed three rows of carrots.
2. Move 5' tomato stakes to the san marzano rows . I think that is 38 in the willow field and all the tomatoes in the chestnut field. Set the stakes on the ground midway between each plant. the next step will be to pound them in using the POST DRIVER (NOT A HAMMER, NOT A MALLET) drive them in till only 50" is above ground that means each stake is buried at least 10" into the ground. 
3. Hand weed the onion rows 58 and 57. Plant replacements where they died. 
4. Turn on irrigation on the rows that need it. (not the chestnut field yet) 
5. Yet to plant? corn, yellow beans, second sowing of cilantro. 
6. Plant, in the greenhouse, the tomatillo seeds!!! They will be ok so late because tomatillos grow faster than weeds do. They will require stakes too when they are planted out. 

Over the weekend we  seeded beans, parsnips, basil. Set the posts for the sweet peas, I did a demo of 4 posts at row 38 of san marzano tomato posts, set out the 90 6' posts for the peas, I bought a battery powered compressor to use stapling the 6 x 6 to posts. three staples per post.. We set out three rows 53, 54 and 55 to vines squash: acorn butternut and kabocha, watermelon red and yellow and muskmelon. Vines should be a single row 24" apart. 

I realize that we have a break in the pvc well overflow  line to the pond. This has make a large area very difficult to maintain as grass. When we replace the line we will use "schedule 40" grade pvc pipe that is strong enough to go under roads. 
IMG_1404.JPG
IMG_1403.JPG  Posts for the high climbing shelling and snap pea vines. I love the wide aisles, you can drive a car between our rows! 
great for not having to walk. ( and carry ) I need to work out a support for a large sail or umbrella over the golf cart to provide shade too. One of those patio umbrellas with a tilt joint: the cart already has holders for drinks, pencils, and memory cards. One of our carts has a roof, but we need shade over the area we are working.

5-22-22

Temps were perfect yesterday at the market. Connie was helped by Phyllis,Elayne, Barbara P.  Over $900. Few flowers, no pops anymore, starts, lettuce, kale, chard, rhubarb, mesclun, seed potatoes, young collard greens, lilacs were beautiful earlier in the week but were too old to cut for the market. 
Next week: kohlrabi, lettuce , kale, chard, rhubarb, scallions, sorrel
Today
1. Finish planting row 54 to red watermelon plant all vines 24" apart in a  single center row.
2. Cover row 55 
3. Pound in  stakes for sweet peas they are in row 10 . 
4. At the edible peas rows 7,8,9 set   6'  stakes  alternate heavy ( 1.5" thick) and light stakes (.75" thick)  I will start row 9 today.  Heavy stakes will be pounded in at 9' apart with steel stakes beginning and ending each row. 3/4x3/4 stakes are set between the heavy  stakes. Use the post driver, stand on a golf cart. 
5. Sweet peas at the south end of row 10 are loosely set , pound them in. 
6. Plant french and yellow beans in row just west of the carrot rows (row 33) It is all set to be planted. 
7. Set and pound in  5' ( not 4' ) stakes for tomatoes: one stake between each plant. 
8. Plant  tomatoes in the last half of row 59  Plant the very large big beef # 152. Plant tomatoes 30" apart in a  single row. 
9. Seed the tomatillo in the greenhouse in #24 flats. MUST BE DONE TODAY!


 Yesterday Bob Cyr and Jesse Johnson cultivated many aisles with the Deere  and also did the seeded rows of carrots and spinach with the farmall cub. Beautiful job


--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell 

5-20-22

1. Plant flower seedlings, call me if you need another row. 
2. Finish the watermelon row call me about what is there and what to plant next.
3. I forgot to order the sweetpotatoes , I will call Tatorman at 8 am today when they open and order 100 slips of beauregard. Last year they arrived May 24. 
4. Last night I tilled under the 3 old spinach row 40, 41,42  today I hope to plant to parsnips, basil, beans direct seed at 39" spacing in that area. 
5. Time to cultivate our carrots rows 30,31,32 with the farmall. Do one side at a time. It will take a ton of adjustments in the field. 
6. Harvest rhubarb, lettuce (cut them just below the soil line, remove bad leaves and place them gently face up one layer thick in the shallow lugs). Put the lugs immediately in the gray cooler with a cover so they don't dry and wilt. Look to see if there are any tangerine sized kohlrabi, cut all the mesclun, cut out the remaining kale that are in the center row. Convert all Kale to two across rows. Harvest chard, look to see if the chard in row 3 is ready, sorrel bunches.
7. There are about 20 lbs of seed potatoes left in the gray cooler. Package them by variety ( there are 4 ) Maybe 10 to a package. They can eat what they don't plant - the seed potatoes are FEDCO (fanatically pure) .  I haven't seen seed potatoes in any seed store. The shipping costs more than the potatoes. We bought them in 50# bags which are very handy compared  to our 80 lb bags of fertilizer. 
8. Wild stock flowers are at the south west corner of the property and at the north east corner of the church property, Connie has sold bunches of stock. 
9. We need to build the pea trellis. Elayne did a great job last year on that. This year we have a handy battery powered air compressor to staple the 6x6 mesh to the stakes. The 6'  stakes are about 10' apart with heavy 1.5" stakes alternating with 3/4 " stakes. The sweet peas will be set with 5' stakes.
10. Remove the covers from the pea rows.

5-19-22

Plant flower seedlings, finish row 37, 

1. Plant san marzano tomatoes in the chestnut field. It works out to 50 per row. I did two rows yesterday: 95 and 94. Today do 92 and 93. Other years we used the christmas tree planter tool to make the holes, I forgotabout it this year ... I will put it in the back of a golf cart to use today. 
2. Plant watermelons in row 53 start with the yellow melons plant them 2' apart.  Then plant the crimson sweet red watermelon. Plant muskmelon in row 54. Set hoops and covers and sandbags hold downs on these two rows that are very attractive to wood chucks. 
3. Till the old spinach rows 43,44,45 under and also row 33 next to the carrots. 
4. Cultivate the carrot  rows 32, 31, 30 with the farmall cultivator.
5.  It is time to build the pea fence trellis. At the sweet pea flower short row row 10 south end: install a 5' high row of 6x6 trellis. They are looking to climb now! 
I purchased a battery powered small compressor that will power the stapler that Elayne used to attach the 5x6 netting to the shelling pea trellis. That trellis is made using 6' high posts 
7. Repair the trellis for the blackberries, cut out all knot weed from the blackberries ... that are in bloom now. 
8. Plant more onion seedlings in row 56 I think, that row is about 1/3 planted. 


We need a place to plant our pumpkins.. I am thinking about above row 1 where the manure was piled: till the area that has no grass now and plant  a patch of pumpkin seedlings .. we grow only sugar pumpkins  keep the rows straight and spaced at least 10's apart so we can till or harrow the aisle till they "run" the patch will look ugly with weeds as soon as they run // we will have to accept that. 

Connie and I will be in Springfield for an 11 am eyeshot..I will come to the farm around 3 today. Because they will dilate, I can't drive myself  back  on 91. I tried that a few months ago, once. 

I need to seed beans, parsnip still and basil. Elayne planted our basil seedlings in clumps in the south end of row three yesterday. 

5-18-22

1. Plant flowers, when another row is needed  use row 37. If you can turn water on in the row first thing that will give the plants a chance. 
2. Finish planting eggplant bianco and long slims in row 59. The flats of seedlings are in one of the golf carts. Turn water on this row too. 
3. Plant san marzano tomatoes from the greenhouse in the chestnut field. start with the west row (downhill ) these are planted 30" apart in a single row. 
Wiggle the stick we make holes with sideways so those seedlings with larger plugs from "42" trays will fit. Plant them as deep as you can. Up to the first leaves. The tomato will send out roots from its buried stem which amongst other things, will keep them from falling over in August. 
4. Blank space at the south end of # 3 and #4: plant to  fennel, basil (clumps of basil), scallions.
5. Cut all the wintered over spinach so we can till that land and seed it to beans. Put the spinach in the gray cooler under a towel. Put only perfect spinach in the lug, no yellow or brown anything, no weeds. Look at each handful you cut and edit it before tossing it into the lug. 

Still to be seeded: basil, parsnips, beans, corn, more radishes. Yesterday I sprayed the radishes in row 11 with neem. 
Cut the bamboo weeds from the blackberry row just north of the row 60 rhubarb. Use long handled loppers so you don't have to bend down so far and because some of the hollow bamboo stems are 3/4" dia. 
Check that the items at the stand are priced. Put the broccoli flats out for sale. We have no bell pepper seedlings to sell nor classic eggplants. They have been planted. 

I will make a new sign for amity st : Starts, mesclun greens, turnips.

5-17-22

1. Plant flower seedlings 
2. Plant eggplant classic in row 51 these will be planted two across 24" apart. I will have to connect to the swimming pool hydrant for the deerfield rows. 
3. I have to spray the radish row  ( row 11 south end) with organic ok spray for the flea beetle. Plus sometimes I have radishes that have worms and sometimes not, I don't know what the fix is. 
4. Plant the san marzano tomatoes in row 43 (already laid and blank black plastic row)  fill the entire row: space them one row down the middle 30" apart this will require a little more than one full flat of san marzanos (these are id tag 198) about 90 plants to be planted down to the first leaves. (about 4" down) 
We will also do one row in the deerfield and two in the chestnut field (rows there are 125' long). Plant them in a straight line do not hit the drip tape when making your holes. 
5. Let me know if you see deer and or deer hoof prints. Take pictures of the deer and or prints. 

6 I will identify rows for the watermelon and the muskmelon might have to be in the deerfield. Those will require a cover. 

7. We need to set the chestnut field plastic rows as soon as possible for tomatoes, leeks, I will layout the yellow and blue flags and fertilize for the new rows. 

8. Gotta seed the parsnips and basil today. I hope there is a direct seed row available in the willow field. We might till under the old spinach to make roomand also for a row of beans. 

5-16-22

The new tomato row next to the row we planted yesterday (49 or so)  will  NOT BE SAN MARZANOS, instead sun gold from  greenhouse, New girl  tomatoes, steak house, tomatillo and from outside greenhouse big beef, carolina yellow, large red cherry. 

Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell


5-15-22

1. Please plant  remaining  squashes and cucumbers  in the new row 25 or 26 after the covered row. Cover the row , we brought hoops , use the covers from row 13 
plant them in diagonal double rows 24" apart. 
If we have more room in that row plant yellow watermelons, please put the identifier sticks in the plastic for each variety. 
2. Plant a full row of lady bell sweet peppers in row 51 space them in a diagonal double row 24"  apart. 
3. Plant a full row of Marzano plum tomatoes in row 48 ( I  think that is the blank row just east of the tomato row that we planted yesterday. ) Plant them 30" apart in the  single row down the middle. Use the stakes to make deep holes , plant them so the stem is buried up to the first leaves. Like potatoes they sprout roots above the existing roots and unlike potatoes they fall over in august when they are loaded with fruit, taking the tomato stakes with them 
4. Plant flower seedlings , there is a row that is unfinished: about row 42. the seedlings are on the table by the wash stand and on the ground behind the greenhouse. 
Use the dibble for planting small seedlings in the 288 trays. Put a blue flag at the north end of any row that you plant seedlings in today so I will know which need the  irrigation to be turned on. 
5. Remove the wires and battery from the  wintered over spinach. 
6. Plant onions in the unfinished onion row (about row 57), replace missing onions in the other rows don't worry about color. 
 
Please note deerprints in the rows and take close up pictures and not the row numbers where tracks are found. Move the camera to take pictures of rows 12,13,14
We have help offered to rid us of the deer and so we need good evidence. Send me photos of hoof prints. 

I need to set up two  direct seeded rows: parsnips, basil , beans. I will seed our silverqueen corn in the swimming pool field around june 1. I like late white corn, after the town returns from the beaches in Early September. White because it is different, has heritage and it is very tall and less easily pulled down to the ground by coons and squirrels. 
IMG_1398.JPG
Everyone has trouble getting the lid off. 


5-14-22

Please plant flower seedings today ... please do nothing else. The plants have to be planted now. 
IMG_1393.JPG eucalyptus and millet
IMG_1395.JPG


5-13-22

Our shipment of another roll of biodegradable plastic mulch is delayed so I will go to New Hampshire today and pick it up. We need it to plant our tomatoes, peppers, eggplants this weekend.

1. Plant flower seedlings all day . Yesterday we did almost two rows in the willow field and we also irrigated those rows . Unexpected issue is the mud that 
the irrigation tape created near the tape made it likely the hole you make for the seedling will be way too deep! Don't use a hammer on those holes! 

Yesterday we put the plugs into plastic bowls ( we have a million of them) and the bowls into lugs . We did this at the relatively comfortable conditions of the yellow hut area , then golfcarted the loaded lugs to the new rows in the willow field. Don't worry about the plugs being exposed to the air for awhile. At the speed you should be working at this will be irrelevant. At the row, one person makes holes and  one person puts the plugs into the holes and pushes them in. Any order is ok . Just get them in. 

For the new rows to be laid with plastic: we will spread fertilizer and wood ashes. (not at the same time) There is a barrel of wood ashes from neighbors :  Anna and Daniel.. who heat with  wood. This will be equal to adding lime and potash. 

2. After the "amazement" exclamations  over the number of  flats of flower plugs to be planted,  and comments that it is not possible given our labor resources, they all will be planted in the next three days. Item 2 then is the same as item 1: plant flower plugs today nothing else!  
3. I will harvest the spinach myself. I will put into tubs and put it in the gray cooler. 
4. We have great lilacs, they will be cut after 4 today and put into tubs that have only 3" of water in them. (so I can lift them in and out ) 
5. I will also do the rhubarb... so all others will plant flower plugs. I will not need a golf cart for that. 
IMG_1391.JPG  
A section of eucalyptus , not the condensation on the top of the plastic where the cold water drip tape is underneath.
IMG_1394.JPG
I will use the yes deere. 

Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell 

5-12-22

1. Plant flower plugs in row 23 ..the first plastic row in the willow field that was started yesterday by Connie. Plant the trays that are on the tables next to the wash stand, set the tray in water first. It makes it easier to pop out the plugs. 
I will turn on the irrigation tape also since it will be a hot day. The flats have been hardening on the tables so they will be as hardy as needed. 
Do it fast, push the plugs down so they will not pop back up when it rains.  Try using a dibble to make holes. Do not make holes in the irrigation tape that is under the plastic. This is number one today. Bring a friend, bring a helper, we have about 10 flats to do. After Barbara, Jason and David  planted more than 10,000 onion seedlings this can be done. 

2. When that row is done go west to the next unplanted  row.. I think that will be row 25. 

3. When the irrigation tapes are flowing drive up and down the row to make sure there are no leaks and that the end is not leaking. Call me if there is a problem. 

4. We will also harvest all the spinach and put it in the gray cooler under a damp towel. Do  not bag it. Harvest it into large tubs. Put nothing but perfect spinach leaves in the tub, no weeds or dead leaves or yellow leaves. 


5-11-22

1. Plant flower seedlings... all the flowers on the tables by the yellow house. Plant them in plastic rows  already started as flower rows. 
2. You can also take the first row 23 in the willow field for more flowers. 
3. Rows 2, 5 and 6 were watered this week using the drip tape. 

Squirrels have been eating the pea seeds, we covered the first 50' of the rows and also reseeded those parts of the row yesterday. The potatoes are all planted.  Yukon Gem, yukon gold, kennebec and katahdin. There are a few potatoes left over to sell at the market. Yesterday I  seeded two rows of Okra 9.1 and 9.2 

Spinach is perfect, it greened up again after we fertilized it and it rained last week. 

We hope our grandchildren will come again to plant seedlings today. Myai can you send some planters? 

Today is my stress test , I tried to get the big jobs done before today.

5-10-22

1. Panic here as we worry that the seedlings will not get planted in time. Best time to come is 9 am or 4 pm. between 12 and 3 I am probably in bed. Tomorrow I wont be there in the am ... I am getting a stress test which I hope will  justify my napping. 
2. Also recognition is dawning that we must irrigate now, no rain is on the calendar,  we started irrigation yesterday pm with rows 2 and 5. For now we are only  irrigating flower rows. When the drip irrigation is on please drive the length of the row at least once to see if there are leaks. Drive along the south ends of the rows and feel the irrigation tape  to see if it is pressure filled with water. Look for leaks.
3. Squirrels or chipmunks are eating the peas. So Jesse covered the first 30' or so of #6,7,8 rows till they sprout. We will add additional seeds by poking them in with a finger three" apart. Snap peas in row 6  shelling peas in row 7 and 8. Don't even think about getting these mixed up. Poke them 1" into the ground . This means lifting off the cover planting seeds and replacing the cover. 
4. Plant the zucchini in row #21 2 across diagonal layout. Cover them with hoops and cover for protection  from deer and chucks.

Connie and Doris Hagen went to a movie at 5pm yesterday at the little theatre of the Amherst Cinema: it was a French film about relationships on an experimental Rose farm. Very enthusiastic. It is still playing once a day around 5 pm. Small farms are in. 

5. Rows are set for 4 more potato rows in the chestnut field. The potatoes are in the gray cooler kept in the 30's till we do. Space the seed potatoes about 12" clear between them in the bottom of the planting trench. We will cover them with 3' or 4"  with the farmall tractor set up with an 8" disk. Cut in half - lengthwise - any spuds larger than the distance between your thumb and your third finger.. about 4" . 
IMG_1389.JPG  BASIL that was left out overnight (saturday night) It is back in the greenhouse to see if it will come back. 
If so I will plant seedlings about 12" apart in a new row and pland basil seeds between them... basil has a very slow germination about 2 weeks it seemed to me
and then has tiny sprouts you can hardly see. So the big ones that I plant will act as row markers . However with lots of help, you have to expect that the seeded sections might get " weeded" and cultivated accidently... an age issue for me. 

--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell

5-9-22

IMG_1384.JPG
These "Bergen" carrots were seeded April 10, 2022. The carrots are the fine seedlings that look like grass and they have shadows.   They took almost a month to germinate. They are very hard to see.  Our peas,  on the other hand, which were seeded a week ago have already sprouted. This is why carrots  are  seeded so early: In warmer weather the weed seeds already in the ground would have germinated weeks ago and you would not be able to see the fine carrot seedlings. By the time you can, the weeds will be 6" high and a job to hoe. We are hoeing the shoulders of the seed furrow yesterday and today so that the hand weeding will be only for weeds that spring up exactly in the carrot row. When the carrots are 6" high I will run the farmall cultivator through the aisles. We will mark with little flags the rows every 20' so I can see them from the tractor seat.  I will buy blue flags for this job.

5-8-22

Warmth is predicted, we are going ahead now with planting all flowers, squashes and melons. 

I hope we can prepare and install our biodegradable rows today about 10 of them. We will be planting asap. Note the squashes will all be planted in a diagonal two row pattern. The plants will be about 20" apart. We will cover the crops with fabric over hoops  at the same time. This will protect from cold and chucks/deer/bears. 

We have 4 more rows of potatoes to plant in the chestnut field. set potato tubers 12" apart, in the bottom of the trenches we have already prepared. 

Barbara will set sweet peas at the stacked area at the south end of row 10. 

We will plant tomatoes in the chestnut field west of the potatoes. 

Yesterday's farmers' market was good, connie and phyllis visited warm spots at the Lord Jeff by turns. Our tents didn't blow over at least one neighbor's did. 
We sold : starts, rhubarb roots, rhubarb, mesclun, spinach ( about 60 bags), basil, cilantro. I forgot to set out a couple of 5 gal pails of manure..you will have to come get it, we have pails and shovels. 

The three 225' rows of overwintered Bloomsdale spinach  ( they are about row 40)  will be plowed under in a week. Please come and cut your own now. Plus there are about 10 bags already cut for those who don't need exercise  at the yellow hut. Just to the west there are two new spring seeded rows of spinach.. don't walk on them and don't let anyone's dog either. We also have direct seeded two more rows of carrots at row 30 or so keep dogs and walkers off those rows too. 
I will paint a spinach sign for Amity st today.. our "sunset farm seedling starts" sign was stolen yesterday. 

We will have many more electric wires set up around the melon rows...the prime problem might be deer. This year the foxes may be the reason we have not had obvious chuck feeding. The electric wires are very effective with dogs too, They will touch it only once. They can hear it clicking too. 
Next week we should have loose leaf lettuce (Boston they call it here) and under on the the cover there are turnips 

We have about 10,000 onions in -- do I see 13,000?  Here and there plant more scallions and in the chestnut field do a row 4 across of leeks... the first row above the hydrant. 

This year the entire swimming pool field will be corn. 

IMG_1382.JPG

5-7-22

Seed Row 10 today. Start that row with dill, then direct seeded beets, then sweet peas.
After that then finish harvesting ALL the spinach, it will not keep till next Saturday. 

Set out 5 6' pea posts for the 6x6 netted pea trellis where the sweet peas are planted 
IMG_1372.JPG

Below is mesclun which was planted about a month ago by Muton and Jesse - since it was under cover there is no flea beetle damage. (tiny holes in the flat leaves.)
Major spinach packing project..see the lug full of $5 bags
IMG_1377.JPG
IMG_1380.JPG


5-6-22

1. Plant the flower seedlings including the "288" flats on the tables by the yellow house. They are all planted thru plastic 4 across
2. We planted two 125' rows of Kennebec potatoes in the chestnut field. Row numbers  not assigned yet but they will be in the 90's. That was planted from 1 50 lb bag of seed potatoes from FEDCO. We have three more bags to plant: our fedco order of January : 7735 — Yukon Gem Early Season Potato, 50.0# — 1 × $27.00 = $27.00
7790 — Kennebec Mid-Season Potato, 50.0# — 1 × $30.00 = $30.00
7800 — Keuka Gold Mid-Season Potato, 50.0# — 1 × $22.00 = $22.00
7900 — Katahdin Late Season Potato, 50.0# — 1 × $30.00 = $30.00
Shipping is on top of this and is close to the same as the potatoes!  If I were the average Maine grower, the yield will be 10 to 1, but I am not. 
The Kennebecs were Huge some at least 6" across. We cut them into three. 
3. Today we will be preparing to lay plastic rows: now is the time to get all the rows laid out. 
4. Harvest today for tomorrow's farmer's market: two large tubs with rhubarb. Trim all but 2" of the leaves, put them all vertically in two large tubs ( not lugs). Put the lugs in the back of a golf cart and add three inches of water to the tub after you have slid the  tubs into the yellow van. 

Lift away enough sand bags weights to see under the covers if we have lettuce, mesclun  or anything thing else to cut into black lugs. 
Load the boxes of wooden signs into white van.
Load and stack black lugs of starts into the yellow van, keep it open and out of any sun that comes out. Include a lug of crimson king watermelon, zucchini, summer squash, fennel, broccoli, red beets, pumpkin from the greenhouse . 
IMG_1366.JPG 
This is a 288 flat of lisianthus. Shipped from new jersey...I notice a few holes.
  
Barbara, David and Jason have planted more than 10,000 onion seedlings. We still have a few thousand seedlings left for those who want their own. I planted a share the hardest part for me was getting up again. 
We will pick lilacs today. Those who have neighbors that won't mind, bring their lilacs too. 

--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell

5-5-22

1. Plant new seedlings that are on the tables by the yellow hut. We have to complete row 2, then row 5. Use a dibble with these small plugs. Talk to Barbara Van who started on these yesterday. 
2. I will direct seed the north end of new row 10 with beets, the South end of that row starting from the end and planting heading north will be sweet peas. Barbara Shuman will plant the sweet peas. A string marking the row will be installed (I think it is over row 11 now) the sweet peas must be planted in a straight line directly under the string. 
3.  I hope to make the potato trenches today in the chestnut field. Then we will plant seed potatoes 12" between each one. Big potatoes will be cut in half. After planting and covering the seed potatoes, I hope the trench will  be at least 8" lower than the aisles. that will give us room to hill the potatoes later as they grow and make the aisles, valleys. 
4. I saw a young  chipmunk in the greenhouse .. it left via an opening at the floor in the middle of the west side wall. I will heap some fill against those gaps.
5. It is time to plant fennel -- lets plant it all in plastic row 4 or if there is room in the south end of 12,13 or 14.
IMG_1368.JPG
Just arrived flat of lizzies, these flats are 288 seedling plugs/ flat. They are cold resistant down to about 20. 

Plant them 3 across.


5-3-22

1. Plant chives under the new string north of the  sorrel in row 17  there was a flat of  chives by the yellow hut. 
2. Plant flowers using the pointed wood stakes to make deep holes . the flowers to be planted are on the  ground on the north side of the greenhouse. 
3. Throw  another 1000  onions in the deerfield onion rows. 
4. I planted the peas this morning, afterwards was our regular family property meeting at Pat's office. .. the grandchildren are well. 
5. I received seeds for more Kabocha squash Please plant all the seeds, I think it is 100, in the greenhouse. 
6. I planted another row of "responder" spring spinach. (rows 46 and 47) tonight just ahead of the rain... (makes me feel good)
7. Time to set out the potatoes in the chestnut field. Probably 6 100' rows 39" apart. they have been in the gray cooler since they were delivered from FEDCO last month. We will make furrows into which we plant the potatoes, then we will fill in the trench/furrow as the plant grows.  The deer don't bother tomatoes or potatoes. 
8. I want to plant our zuke seedlings : we will cover them and hope for a spate of  climate change. otherwise they may be greenhouse zukes. 
IMG_1359.JPG
A lb of very tall peas I had left over from 2020 Siri sent me a chart of viability: it said 3 years for peas. The other 1 1/2 rows of shelling peas are Mr Big variety. These will grow on our 6' trellises. this year I want to wait  for the peas to grow a few inches before we build a trellis. Last year birds took to stealing pea seedlings. 
IMG_1357.JPG 
Our east row #7  has snap peas, as you can see in the seeder box, they are treated to help avoid rotting in an extended cold wet spell.

5-1-22

1. Layout, fertilize and seed peas in the upper field about rows 9-10. There will be three rows: 2 shelling peas and 1 snap pea. Next step there is to build the pea trellis. 

2. Plant flowers in rows 2 and 5 . They are on the ground covered with white cloth north of the greenhouse. Use the pointed tomato stakes to make all holes for the plugs. 

3. I will make a watering schedule and tape it to the cover of the black 3  ring binder. You fill in what and when you watered and then any comments. 

4. Plant a 30 ' row of chives in row seventeen. Do set a string so the plants are in line. The seedlings are in the yellow house display. 

5. Yesterday was a beautiful farm market day, but it was one of those times when we wondered if we counted all the money .. $450 or so .. yet we had spinach, rhubarb and cold weather seedlings.  

No flowers and no popsicles this year.  Next week we will have more spinach and rhubarb and we might have flowers, and some warmer weather seedlings. It has been a cool spring . 

6. All the  fields are plowed except for the lower chestnut field.... always wet there. What can we plant there that will not be eaten by the wild animals. ? Hussein thought it should be all mint. I will try that . The mint is also a perennial so we might have a mint patch. 

7. At 11 today is a neighborhood meeting at Jennifer Taub's place on Lincoln Ave. So I have to get going  now. 

4-30-22

1. Plow the swimming pool field. Remove stones that grow in that field every winter. 
2. Layout peas potatoes, leeks zucchini, melons. Drop spread 101010 fertilizer. Last year we had soil tests done.. we needed to add various fertilizers depending on what we intend to plant. Seeing that I don't know till I do it exactly what goes where and since in the same row we should put down some with less nitrogen and more phosphorus.. I am just going to go with drop spreading the standard 101010. Although when I was picking up my order yesterday the guys ahead of me bought all 15,15,15. It would be a great story if a reporter would survey the farmers about the fertilizer formula they use and their theory. Had Connie been with me she would have done that. Sorry for the run on . 
3. Jesse Johnson did his first plowing. Using the Gray 9N (84 yrs old) which has great "hydraulics" he did the chestnut field. Today we will do the last field: the swimming pool field. Then the double plow will come off till next year. It is now as shiny and bright as a mirror. We will let it sit today and dry with the NW winds and tomorrow we will disc it. Ultimately we will plant potatoes and leeks in that field where everything else is stolen by the deer in the swimming pool field. 30 or 40 years ago Steve Heller lost a wedding Band  in the willow field while planting elephant garlic, so keep looking for it. He got a new one (wife).   
IMG_1345.JPG  
Yesterday I noticed my pair of strap wrenches hanging on our shed wall....this spring,  I purchased a new one and borrowed on from Bob because I don't see any better than I hear. It's the same tool you might have in a kitchen draw to open new peanut butters. Same idea. 

Plant the rest of rows 13 and 14 with vegetables: kohlrabi, lettuce, kale, beets.
Bill

4-29-22

1. Plant beets , make all holes in plastic with the pointed tomato stakes . Plant beets red and yellow 4 across . If there are two in plug that is ok , they will make two beets,unlike most other things , if you leave two lettuces together you get no lettuce. The leaves at the juncture between the two competing lettuces often rot. 
2. Plant yellow onions in the deerfield. Yesterday Barbara and Jason planted another 1500 seedlings in that row. The tags on yellow  onion flats says  YG. 
3. Yesterday I went to Nutrient in south Deerfield and was loaded by a fast forklift: a pallet with 15 bags. When I got home I realized they were 15 80 lb bags not 50lb. 
With Elayne's help, slid and flopped them into a golf cart then backed in a shed  with the cart. there we flipped them off. See photo. 
I called Nutrient and paid for the unexpected extra 450 lbs ..the loader was a very nice guy who was very busy ..it being fertilizer time...I am sorry for him. 
IMG_1350.JPG
 80 lb bags were too heavy to make into a neat stack.. for me. Next to the fertilizer is another ugly pile of row covers, dirty and usually holey, not pretty, but absolutely essential.
IMG_1351.JPGIMG_1352.JPG
We have used "72" plug trays, help yourself, free. 
5.  We have tomatoes ready to be planted. I was brained by  global warming, I thought we would have tomato planting weather by May 1. Now they will be rootbound when they get out in the second week of May. If I plant them now, they will live but for a  month the leaves will be purple and won't grow. So you have to decide when you plant seeds in your greenhouse. .. another trick would be to reduce the temp in the greenhouse to 50 in lieu of 55. 

6. Note the wiregrass weeds are about 12" high at the willow field hydrants. Use a weedwacker now to cut them to the ground. Weed wackers take a fuel mixed with oil I will check to see if we have some and I will have some ether handy too. 

7. We planted more chard, red lettuce, seedlings. We are planting all of the flower flats that are on the ground north of the greenhouse. finish row 2. 
Plant leeks in the new section of row 13 that was installed last weekend. Plant them 4 across. (yesterday I said three, I have changed my mind)

8. Dig rhubarb roots from row 1 for sale at the market tomorrow, this can be done with the loader. Run the loader over the top of the row - straddle it and dump the roots in the uphill aisle. 
9. Fill 2   5 gal pails of manure for the market. $4 each?

10. Rhubarb stalks for the market, pick 6 lugs. Trim the stalks leaving 2" of leaves. Do not cut rhubarb stalks, pull to one side grabbing them at the base of the stalk. (otherwise you will get a lug of broken stalks) Since you are trimming the stalks with a knife, use it to cut out the flower buds as you go.

4-28-22

IMG_1339.JPGIMG_1337.JPG 
A year later, we have regraded the south end of the greenhouse, this will be seeded to grass today. Jason Stevens roughed it out in the morning and Bob Cyr finished it in the evening. That's the 10 yds of Loam that Lane delivered. 
Sow seed by hand, rake it in then roll it, but we don't have a roller. Just raking will be ok. 
David Sharken planted two rows of Bolero carrots in rows 28, 29. When done with the last row, we were shocked that the tiller didn't stop when we let go. To turn it off I put the choke on full, flooding the engine. Bob  looked at it and found a loose wire, all better now.  
Barbara Van and Jason planted 1000 yellow onion seedlings in the next row .. will be about row 54 when I put in the row markers. I don't put them in at first since they will be in the way of the tiller, fertilizer dropper, black plastic mulch layer. I did it too for an hour before sitting down. We will continue planting onions . 

Up in row 4 we will plant leeks 4 across. 

In row 2 and continuing in row 5 plant flowers. The flats of flowers to go out are on the ground north of the greenhouse. These all will survive down to 23 so put your coat on. If they are in 72's be sure to plant using a pointed tomato stake. It makes the perfect shape and size holes. 

It is time to put plastic down for tomato and zucchini rows. We will have to plow the swimming pool field, maybe the uphill, East rows in the chestnut field, too. 

Although we have footprints and about 6 lettuces eaten, the pole mounted camera set up by Jason has not seen it happen. He is working on it. 

Phyliss confirms that Atkins is selling rhubarb @ $8.99/ lb. Our bunches exceed that I think, we will check that today. Our price is $5 and while it  waits it is set in water. 

It is also time to plant our celery. Do it in row 4. Three across. Two flats. (144 ) plants. It doesn't need covering, neither flea beetles or deer go for it. 


I will go to CPS (now Nutrien) in s deerfield and will get 15  50lb  bags of 10-10-10. we drop about 25 lbs on a row. (200-300') ....1/2 that in the chestnut field @ 100' rows. 
We will use the  fertilizer pallet for sand bag storage. 

4-27-22

1. Plant yellow onions 5 across in the deerfield west (down hill) onion row/ I will set a row number on those rows today. 
2. Cover lettuce that is being nibbled in row 3. I heard that although we have active nibbling and holes in the plastic none were seen by our motion detector camera. 
Is that true? 
3. I think Jason could not start Big Red. Was the fuel valve opened? We keep them all closed. 
4. Plant kohlrabi , kale and beets in row 3.. Plant leeks one by one/ 4 across in row 4 . After the parsley. 
I bundled up to plant the parsley remaining unplanted yesterday afternoon, but by then they were all planted by others. Thank you! I planted red lettuce in row 3 instead. I loved taking off the then  damp  pants , drying off, then warming up in bed. "I just came up from the farm..." 
5 there are plenty of flowers to be planted , finish row 2 : all those flats on the ground north of the  greenhouse against the unheated greenhouse. Four across. 
6. I will put the bale of hay that is in the shed where I will be stacking fertilizer, in a plastic bag and put it under the coop. 
7. I will go get more  fertilizer today at the plant in S Deerfield: Nutrien Ag Solutions
8. Put the tiller back on the Deere so we can prepare more rows. We should also cultivate the aisle west of the rhubarb (60) before it is a problem. 
IMG_1066.JPG  those were the days. Glad I am retired.

4-26-22

IMG_1333.JPG
Our red raspberries are either very slow or dead. Shugan pointed it out to me a couple of weeks ago, I didn't believe her. We have yellow raspberries too and they are full of leaves!  By so noting, ads for fixes and new plants will pop up in a minute. What is wrong with my raspberries .. "Google and Twitter: if you are reading this please find the answer" 

Today: plant all the parsley that I set out at the foot of row 4. I left the hole punching stake and a hammer just carry one till the remaining 400 parsley plants are set. Don't mix the curly with the flat. .The plants make a 12" circle which we sut off and they regenerate all summer. Parsley, parsnip, celery all look the same. Do not plant celery in the same row as parsley. 

In row 3 plant the tango celery three across, plant two full flats: 144 seedlings. Check the seedling flats  at the yellow house and while doing so water them, the hose will reach. Water everything there. 

I direct seeded row 11 last night and left the string over it: cilantro and radish.  The cilantro should be replanted about May 15th. 

Today I will direct seed Bolero carrot in row 29. This row will be fertilized, then deep rototilled with the red tiller .. which will promote long straight carrots to grow. 
Direct seeded carrots require hand weeding twice and also a surface- laid drip tape. The rabbits and chucks eat the leaves down .. so sometimes we have to cover the whole row. ( we planted three rows of Bergen carrots three weeks ago,,,, they have not sprouted yet) 

It is time to direct seed dill too. I will do another direct seed row at new row 10. I will also  direct seed beets in that row. 

Yesterday we got a 10 yard delivery of loam from Lane.. this will be used to make a gentle (mowable ) slope up to the south end of the greenhouse where we put an addition last spring. I hope that Jason and Jesse will do the job with the front end loader .. and shovels and rakes.  Then we will grass seed it. 

4-25-22

We set  out some more plastic rows today. 

In Row 3 or new row 5 please plant our parsley, we have 8 flats . Plant first the flat leaf then the curly. Plant them in straight across rows of 3. Use the tomato stakes to make holes, I found that I could put the stakes in deep enough without having to hit them.  Plant 3 flats of each,  leave what remains to be sold at the yellow stand and at future markets. This should go fast and  easy , get it done tomorrow. 

We have one full deerfield row of white and red onions (4,500 seedlings ) planted. Please begin the next row west ( downhill )  with YG  flats  that is yellow gillen
A row requires 6 flats we have 12  flats of yellow onions.  Use the dibbles, plant 5 across. Best done with a bunch of people. And since we all live in the  neighborhood we can create and spread a lot of entertaining conversation, before the sounds  our relative discomfort take over . I worked long enough to have trouble  even sitting. 

We extended rows 13, 14, 15 to their full length today. Plant what ever you feel like in these row extensions as long as it includes Beets (4 across) Kale 3across, lettuce three across, kohlrabi 3 across, leeks 4 across, scallions 4 bunches across, chard  4 across

Not a seedling has been damaged by a chipmunk in the greenhouses.
I will order a truck of barkmulch for the disturbed sloping area at the south end of the greenhouse

When watering remember to do the yellow hut flats too. 

The new flail mower was tested yesterday by Bob. It works very well . It has to be adjusted higher and I don't know what the fix is where the soil is so  wet the mower sinks low and leaves the grass in that area looking like it was cultivated. Will the flail mower be able to go thru 18" high grass when the  soil has dried up some? 

Come to the farm stand now for cool crops as well as cilantro and basil ready to eat in pots, they are in the greenhouse. 

Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell 

4-24-22

We will be setting out four or five rows of plastic, and we will complete the installation of rows 14 and 15  which were too wet to finish three weeks ago. 

Continue planting flower seedlings and vegetables. Plant a flat of Collards: two across in a diagonal pattern. Plant them in Row 3. Put several  stakes in the ground, Plant a red flag with the word Collards on it too.. they haven't been found by pickers in the past who have taken Broccoli leaves thining they were collards. Turns out they thought they were so good they came back the next year and did it again! Be sure you have at last 15" between plants. 
Plant leeks in row 3, 4 across. Continue planting red beets 4 across. 

Put prices on the seedlings out for sale at the yellow hut: kohlrabi, onions, scallions, leeks, cabbage, mint, beets, 

At the Farmers' market yesterday, we sold rhubarb bunches @ $5 ... we were told that Atkins had same for $8...if you see rhubarb for sale would you take a picture and send a picture of a rhubarb bunch and the price.. I don't believe it. 

Connie was very busy  catching up . 

Next week we will have spinach too. 

Jason Stevens has figured out how to operate our hunting camera, he confirmed that the greenhouse problem was a chipmunk , now it is time to look at rows 2,3,4 
Something has make bunches of small  brazil nut sized holes in the plastic .. very baby fawn? raccoons? chucks? 

Please review blackberry cultivation practises with google and prune our blackberry row ... they are in row 70 below and west of the "swiming pool field"

Last week I was supposed to plant more carrot rows , radishes, dill, cilantro..this week I will try to honor my promises to myself. Once the seeding begins I am ok. 

I drove a tractor past the bees at noon on Wednesday in full sun. The bees were very active and I crossed the beeline. We collided at my open neck and I got inadvertently stung. Still itchy and swollen .. google says it takes about a week.  I will take another path at mid day. Gotta mean the bees are making honey. 
I like that.

4-23-22

It is 955 Connie has not called from the Farmer's market for more, for hot beverage, singles, a coat, blanket... 

David sharken, Robert Cyr and I set up at 6 am at the town common; Two tents about 7 6' tables and the yellow van loaded with black luck of appropriate starts plus new stalks of rhubarb. 

We will be setting up plastic rows today with the tiller, plastic layer and dibbler help. In two weeks we will start planting the tomatoes--when warm weather is predicted as well as plant the squash, cukes, spaghetti, melons... the latter will require cover and the cover is stretched over wire hoops and held down with sand bags. 

Connie did just call: more rhubarb please, I forgot to bring the onion starts .

4-22-22

1. We have less than one flat on onion seedlings to go and we will have one full row planted : 4000 seedlings. three more rows to go. I will set some dirt filled buckets 
on the plastic at the half, to hold them down in case we get strong winds. 
2. put flats destined to the saturday market in black lugs so they can be stacked into the yellow van this afternoon. flowers and vegetables
3. wash , brush scrub vigorously and roughly the parsnips , remove their fine white roots with the scrub brush at the wash station. Put them back in the dark gray cooler so they stay white and fresh. If the tops look ok , leave them. Put them in $4 bags. 
4. twist and pull , never cut , rhubarb , just get the longest ones and fill about 3 lugs if you can. Trim the leaves if needed to fit them in the lugs , the lugs will be stacked in the van. Make $4 bunches with rubberbands. We have pounds of bands in the " rubberband drawer"
5. A part of the greenhouse log: when a  flat is filled the "0" is shaded in. Hanging chads and notes are ok too. 
IMG_1328.JPG
IMG_1326.JPGIMG_1323.JPG  Basil for using, not planting ( it is way too early for that) and flats of watermelon and squash that have not been bothered by the chipmunks so I have taken most of the covers off. The flat in front with the pink sticks is not right: all vegetable stakes are white, flowers are pink;.
Today ,we will reinstall the tiller on the deere ( the  yesdeere) It is  kept mounted since it is used all summer to keep the aisles clean.( we waste 10'width  on the aisles between plastic rows, but then we can tend to and harvest off of a golf cart, as well as disk them and/or till them. Once a cart goes thru it is easy walking too on the tire tracks. 
With the tiller back on, I will  prepare for direct seeding our spring spinach and more carrot rows. 
Yesterday Elayne planted yellow and red beet seedlings. They are very popular when they are golf ball size. That is what you get if you plant two or three seedlings in one hole. If you want big fat beets then put one seedling in a hole.. or  direct seed and try to get to thinning them. 
We pack the yellow van today, keep it in the shade , windows open, then get to the Amherst Common Market by 6 am. The white van comes too with tables , signs, tents and packaging.The market manager wants everyone to remain in business till 130 pm , after that we move fast. Back home the nickels ,dimes, wrinkled singles 
are tallied . Then we eat and discuss what happened

4-21-22

IMG_1321.JPGIMG_1319.JPGIMG_1318.JPG
Kitchen table  project: Liquid chalk on swatches of 30 year old rubber roofing (from the creamery). The swatches are on blocks of 2x6's and some prefinished white trim from Home depot (made in Chile). With a damp paper towel you can erase and replace, I never get all the prices right. The liquid chalk spent the  winter on the floor under the white van seats..I am surprised how well they survived the winter being so abused. 

The melons and squash (which are in #24 flats) were not eaten by the chipmunk last night, I just checked them. Connie  commented that going to check in my bathrobe was another sign of eccentricity.  What is that a signof? 

I did notice the door to the greenhouse was unbolted (nono)..it didn't open for a chipmunk but might have for a gust. I should have gone last night in my bathrobe too. 

Now my worry is that the vines will be vines by the time I plant them in the field in May. And they will be tangled up. I also hope the white covers we put over the rows then will give them a few degrees of comfort. 

Yesterday we planted 1/2 of one row with onions 5 across. We used the dibbles, Helpers came . I  think we stuck thru the plastic  2 flats or 1500 seedlings. Since I don't often do that, My upper legs ache today  (only when I move ,however, so it is not so bad). I also talked too much having so many people within ear shot. they kept changing too :my rants got shorter : I rested by listening some and today my jaw is  fine. 

Today a young family should come and dig up the remaining parsnips-- about 100-- we will keep them in the dark cooler and wash them tomorrow for the Saturday Market. I will leave them in the ground this morning till I can't stand it anymore, then do it myself. I love doing it. 

--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell

4-20-22

IMG_1314.JPGIMG_1311.JPG
Our onion starts are here. Each plug (I planted two ) is 12+ seedlings. they are white, yellow and red. We have 26,000 onion seedlings. 
Yes, we will sell six packs (150 seedlings) at the market for $4. This Saturday. However, come to the farm anytime and just put the $ in the cash slot. 
I found they go in fast and easy using a dibble to make the hole and a person to put one in the hole and pinch it in. I did 5 or 6 across. ( the plastic sheet is 36" exposed)
We have two dibbles, I will get a couple more. 
These are to be planted in two 325' rows in the deerfield in biodegradable black plastic. The two rows should take about 8000 seedlings. I have an idea that we won't need more than that. I don't remember how I calculated my order, either.

4-19-22

The squash/melon seeds are doing very well in the greenhouse. I hope they slow down and don't put out tendrils before May 1. 
Around May 1, we will be putting down our biodegradable plastic rows ( made from corn starch) into which we will plant them . 

Plant leeks in row the south end of row 14 in the vacant last 50' of that row. In the plastic, plant them 3 across, use a 1/2" dia steel rebar to make holes. 

Plant seeds in the greenhouse for #16 python cuke... have they been planted? 

Plant  lettuce (I will get the leaf lettuce from Harvest Farm today, in addition to our Caretaker head lettuce and Buleah red leaf lettuce) in row 3, three across. Use the fat sawed off tomato stake to make holes. I will make a shorty stake so you can make holes when you are down. Although, I welcome the opportunity to get up. 

I will also pick up our onions starts today: Plant them in the deerfield in the two plastic rows we installed last weekend. We need friends and family to volunteer and help. The pay, if you can wait a few weeks, will be onions and vegetables you can pick free for yourself. Planting during May is our  biggest labor need. Not only are there a lot of plants to put in, but they have to be done according to nature and the US Post service: "neither rain nor..."  Maybe that motto is only familiar to New Yorkers? We have some ponchos, hats and knee pads in the shed. When you get home you will see real dirt come off in the shower.. as well as the  dead skin cells they told me about in grade school. Seeing was the key to believing then.. and you can't see them.  Dirt in the shower will be a grounding - depression therapy. 
Bill

4-18-22

1. It is 28 now. But continue planting chard , broccoli  then some 4 across leeks in row 3. We will plant a lot of them in the chestnut field where they have done well in the past and are also not eaten by deer, bear or chucks. As soon as that field is dry enough we will prepare it for three rows of leeks in plastic.. at the west edge of the field.... but that may be two weeks away. 

2. Tomorrow I will pick up our onion starts at harvest farm which we will plant in the middle of the deerfield. Two 325' plastic rows have been set there. 

3. Plant  muskmelon seeds in 6 24's in the greenhouse. I left the seeds out. All of our melons and squash are doing well -- check that we have enough butternut planted I  think we are short there. I don't know how long we have to leave the dome lids over our squash seedlings. I will remove one lid today and see if the chipmunks notice. 

4. Pruning is ongoing in the fruit trees by Lee. He said one of the peach trees is dead and the others are declining... Peach trees seem to die in about 10 years. 

5. I will rehab our wood block signs for Saturday's first market .the blocks don't blow away. I like them to look fresh .. plus the  $3 items are now $4. 

The plants out now are not bothered by 28 degrees or even snow.  We wish for the fields to dry now and in mid june we will wish for rain... a couple of weeks after the tomatoes and eggplant are planted there always is a late spring drought. Usually about 3 weeks long. 

Around May 1 we will seed the peas. In previous years I planted around April 1. Two years ago it was so bad we replanted May 1 and the peas loved it. They slept in. 

Bill 

4-16-22

We will make signs for the first farmer's market next Saturday: need your comments: 

Prices for first market April 2022

Parsnip  prebunch to $4 bunches  , they are very special because they will be very white (fresh),  like apples they turn tan fast. 

Sorrel  2 bunches for $5  and how much is one bunch? 

Starts   $4/ six pack or box 

Pots of fully grown  basil, cilantro,and herbs 4x4, ready to eat  $4

Rhubarb  $4 a bunch

Sunflower starts   make six packs $4

Spinach maybe  probably will wait another week to cut it. 

Any flowers?

Manure  $4 a brown bag with handles  or Come to the farm and shovel a couple of 5 gal buckets :2/$5 

I will put a big sign on the pile .


Now, keep planting our kale (3) , lettuce (3) , broccoli (2) , in row 3 . 

I will direct seed radishes and cilantro next to our carrots; probably  row 29 in the willow field.
I will put flags on the woodchuck holes at the south end of the 30's and and the west side of the Rhubarb 60  so we can try the tractor exhaust system on them. 
I don't know how long to idle the  tractor to do the job. I feel very uneasy leaving a tractor running unattended for an hour. 

Tape shut the gap between the East fan in the  greenhouse and the plastic wall above--horizontal about 30" long

Inspect the emerging watermelon and other vines in the greenhouse. This is when the  chipmunk has eaten them all in the past. Be sure the covers are on and  weighted. Connie says we should steal the robot from the aisles of Stop and Shop and let him/her/it loose in the greenhouse ,you know how skittish the chupmunks are. Maybe a  rumba will do ? I will leave the radio on today.. google says they eat early am and late pm daylight. 

We need  updated price signs for next Saturday's market. I will update our 2x6 wood block signs with white ductape and big bold text. Signs at farmer's markets are very interesting to me , please send me pictures of signs at markets. In general, they are large enough so we can read them at a distance. We use heavy blocks for mounting because of the wind. 

--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell 

4-15-22

It is raining now so I am writing about tomorrow.
1. The potatoes arrived , I will wait till the daffodils bloom, they are in the gray cooler ...  which is turned on. I did that by plugging it in. power. 
2. An additional package of Bolero keeper carrots arrived   about 22 hrs after I click " buy" this time I got 25,000 seeds for about $25. I have wondered if the carrots would be better if I rototilled with my walk behind Troybilt exactly over the intended seed row. I want to know if they will do better with deeper cultivations. About 8" . 
We have never grown more than we can sell, but carrots that stay in the  ground longer will require more weeding,  so the row will  look ugly late July. 
3. Flower -planting has begun in plastic row 2  ( there is not row 1, I lost the stick) continue with Batchelor buttons and  calendula also tat three across. 
4. I want to plant the leeks now in the chestnut field.. because the critters don't like leeks.. but the  chestnut field is the last to dry up enough to plow. So I will opt to plant some leeks in row 4. No covers needed,  set them three across. Make the holes with 1/2"  rebar so they  accomodate the bare 2" long roots. How to do that quickly  is an unknown. We grew our own leek starts, seeded in the greenhouse on  February Feb 7, 2022 .
5. I have included a picture of a broken casting part of the Farmall rear cultivator attachments.
IMG_1296.JPG
IMG_1295.JPG
... if you know of a replacement part. Let me know. Bob can't repair a casting .. you can't weld a casting, won't stick. 

I have included Lee McLaughlin of Chicken Feathers Farm in this report: I expect he will be pruning out Sunset Farm fruit trees shortly.

4-14-22

1. Jason captured a photo - using a campflagged camera  of a chipmunk in the tomato seedling in the greenhouse. It was taken at 330or so in the afternoon!  I have said the doors should be open when the sun is out, to make cooling faster: duh, the chipmunks are just walking in and helping themselves!  Keep doors shut now. The exhaust fans and louvers will have to do the job. 
Meanwhile, if you have a suggestion for what to bait the traps with and what traps to use, tell me. Now that we are growing a lot of vines, we have to keep them out. 

2. Bob and I set 4 rows of plastic rows: 2,3,4,5 in the upper field. Please start row 2 with flowers: start with the weed- alike wheat that is in the separate Markbuilt cold greenhouse. Set them 3 across. put in seed id stakes... especially important for flowers.. I still don't know everyone. 

3. Row 3 can be vegetables: broccoli (2), lettuce  (3) , beets(4), chard (3)  ( ) MEANS ACROSS

4. Mice got into the drawer that had the swan gourd seeds: I will order new seed today. Check when you think of it, the steel drawers in the middle ( B) shed. Make sure they are all shut tight. 

5. Now or never is hoeing and tilling the perennial beds (19,18,17) before the chick seed and quack grass get so big you have to pull it by hand. Everyone , do about 5' of row every day. I will show you those 5's  tomorrow. 

6. The blue tractor battery will not charge, I start it with a portable battery gizmo that Bob gave me. It is in my car,  where it recharges itself. So much easier than the old days.  
IMG_1304.JPG  
New plastic row 2, ready for flowers, below left, black plastic mulch and drip tape layer, and  tractor line up at the  shed. 
Each machine has its jobs. There is a resistance to have to change the attachments as you can imagine.
IMG_1298.JPGIMG_1301.JPG


4-13-22

1. Plant more butternut, acorn, kabocha flats (24's) I filled them for you. They are all set on the work table. The greenhouse is full so I took out the mixing/filling table. 
2. I rototilled about 1/2 of the upper field, tomorrow we will lay out plastic rows, fertilize and then till again. Then the tiller will be unhitched and the mulch spreader installed so that in the evening ... hopefully with Bob's supervision we will lay a few rows down.  At least one row will be Connie's flowers starting with flats of wheat that look like weeds. 
3. I hope to get one of the very small rototillers going in the am in the perennial rows 17 and 18 , so we can upset the chickweed and quackgrass that is getting started. If we catch it now , it will be not only easier, it will get done. 
4. At the south end of row 13 there are 30 vacant feet of row: fill it with all the remaining red lettuce (set at three across ) and scallions. (set at 4 across) 
IMG_1290.JPG
The perennial rows at the base of the upper field' we will till within the row with the mantis type mini tiller.

IMG_1292.JPGIMG_1293.JPG
The full greenhouse. A big bag of fine vermiculite we cover the seeds with. The Stones make it harder for mice etc to lift the domes and eat the seeds...on the right is the warm weather media filling table now outside. With a black bale of media and empty "24" trays. We will use about 10 bales of media this year. 
I have taken the black binder home and will return it to the greenhouse in the am before you get there. 

Bill 

4-12-22

IMG_1284.JPG  
I planted our Bergen carrots tonight: 10,000 seeds for 3 200' rows. That is about 17 seeds/ foot of row. 
Considering the germination is always spotty .. and that the animals like to eat carrot plants and that they take at least 3 weeks to germinate 10,000 seeds probably should have been 15,000. The seeder is a toy.. the red box below shows some seeds and the white carrot plate that picks the seeds and drops them on the ground. 
IMG_1290.JPG 
The aisles between the perennial rows have been rototilled to control the chickweed.

IMG_1285.JPG  
The little push seeder makes me walk in soft earth 2400 feet for the three 200' rows, feels like miles. 
People probably thought I was on the phone when I  stopped  a few times to rest. As I finished ,I thought out a plan for the next direct seeding. It involves both of our golf carts, and a lot less exercise. (I think that would be a good thing)

the Fedco Maine potatoes (300 lbs) will be delivered by common carrier tomorrow to the farm. The shipping costs more than the potatoes. 
We will wait till the dandelions are in bloom before we plant them. Tomorrow I will check to see if the gray cooler is working   so we can store them. 
The hardest thing about potatoes is digging them up. For family  fun  the kids like finding them -- like clamming-- unfortunately the rows get cherry picked randomly which makes those that would rather not be clamming for potatoes , wish we were clamming. 

Continue to plant the plastic rows we have out: time to plant some red cabbage : plant them a diagonal 1 across, it they are too close they bolt without making a solid round head. 

4-11-22

Bob plowed the willow and deerfield. A section that will accommodate two plastic rows were set up in the deerfield where the potatoes were last year. . 

They will be onions this year. Onions have done well on that field and they are not eaten by the deer or chucks. However, the plastic usually blows loose because the onions are planted 4 across . So many holes in the plastic means the wind can get under it . The deerfield rows are 282' long, a plastic row @ 4 across = 2256 onions. If they all live  our two rows will grow 4, 512 onions. But they don't all live and they don't all bulb up. It is 4500 seedlings to be individually set however. The holes are made with 1/2" rebars. How to get the 2" long roots down a 1/2 " hole, fast, is the trick. I can't remember how we do it at this point. 

We grow yellow, red and white onions. The whites come first. They are not known as "keepers", they all sell long before we can test that. 

We are planting the vines in the 24 plug trays still :  yet to be done includes pumpkins ,spaghetti , kabocha, acorn and butternut. 

Be sure to water all three greenhouses and open the doors when the sun is out. 

Move the manure pile to the brigham lane manure pile bay, using the deere loader. A very pleasant job. 

Plant in row 11: lettuce ( 3 across)  and scallions (4 across) use a  5' tomato post to make holes. 
IMG_1277.JPG
These "24"  flats all planted and covered with fine vermiculite are a mystery since the id sticks are missing"  Maybe Shuguang knows?
IMG_1272.JPG
The deerfield where I set out flags for the two onion rows. I have to measure from row 60 (the first rhubarb row at the west end) so the onion rows will be in line with future rows. The rolling measuring tool is used once a year ; finding it each year is a renewing  memory. A very well designed tool too. 


--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cel

4-10-22

1. Plant seedling plugs in row 11 ( the current first plastic row)  I started the row with turnip plugs.. I doubt they will become turnips, it is an experiment. I am hoping to grow worm free turnips by being so early. But the seedlings are already too leggy, they have long legs where there should be turnips! 
For the rest of the row plant lettuce, another flat of scallions, kohlrabi, kale, chard

2. Bob is plowing today, so far the weather is perfect. Plowing under the  horse manure is done asap so it doesn't contribute nitrogen rich water to the river.  I can't understand how plowing a thin scattering of manure 8" under ground will be of much use to our crops... unless the manure adds a bio element that benefits growth the way yogurt improves your stomach biome . If anyone has some science about that ,tell me about it. a link is ok as long as it is science and not a cult screed. Meantime we will continue to plow down the 20 or so truck loads of manure.  We do have a spare pile along Brigham lane for sale. 

3. When planting use a 60" (not a 48" ) pointed tomato stake to make holes that exactly accomodates the pyramidal plugs. Don't attempt to make the holes with a trowel or your hand. 

4. I have two perfect 2 drawer black file cabinets in the back of the yellow van... Tuesday am they go to the dump. If you want one or both take them . Until google can search what is in a file cabinet... everything in it is lost....  and at my age, probably should be.

5. Continue planting in 24's (flats) the vines:  muskmelon, butternut  pumpkin, spaghetti , acorn, kabocha, cukes  check the book for how many flats to do and in some cases, how many have already been planted. this year we are trying to outwit the chucks who love them. Cukes have been snapped up , typically. these will be planted in mid May in the field. Some years we have had butternuts yet on our basement shelves which we sell in the spring market. Not this year. 

6. Trying to avoid the usual confusion: onions will be planted in the deerfield, leeks ( which do not have the tubular leaves that onions have) will go in the chestnut field and the scallions in the upper field. The scallions are planted in plug bunches, the onions and leeks are one by one ... thousands of them.

4-9-22

1. Plant seeds in the greenhouse  .. all the squash, melons, pumpkin. In the past we have direct planted and have lost many seeds and seedlings to critters.. this year they will be robust seedlings and will be covered day one with row cover. You will be dry and you can set the temperature to heat or cool, and there is a radio.

2. Move the onions, leeks and scallions in the south greenhouse to the North cool greenhouse, today,  to make more room in the main greenhouse. They do not need heat. 

3. Plow the willow field so we can direct seed  three 200'  rows of carrots, use the push seeder, set the rows 39" apart so they can be tilled in an emergency using the troybilt or blue bcs tillers . When the seedlings are 3" high and higher I will use the red farmall cultivator tractor. We are planting Bergen carrots they are thin and long .They are a beautiful carrot. We have a package or 10,000 treated  seeds from Seedway. that sounds like a lot but it isn't . Carrots take about 3 weeks to sprout and then they are really wimpy compared to our weed seedy field (in part due to using free horse manure, in part because of imperfect weed control last summer) .
Bob Cyr plowed the entire upperfield last night, this is the first time we did it making a "dead furrow" but it went 2x as fast. Filling the dead furrow so it is  flush is a trick we have to learn more about. 

4.  I just remembered that the farmall cultivator needs a new fitting to hold the cultivating fork on one side. I should have tried to get a replacement during the off season. 

5. Move the surplus manure to a bay along Brigham Lane. We will sell it. So much a five gallon bucket..we will leave a shovel out. 

6. In the upperfield new rows 9 and 10  will be marked with flags and string so they can be seeded  to Cilantro, radishes, dill, We will not grow spring arugula since it bolts early and it really bothered by flea beetles. We do direct seed it in the last half of august after the flea beetles have gone to sleep and the crop then is easy and very vigorous. Please write to me with your  advice .
IMG_1254.JPG  
6x6x2 boxes of cilantro for eating right away not planting. If you do plant some and it works, let me know since the experts advise that cilantro "doesn't like" being transplanted. It likes being eaten, I assume. I'll bet the problem is that it will bolt rather than make a bush.

4-8-22

1. In the plant squash, watermelon, pumpkin, cuke seeds in 24 cell plug trays. Cover them with a plastic lid for critter control. Note in the black binder the number of trays you planted . 

2. Plant chard #190  3 across, red beets 4 across, more beulah red lettuce # 111 three across, also chard #14 three across. 

3. Because the seedlings are bigger now, water the greenhouse at 5 or so in the pm as well as early in the am. 

4. When rain stops and the soil is dry enough, plow all the field... except for the overwintered parsnips, perennials, rhubarb, and what we have planted already. 

5. As soon as the soil is dry, set out some rows for direct seed (I know now that will include  #'s 11,10,9). We need to direct seed cilantro, carrots, radishes . 

6. Has fennel been planted in the greenhouse? If not do so and backdate it a month ( wish), then plant three 72 plug trays with dill. 

When setting out seedlings, make holes for the plugs using a 5 FOOT pointed tomato stake and a heavy hammer, push the plugs firmly into the hole . Do not make holes with a trowel . 
Yesterday we mistakenly planted collards four across, they were dug back up and replaced with beets. A center row of collards were left (after having been spaced) they will grow next to the beets to  2' high  for fall harvest. The beets will be gone in July, leaving their space for the collards remaining. 
                                            


--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell

4-7-22

1. Plant seedlings in row 14, next in that row after the scallions we planted yesterday, broccoli 2 across, kohlrabi 3 across, beets 4 across.  Yesterday I made a hole right on top of the drip tape... it has to be repaired and I put two red flags to mark the spot. That was a terrible thing to do.  I wish I could call it due to my  age, maybe not. 
2. Plant seeds in the greenhouse. Plant squash, melons in new 24 size trays. they will be put out in the field in mid May. We have about 50 trays to plant. 
IMG_1267.JPGIMG_1256.JPGIMG_1257.JPG
Jesse Johnson spreading the hot new manure see the middle photo for our new pile..To the right are bunches of scallions planted 4 across, when they are harvested they are just pulled out a bunch... we will keep harvesting them till Sept.

Shuguang planted some Napa cabbage seeds at the south end of row 15 yesterday (the overwintered onion row that stops short.)  these are planted in bioplastic that was set last fall: it probably will disintegrate into fertilizer long before the cabbages are done.

Planting seedlings can be done by one person. It is faster with 3: one makes perfect holes using a 5' pointed tomato stake and a hammer, one pops /pulls out the seedling plugs from the trays, and one sets them in the holes and firmly pushes them down. Bad things happen if they are not firmly set. Connie recalls that with hard rains, the plugs sometimes float out their holes, at the time you notice that,  your shoes are getting sucked and stuck  in the muddy aisles. Rain is forecast so planting outdoors now is the best thing to do.

4-6-22

1. There is urgency to get the cool plants planted, the manure spread, the fields plowed, rows fertilized and bioplastic laid. 
2. Barry Roberts horse farm dumped ten large truck loads yesterday. Using the Deere loader and spreader spread it over the entire farm asap! Very important to get this done . We can't plow till that is done. 
3. I planted 1/2 flat ( 36 seedlings) of Kale; In row 13 after the mesculn and red buleah lettuce were set. I used a pointed 60" tomato stake with a heavy short hammer, to make perfect size holes for the Kale seedling plugs, just drop them in and push down. No other motions needed . 
I drove a golf cart right to the mid row. I did not attempt to turn it around and get  stuck, I backed it out. Several times. This is very nice when you need more or forgot to bring something, like a bunch of sand bags.  We use sand bags to anchor the fabric cover at the  hoops. I, of course, forgot that we do it this way and misled Jesse and Muton who did it with loose shovelfuls . (that is how we used to do it)  The sand bags are great since it makes opening up the fabric to look and to pick much easier. No shovel needed to put the cover back. 
4. We have to get all the cool weather stuff planted now. The cloudy weather is perfect too. There are things that remind you of church in the shed. Use them to be able to prolong your "on you knees" time. We have about 6 of them. Wear plastic gloves so your fingers don't dry up and crack. I like not having to scrub so much when I get home.  That is after you have taken off the muddy shoes too. There is a box in the greenhouse. 
5. I've changed my dinner order to 7 pm too. 
6. When we plant scallions, onions and leeks we don't need to cover them. The scallions are planted as plug bunches not individually. 
7. When you plant the squash and all vegetable seeds in the greenhouse, record it in the black 3ring binder.. see how others are recorded and do the same. This is the only way we can know what and how much of what is planted. Add notes too. 
IMG_1249.JPG
Kale and tools to plant kale, it goes very fast (has to) Row 13
IMG_1243.JPGIMG_1241.JPG
Row 16 :the peonies are coming up. Connie is hoeing in the row, we will run the red farmall cultivator down the aisles for the other dimension,  Next photo : 5 loads of rotted horse manure in the chestnut field. My brother Mark and I planted  the chestnuts in the 80's using a tractor mounted auger attachment borrowed from Homer Cowls... now Andy's (his son)  flower farm. Each chestnut tree has a number tag too. All the tags face North, that's why you can't see them.  You might be thinking of thinning or moving a clump of peonies.. don't even think about that till Sept. 

4-5-22

1. After the mesclun plant lettuce 3 across plant all the ruby lettuce that is sparsely filling its  flats in the south, cool greenhouse. 
2. Seed #24 flats with squash and watermelon 2 seeds per plug. Be sure to cover the flats the seeds are dug up every year by the critter performers. 
3. I will get there about 10, after springfield eye doctor @ 8. 
4. We received about 5 more truck loads of manure today... in the chestnut field. We hope tomorrow to get more at the swimming pool field and a few at the top of the upper field. Jason and Jesse should spread it using the big red tractor, the  manure spreader, and the deere loader. 
5. We fetched 2 more bales of media last night, they are outside the main entrance to the greenhouse. 
6. I noticed the seedlings in the south greenhouse needed more water. 
IMG_1234.JPG
This is monday  April 4 2022 photo of the mesclun in row 13. Covered to protect it from flea beetles and deer. The lines in the field above are from subsoiling by Jesse. 
Jason has fixed and set a critter camera in the greenhouse, I think he said that when he installed it he noticed some very small cameras set up in the greenhouse.
The only eyes that could look at those tiny images would be critters.. watching us.

4-4-22

IMG_1181.JPG 
Some of the tomato seedlings that were eaten are making new leaves.
1. continue to plant the mesclun. Plant ALL of it. I would like to keep it all in one place this year since in mid july we till it all under and plant something else like beans. This means the plastic and the tape are removed. Do not hit the tape when you make holes for the plugs. 

2. Then plant chard, beets, kale, kohlrabi, and scallions. Use rows 14 and 15 as needed. Plant  leeks @4 across. So there is a lot of work to be done in the field now. The leeks and scallions do not have to be covered and the scallions are planted in bunches as they are grown as plugs. About ten in a bunch. 

3. In the greenhouse plant all the vegetable vines.. I left the packet in a zip bag on the greenhouse work table. They go in "24" flats.

4. I will, with a hand, get more bales of media from the s prospect st basement. I will also add more fertilizer to the injector. 

5. Move any cold tolerant seedlings to the  south greenhouse. Clean out the north cool greenhouse and put cold tolerant seedlings in there too. 

6. I hope the manure can be spread now. Is it melted yet? Any day now Barry will be delivering more manure too. 

7. Open the greenhouse doors if the sun is out. Close the doors at 4 or 5 in the afternoon, unless it is cloudy, close the doors if the sun is not out. 

8. Connie is your go to for flower seeding and herb pots. 413 687 3846  I think there are more zinnias to be planted. 

4-3-22

IMG_1226.JPG
Jesse and Mutong are planting mesclun in row 13 yesterday: three people are better for a team: Jesse is making the holes @4 across with a short heavy hammer  and a pointed tomato stake. Mutong is planting the mesclun plugs,  someone else could be popping out the plugs from the plug tray.  Once the plug is set in the hole , gather some earth around it and press down hard so the plug's roots know they are in the ground. 
When making holes.... keep track of where the  irrigation tape is underneath and don't hit it.  After you are for the day... ( best if that is after several hours of work on your knees)   cover the row with white fabric: stretch it over hoops that are set at about 8' apart. Put a shovelfull of earth at the base of each hoop, to keep it on the ground. I will send a photo of this later. 
After the mesclun is all planted, then we will do chard, kale, scallions, kohlrabi, cabbage. At various spacings which I will specify. 

2. plant seeds for vines in the greenhouse plant them all in plug trays with 24 rectangular plugs per tray. Plant two seeds per plug. These will be set out in new bioplastic rows in a month. I left a plastic bag with seeds on the greenhouse work table. I expect that when these are all planted there will be no room left in the big greenhouse for our work tables and usual pile of storage stuff in the northeast corner... all the cool vegetable start trays shall be moved to the cool greenhouses including the little one North of the main entrance.  Baby vines from zukes to watermelons look very similar so please be careful to put an identification stake in each tray using only the permanent black markers. All other markers' writing will  disappear in a month. Cover all flats planted with vine seeds, the chipmunks will dig up every one otherwise. 

3. Bob will  bring some of the tomato stakes to the farm from the red barn. He will stack them along the "attachment row"  west of the greenhouse. The stakes that will be needed first will be the pea lattice stakes, they are 6' long. We have just the amount we need, about 100 stakes, treat them lovingly. 
IMG_1224.JPG 
John Piepul, is redoing his bear security fences  at his hives (at sunset farm). John is eager to hear about swarms that take off in the next month, looking to start a new nest. If you see a swarm or find one in your attic, call him and he will capture it for his United Swarms of sweet life. 
We have heard swarms at the farm .. it sounds like an airplane  way too close.  John is also a finish carpenter, so he can take care of any damage too.  


4-2-22

IMG_1190.JPGIMG_1213.JPGIMG_1211.JPG
Johnny jump ups, we bought this flat from Harvest Farm. Next year we will grow them ourselves in the greenhouse. For about 20 years we overwintered pansies in the field . They did well but the business changed when they became available this time of year at places like walmart, and our field grown pansies had not even buds yet. Duh .. so after about ten years of no pansies,  we will try growing them in our greenhouse. The Amherst Farmer's market opens Saturday April 23 , 2022. 

Last fall,   I thought I had a good idea: let's plant onion sets in the fall and overwinter them. the middle photo above shows the problem: the strong March winds last week lifted the bio plastic cover . I cut it away and will let them continue. We will have to  hand weed/cultivate but these onions should be done in June, so the hand weeding was at least eliminated for last oct and nov. The photo on the right is of onions that are still covered, but probably will blow off too.  The lesson: when no one else is doing what you think is a good idea, there may be a good reason. 

Barbara V put flats of cold flats out on a covered table (covered so the woodchucks wouldn't see them).  Today we will plant them in the bioplastic rows we set out last weekend. And we have to cover them again, not only from the chuck but from the flea beetles. We put the plastic on right away so the wakened (woke? ) bugs that overwinter in "surrounding  field trash" don't get there first and start making lace out of the little leaves. The little holes can kill a seedling but when the leaves get to be full size the plant will survive..albeit with little holes. Little holes taste bad, so the plant that you helped survive, now won't sell.   Connie's barnyard laugh was funny. 

The manure piles still have watermelon size frozen lumps.... frozen so hard that they will damage the tines of the spreader. I have photos of that but I think this file will get too big. Tomorrow I will include one. 

Jason and shuguang are working on setting up the greenhouse camera. If needed I will buy another camera ..actually, one of them will pick it out will since they will  install it. You  know they are  much younger .  I wonder if shuguang has the benefit of reading chinese? 

It is time now to plant, in the greenhouse, vines that we will plant out  in May.. used to be late may , this year we probably will try early May. 
The big issue there is that you don't want to plant a vine several feet long, just seedlings . (You don't want to plant a seed too early in the greenhouse). But at least a foot long so they won't be entirely digested in one night. We will cover them too and under wire hoops.. when they do go out.  Of course some guys get under the cover and eat privately .. or the wind blows the covers off or a deer hoof catches them (gracefully of course) as they dance away. I hate it when that happens. 

 I will set out the row number signs today, so when you write to me, I will know where you are. 
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell 

4-1-22

1. Bob wrote to me last night: 

"I left the camera on the table next to the tractors. It will probably need new batteries 4 D batteries. I don't know what size sd card it uses. It may not need one to work. You can look it up on the interweb for directions on use." This is a cut/paste from Bob Cyr for Jason. I will leave batteries on the table this am too.
This is info for setting up a camera to catch the tomato seedling snatchers. Jason will set it up today. Shuguang told me she knows how to do it in case Jason has questions: She flashed her phone which had live photos from several cameras in her house. She also said she was not a control freak. When you think about it isn't that what we do at the farm, I love control. 

IMG_1182.JPG 
How many tomato plants were chomped in this photo? 100? BTY the tray is what we call a detachable 72. 
that makes a tray of 12 separate sixpacks.
Jesse did more pruning, fertilizing and thinning of the raspberries. 
IMG_1192.JPG
IMG_1185.JPG  
The basil is thriving: we will sell pots of basil from immediate use at the market. You can plant some too but keep them warmer than 50 with a row cover. The strong flavor does not appeal to the usual foragers... when that happens I suspect they know something we don't. 
On the other hand, I am not inclined to eat watermelon seedlings..or tomato seedlings. However, okra and sweet potato leaves are prized by animals and educated humans. 
Again, I write that we will be planting out the mesclun, cabbage, kale, scallions beets, chard this weekend. I realize, now, how easy it would be to be writing fake news and not intend to.  We will plant this weekend.

3-31-22

1. We have covered the flats of tomatoes that were chomped with hi plastic covers. We have a camera that we might be able to hang in the greenhouse that will show us who is the varmint.   Jason can you install it?   Bob has installed it on a bean row years ago, phyllis and deer were stars on those videos. This one works with a card that you then look at on your desktop. Bob might remember more. We need to do this asap. When we plant our squash and watermelon they are particularly vulnerable.. infact that is the only reason we will be starting them in the greenhouse. Then about May 1 we will put them out in the field under a white row cover. 

2. Jesse and Mouton (help me spell!) have been working on the raspberries: pruning and manuring. Next step will be to reset the 6x6 mesh horizontally at about 30" height over each row. 
I will bring down a bunch of 60" tomato posts to hold the mesh.  Not only will the berries be clean and escape the rabbits and chucks, we won't have to bend down so far for a berry treat . The berries come around July 1 then stop while it is so hot, then  rebloom and bear again in late September. The fall ones are much better. As the temperature drops our berries get bigger. For me, that is better. 

3. A careful reader asked me whom to call about our artist studio rentals: call Patrick Gillen  (a relation) at 413 522 1339 Gillen Properties Inc at 401 Main St. 
Yesterday, I painted studio fiberboard walls which make pinning up your work easy. We have three studios left:  $250 and $400 depending on size, all together in an "artist's wing" The artist wing will be 7 or 8 artists. 
I think artists and farm volunteers ... and maybe others... like to work together. 

4. I've been told that replanting herbs into appealing pots is a specialty of Phyllis, those of the greenhouse need her leadership on that. It's not exactly a turf war. If you do something well, it will come. 

5. I took more photos but lately they are all "movies 2 seconds long." I don't know how stop that,  so I will take my phone to verizon for help. If you have suggestions please tell me. 
IMG_1133.JPG  I hope basil is popular.


--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell 

3-30-22

We did nothing at the farm yesterday outside the greenhouse. Could have, but I and no one else wanted to. 

1. Big Bad news: at the northwest part of the greenhouse, an animal has  chopped off tomato seedlings  3 " high , leaving a bare 1" trunk. 
I recovered some flats with the tall covers, I moved a varmint  sound emitter to that westerly bench. Today, I will replace a 6x6  timber at the base of the wall that is missing. 
I think it was the result of an attempt last summer to make a mint patch, by levelling the  ground and thereby making getting into to the green house just a matter of going thru two layers of plastic sheeting that  comprise the walls. 
This is the first time we have had tomato plants bothered by hungry varmints. first time in about 30 years. 

2. Andrew Bellak asked about firewood. I checked the online experts and note that there are people who love to burn Walnut ..so If you would like to cut and split some of our log pile you are welcome to. I view them like green bananas, not sure I should invest  much time and effort on firewood, I'm not planning that far ahead. .  If you are thinking of renting a splitter, talk to Bob Cyr for advice. You can use our yellow van to bring it home. 

3. My old architectural office is now a bunch of artist studios in, it  is now the Artist Wing at 409 Main st.  $250/ month for 125 square feet  or if you need a bigger one  $400. A cathedral ceiling higher than the walls eliminates loneliness. Listening to 88.5 or a pod cast will require headphones..or clip on ears. We have three available. 

4. We picked up 12 flats of herbs yesterday from Harvest Farm in Whately. Mints, oregano, chives, tyme, lavender and sage. Talk to Connie about replanting these in the greenhouse. Her cell is 413 687 3846 .  
5. In the bright sun and using a golf cart, go get some manure from our piles, and throw it on the raspberry patch. Prune the tops of all the canes as I did on the first row. Cut out dead canes (they are obvious).


3-29-22

IMG_1125.JPGIMG_1127.JPG 
Pruning our raspberries. There are two pictures here. One is done and the other one shows raspberry canes that are too close together.  Cut them off at the ground. 
With help we might try lifting and replacing the 6x6 mesh to about 2' above the ground. 
Yesterday I said we would cut out all the canes that had borne last year.. Just trim them off at 36" or so above the ground. Then cut out with the long handled pruners, the canes that are obviously dead.
 
Yesterday I worked for an hour in the stiff northwest 20 degree wind. I learned how to pull up the "fur" hood on a very heavy and big winter coat..I needed it. 
I was yelled at the entire time by a little dog...yes I had nightmares about that. 

Let's dig a few tubs of rotted manure from our manure pile in the swimming pool field. (last year's  60's rows) and throw them on the raspberry rows. 

Our raspberries have never flourished to where everyone has run out of jam glasses, if anyone has a suggestion ....

I stapled up the two loose edges of plastic wall sheeting at the greenhouse south addition too, I will know today if they held. 
Next week it will be warmer, we will plant the plastic rows out then. 

The west side of the greenhouse was planted to mint last summer by Iman and Hussein. When we clear that area, try to find the mint... that would be a good place for a perennial mint patch. We will plant some there that we have ordered from Harvest farm as flats of cuttings. 

Farm jokes are like weeds.. Neither Bob or I have  been slapped; no tuxes either.   


--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell 

3-28-22

1. Water the greenhouse, the water will be injected with fertilizer. 
2. Staple and tape the plastic that has come loose at the connection to the Big greenhouse and the new South greenhouse. I just discovered it is open. 
3. Leave the greenhouse doors shut today even with the sun, however open the door between the south greenhouse and the big house. 
4. PRUNE THE RASPBERRIES, the canes that bore last year have to be cut off and removed. The remaining canes should be 6" away from each other, and all the canes that remain shall be clipped off at Kitchen countertop height : 36" Leave the 6x6 to hold up the canes when they are heavy with fruit. Clip and Remove all canes from the three aisles. 

Bob Mostly and I got three rows of plastic laid down. The upper hill rows are only 1/2 long for now..it got too wet as we went south. When they dry we will continue the plastic row. They were set 12' on center... hopefully we will be able to run the tiller down the aisles during the season to keep the weeds down without tearing up the plastic. You will notice (I will take a picture today) that the rows are perfect: Bob doesn't want to have to repair rows that have blown loose.. that is a terrible job. To achieve this I, who had the job of steering and pressing the diesel pedal, was required to run super slow. Even I, at 84, walk faster than we moved. It was so slow and intense Bob would not let me tell him a story as we laid the rows... it was too distracting. 

Bob spread some manure on Saturday, but there still is a lot of frozen manure at the base of the piles. The spreader (very old) worked well and was pulled by "big red" a tractor that Bob rebuilt with a new block several years ago. The Five tractors are all running. Two vans and the two rototillers too.

3-25-22

1. Clean up the land around the greenhouse put debris in the compost pile via golf cart.
2. Set new flags out at both ends of new rows to be planted this weekend: mesclun, kale, scallions, chard, beets the new rows will be 12' apart center to center. This area has been tilled, now after we locate the center of the rows, we will fertilize, then retill and set the plastic biomulch and irrigation tapes. The tilling in of the fertilizer will be very shallow. 
3. Fill flats with planting media (24's with circular holes) these will be planted to watermelon, cukes, melons in the first week of April. 
4. I will refill the fertilizer pot with the high nitrogen fertilizer. I have heard no complaints since I stopped the big leaks at the pot ... does it still work for you? 
When you leave check that the circuit is not  tripped..it happens when watering. If you cannot  reset it call me 413 374 5193. 
5. I will bring the row markers to the farm today from the red barn. After the new rows are planted we will set the row number signs. They probably will be 15.16.17
6. Be sure to open the greenhouse doors when the sun is out and close them when it is not. 

3-24-22

Continue cutting back and cleaning up the "benches" surrounding the greenhouse. Dump it the compost pile.
I filled two 5 gal pails with 12 gal of gas again. 
Subsoil the chestnut field.
Open the greenhouse when the sun is out ,close it otherwise.
Continue to water using the hose as connected to the fertilizer injector.
We had parsnips for dinner last night; it has a vitamin in it, as yet unidentified, that makes you feel good..or maybe it was the beautiful judge hearing on the car radio and our TV. 
Connie and I are going to the cape tomorrow: we had AAA tow our 1981 mustang to a repair shop in Hyannis last week. The car is now fixed and AAA says they are not in the business of transporting cars that are not broken. So we have to go to Hyannis and drive the car to Chatham, where it stays as a guest with privileges: beach and dump. 
Our yellow market van got the floor fixed and today it earned a sticker.  I stopped in at College Motors on my way home to show them they would have to keep it going for us another year. 


--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell 

3-22-22

Our yellow van that we go to the market with is fixed: the large hole in the drivers side floor was replaced with a floor. I was quoted $1000 by a place that looked like a 1960's junk yard. I smiled to myself when he told me it cost so much because he had a very good reputation, so he couldn't just cob it together for the inspection. 
I am glad I gave myself three months to pass inspection... and we needed  it. 

I have fixed the leaky hose connections in the greenhouse of the fertilizer injector: I had forgotten that the large heavy ring washer for the lid of the fertilizer tank has to be fitted into a grooved home before  the lid is tightened. I didn't do that before so a lot of fertilizer concentrate was spilt. You have to use fertilizer since the growing medium does not have any nutrients. 

It is time now to continue subsoiling all the fields. Somebody get on and do it. I will help you get started if you ask. Lately, I have forgotten to tell people how to stop it  Don't rip thru the parsnips, blueberries or rhubarb. Do everything else and do it with rows that are on a 45 degree angle with  respect to the plowed rows. 
IMG_1103.JPG
Use the blue tractor (8N 1948), remember to turn on then off the fuel valve, under the hood. 
Who ever does it,  beside Bob, will get stuck at least once in the mud. Part of the fun. 

Open the outside geenhouse doors when the sun is out. North and south ends of the greenhouse. I don't like being too hot, therefore, I assume the plants don't either. 
Although the big 48" exhaust fans will turn on automatically if the temp inside exceeds 90 and little motors open the louvers at the north end. 

I forgot also to get the fertilizer spreader from the Barn. I will try to remember to get it tomorrow. I will attach it to a golf cart and drive it down sunset ave. 
When that illegal jaunt is completed my nap will be better since I will be pleased with myself

3-21-22

IMG_1102.JPGIMG_1097.JPG On the left is the 8N tractor with a subsoiler attached. With it Shuguang and Jessie Grohman made 15" deep slits in the ground in a diagonal pattern to facilitate drainage.  We were surprised that the  ground was dry and unfrozen, so Bob then plowed the area where we will plant our early crops: mesclun, lettuce, kale, cabbage, scallions. In a couple of days we will fertilize, rototill and set black bioplastic. 
We would have spread manure but our piles of manure that were delivered last fall are frozen solid, since the manure is not frozen till you get 5" below the surface I worry that it will not thaw till July. 
I will call Barry Roberts and see if he will send a dozen truckloads that is hot from his 60 horse barn. 

please place a band of fertilizer on the uphill side of each spinach row. Use Calcium nitrate, or Nitrogen or 101010 . I will pull out the sacks :dribble the fertilzer an inch or two away from the plants. Maybe a  small black pail of fertilizer/ row.  The spinach woke yesterday..it looks great.new dark green leaves upright now. I will take a picture today. 
I will bring the fertilizer spreader to the farm from the red barn at the  old creamery office building today too. 

We have half a row in the willow field of parsnips. They are more than a foot long and about 2" in diameter at the surface. Dig some out for your dinner tonight. 
Those, who taste what they eat, eat parsnips in the spring. They are about 20' east of the spinach row. Last year's row #30. You cannot pull them out, dig a hole NEXT to your selection and then ease it sideways out. Don't touch it with your spade, it will make an unsalable (unselectable at the table ) gash. Cook it so you can really get a sense of the new spring flavor and tell me about it,  if you will eat and write. 

Move lettuce and mesclun into the cool south greenhouse. 
Since the sun is out, open the window in the south greenhouse door...or block the door wide open so the house stays cool. 
Plant flower seeds in the greenhouse in 72's. the seeds are in the "to be planted " bag. 

--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell

3-19-22

1. The rows near the shed rows 10-16 which was where the peas and later the broccoli were last year, are not frozen and are dry enough to plow. 
2. The Gray tractor and all the tractors started up this afternoon when Bob tried. I picked up 12 gal of gas in 2 five gallon gas cans. They are very heavy when you have to lift them to the fill cap next to the steering wheel. 
3. We have to do some subsoil tunneling,  then spread some manure, then plow, then disc and rototill, then fertilize,  till again very shallowly, then set two or three rows of black bioplastic.  Having done that, we will plant our mesclun, scallions, kale, beets, lettuce. I am not sure it is dry enough to set the plastic... that might take another week. 
4. Our spinach has been visited by deer and some was eaten, now is the time to cultivate the spinach and fertilize it. (should have said fertilize then cultivate it. 
IMG_1093.JPG We set this twine, which has metal strands in it, over the center of the spinach that was seeded last fall. you can see the rather small deerprints made last night . next to that is a picture of the solar/battery which sends a sting once a second to the twine ... you have to check it every day since animals catch their hoofs on the twine and pull it off the row.  The deer must be very young.  If we are lucky, the spinach will start growing very fast in the next 2 weeks so we will be selling it at the market in late April. We will  also reseed three more rows as soon as the ground is dry so our supply of spinach will last into June. 
IMG_1090.JPGIMG_1094.JPG
--

3-15-22

1. Plant long thin eggplant seeds.. I left a packet with .5 grams (500mg) of seeds - 125 - 200 seeds says my phone. That should fully plant two flats of 48 I gave them a number I think 201. I wrote it on the packet. Those seeds arrived in less than 12 hours. 
2. The "leak" at the hose is the vacuum breaker doing its job as complicated by the expanding but very handy hose. The leak is contained by an apron on the coat rack so  DO NOT disassemble the watering set up because I have added fertilizer to the pot and it is working well. Water on the floor is not a problem. I will get a new vacuum breaker just to see if it will be better. Look up vacuum breaker on Goggle and you will know as much as I. 
3. The repaired chicken coop area hose will be working in the am, since no frost is predicted tonight. The hose will not be clogged by ice. 
4. If the sun is out tomorrow open the door or the window in the door in the south greenhouse while the sun is out. And close it anytime after 5. 
5. I have a feeling that Lee McClaughlin our "chickenfeather farm" guy that prunes our fruit trees should be doing it now: I will email him tonight. If not..maybe Robert Mienza will prune the fruit trees at the farm and at our Main St office buildings.  
6. Continue to plant flower seeds. If you need more room, move the kale into the south greenhouse.
IMG_1074.JPG
 If anyone wants a hot /cold cooler, its free from me.

Connie and I are driving to Chatham in the morning . There we will meet AAA who will take Gert's '81 Thunderbird to Vintage Car repair in Hyannis. Then at 11 am on Wednesday we will go see the mechanic for a consultation. It turns out they also have a service of checking and getting vacation cars that are unused all winter ready so the owners can vacate, I will find out what the cost is for that service, at least we will know how much we are saving by doing it ourselves. For now we hope we can get it back on the road by June. It has a short somewhere.

3-14-22

Plant flower seeds.
I don't understand why, but when you turn the water off the vacuum breaker hisses out a big spray. I hung the hose on the coat
 rack so the spray is deflected by a plastic apron.
 It works well. 
I also noticed that I had caused the GFI outlet to pop. This put the light and the power circuits in the greenhouse off. In an hour it 
dried enough to I could reset it. 
To reset it you  pull out the varmint emitter next to the door and push the button in the white gfi outlet that says reset. 

When the sun is out be sure the door to the new south greenhouse addition is open and held open with a bunji cord. You can also
open the little window in the door of the new new greenhouse// or block the door open. At 4 or 5 pm shut the window again to hold
in the heat. 
 
We have trapped about 5 mice: two  last night. I got a little squeeze tube of bait , makes it very easy to set the traps. I have not
 seen a chipmunk lately, they are the ones that eat all the watermelon seedlings. 

Bob lent me his strap wrench , it is on the table in the greenhouse,  which I will use tomorrow to open the fertilizer injector pot. 
I had two of them last year, can't find them this year. I have a new idea that the fertilzer pot has some dried fertilizer that is
responsible for the big vacuum breaker spray. 
IMG_1073.JPGIMG_1071.JPG
 I will take a picture today for tomorrow.. this one is of a walking stick I carved decorated when I was 11. It had rained every day for a week and I was bored. I might have been obsessed with my first pocket knife. 
Bill 

--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell 

3-11-22

We have trapped a few mice. We have lost several flats of lettuce to mice. We have 5 critter emitters. And we had a faulty ground fault electrical plug circuit. 
IMG_1063.JPGIMG_1059.JPGIMG_1062.JPGIMG_1064.JPG LEFT: Please clean the greenhouse surround, use a weedwacker with string. You might leave the dead stuff in a barrel rather that using a golf cart to get to the compost pile  and getting stuck in the mud.  Upper left, see the new GFI plug (bright white). It took me 3 hours to replace this, they must be replaced in the proper sequence or you will spend hours redoing it, as did I. I got so tired of undoing it I used a power screw driver to speed it up for me. You can see into the south greenhouse addition where I have put the scallions and leeks. They don't need heat and above you can see a lettuce tray after the seeds were eaten by mice. You don't want to think it happened so you keep waiting for the missing ones to pop up. They are gone so now we will consolidate the plantings and seed  more flats that will be protected by the emitters that (I am told) scare the mice away providing the power is not lost by the GFI fault.  The good news might be that all the lettuce won't be ripe at the same time. 

3-8-22

Plant flower seeds in 72's  one flat per pack..
did the lettuce seeds get replanted? 
Check that the circuits have not tripped. All the varmint repeller emitters should be working.
I will repair a couple of holes in the new south greenhouse walls. When the main greenhouse is full move the cold weather veggies into it. If we have a very cold spell open the door to the main greenhouse to let the heat in. Very cold is less than 20. 
IMG_1054.JPGIMG_1053.JPG  
Someone left a flimsy steel cabinet  in one of our offices: perfect for the buckets that blow around the field. Should I paint it white or yellow?  Should last the duration. I think white with a big sign: keep doors shut. 

The Town assessor's office sent me a post card that I should fill out a  "cash flow" form for the farm buildings like this.. I emailed for help .. was the form for this 6' x 8' building or all the sheds? 
The Town Manager and the Assessor decided it was a mistake. And I was worried about being fined because the deadline was March 1. I noticed that the post card cost 40 cents postage  to mail. So good to be retired , I can ( and do ) relate to making a mistake now and then.  

Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell

3-6-22

1. Yesterday we planted about 20 flats of flower seeds in 72's. some were " uncut " 1206's

2. We forgot to put stones on about 8 flats so before I officially got up this am I went down and checked for mouse damage. There was none !

Why? 

We have  6 anti mice sound emitters working now.. maybe they worked. However; If I were looking for a lid I could easily lift, and I could not see the top of the lids, I would have to guess as to which I could lift. With about 20 not yet germinated flats out on the benches, trying to find the flats that did not have stones on them would mean a lot of lift off attempts. I think the mice decided to eat somewhere else last night where they wouldn't have to work so hard. or decisions to make?

3. We will continue to plant flower seeds today and I will lug a couple of stone buckets into the greenhouse, not taking unnecessary chances. 

It is a good feeling that I still help get things done.
IMG_1030.JPG
IMG_1052.JPG
We will be plowing some of this about 1 month from today!

3-5-22

1. I was unable to get a case (100) of detachable or "tear away" 72's from our supplier,   Harvest Farms in Whately, they are running out of them. Davey, the owner, gave me a dozen to "hold us over "  which will make 12 - 72 plug flats. There are  864 plugs to be seeded in these12 flats. This exact type of flat filler is called a #1206 and I pay about 60 cents for one flat. 
Davey has more on order but the supply chain is slow now. 
We like the "detachable" since we sell "starts" at the market and if they are not in  #1206 trays the 6 paks have to be cut out  of a full flat of 12 with scissors at the market.  We may not be all that busy but I like thinking we will be ..it takes soo long to do. Besides we are old, time passes faster and there is less of it. 

You know spring is coming when you can just put "1206"  in the google search box and pictures of these trays sprout right up.  There are probably a 1000 specialized trays each with a 4 digit #. 

I filled those 12 trays yesterday, I snoozed and filled at the same time. Today and for the next two weeks we have to seed  flats. Generally, one seed per plug. You can't do that in your sleep but you can  reorganize and store  (restore) memories while you very carefully put one seed in each hole. I use the battery powered vibrating hand seeder, others won't. However you do it is ok with me and based on past years will be successful..no heavy management hand is useful in this operation. I save that for when we are picking "perfect" for the market. Once the seeds are in the hole, cover them and the entire flat with a 1/16" layer of fine vermiculite.  Not my idea, this is how it is done, the vermiculite prevents damping off. 

I bought another case of "germination domes" which cause the seeds to sprout sooner and which have kept the mice and chipmunks from digging up the seeds. The domes run about $2 each. fyi. Barbara put stones on the domes .. the animals had learned to lift them up. 
IMG_1031.JPG
IMG_1033.JPG 
A work table in the greenhouse which will be removed when it is  full.. seeding chores are usually done in the "head house" which we don't have.

3-4-22

Plant seeds ln the greenhouse: collards, red cabbage, broccoli, dill, red beulah lettuce (111) eggplant 18 and 176 
keep the plastic bags holding the seeds zipped closed so they can't get watered. 

Put a minimum of 2 tag sticks in each flat. In case we lose one. 

--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell

3-2-22

Per instructions: we will plant in the green house 2 weeks before setting them out. They will bloom in less than 2 months. 
We will start them April 1. 
We have to start them in the greenhouse because chipmunks and squirrels will eat every one that is direct seeded.
Note: you harvest them BEFORE the  flowers open-- which can happen in 2 hours. 
We will grow the 4-5 ' high floral sunflowers, not the 12' ones for eating.

Today we are seeding everything else  but no cosmos yet please. 
Bill 

3-1-22

1. Plant san marzano tomatoes in 48's.
2. Plant the other tomatoes too.
3. Plant three 72 flats of basil with a very small pinch in each hole 5 seeds max. These will be set out in a row or maybe plastic in early May. These will not be sold as seedlings. The big problem with basil is that it gets mildew early about a week after the first cutting. Our fix has been to seed again about july 1 we usually direct seed this but the weed seeds are too fast at that time this year so we will transplant seedlings. Basil takes about 2 weeks to make real leaves meanwhile the weeds grow 6" in that time. 
4. Plant flower seeds, Connie's big  seed order arrived yesterday they go in 72's. 
5. Connie talked to a friend who has too many dahlia tubers and will give us some... dahlias are immigrants from Mexico by the way. Dahlias fall over especially when they have large beautiful blooms. We will stake them like tomatoes, if we can. They bloom in September. 
6. I will order some sunflower seeds ..a lot of varieties to select from....we will give away six packs of sunflower seedlings under  Ukraine flags at the market. The seedlings are loved by animals so when you set them use row cover til they get big.  

IMG_1012.JPG
My 1980  IBM selectric -free to anyone who will love it - I have the original manual, the original $1000 receipt and maintenance records! It worked the last time it was used..about 5 years ago. I have never used it. It is not a portable.

2-28-22

Plant san marzano and all other tomatoes in 48's. 
Water everything.
Plant flower seeds in 72 size flats.
I will get more chicken feed this week. Babara Van says we are feeding a lot more than chickens. This makes me wonder if the less than usual damage done by mice and chipmunks is because they are stealing a lot of chicken feed..a good thing maybe.  
--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell

2-26-22

Time now to seed tomatoes, peppers ,eggplants do them in 48 plug trays. Now is 8 weeks before planting them out in the field. 
Take plastic covers off those flats that have been sprouted more than a week. Put them on the newly seeded flats . 
The yellow van is having a large hole in the driver's side floor repaired at off-road vehicles repair on rt 9 in Belchertown. 
The white van is now being regularly used. 
I will see if I can get the fertilizer injector installed in the greenhouse, however I will hold off using it for another week. Let the seedlings get their true leaves. 
Connie will have flower seeds to be planted in 72's. Use the pink stakes for flowers. Don't plant cosmos or nasturtium for another month. Don't plant anything that makes vines. 
Look at the uncovered flats for any varmint damage. Sometimes an animal will eat seedlings. Look carefully for chomped off tops. 
IMG_1029.JPGIMG_1028.JPGIMG_1027.JPG

2-19-22

Most seeds are up in the covered flats in the greenhouse. These are the early things. Now I have to remove a few covers to see if the varmints in the greenhouse have an appetite for seedlings. You have to wait till they agree there is little seed left to eat. (they pull up the seedling and eat what is left of the seed) On the other hand the seedlings need air and light. We need it to be easier to  water. So we are hoping the covers can come off soon. 

To be planted ASAP!  Dahlia seeds. In the past we have dug up and saved the tubers but this year I forgot. Maybe on purpose.. I can't remember, but in any case, dahlias bloom in Sept and October and our seedlings will still produce flowers. We will  stick a pink id tag in each 6 pack saying dahlia and its sub name and color. 
There is a picture of our min-max thermometer: hi is 80 ( as controlled by the big  fans) and a low of 48 with heat provided by the natural gas air furnace. 

I am removing office files and equipment from my old architectural office at 409 Main st. Also a HP 42" roll color plotter  IBM selectric typewriter, flat drawing files and desks. They are all available...some are free. Call me anytime it is light out. 
IMG_1015.JPG
IMG_1008.JPGIMG_1012.JPGIMG_1014.JPG
--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell 

2-13-22

IMG_0986.JPGIMG_1001.JPG
A farm van overdue for inspection. "Who is your metal man ?"  is what College Motors, Mike Fuller, asked when I asked him to get the van inspected. 
(They don't do the inspection themselves, but they  fix what needs to be done to pass and take it to the inspection station.) 
Having lived in Amherst for since 1969, that should have been an easy question. Nobody does "ugly" fixes anymore to pass inspection. My old friends at Amherst Welding said their fix would exceed he value of the van . .. so the answer  is "I . " I am  be the metal man. 
 I used aluminum pop rivets and a 26ga sheet of galvanized steel. Drilling the right size holes, breaking drills, dulling drills, was not easy, I gave up waiting for an unsuspecting neighbor to visit the farm and hold the metal in place. Duct tape worked as a temporary extra hand till I got a couple of rivets popped. 
Popping rivet takes squeezing strength... something I have not used much since I stopped shaking hands. Popping a rivet is probably very good exercise but also is hard. 
At the auto zone store I got a can of yellow spray paint that needs 55 degree temperature (I will have a wait till the sun comes out again) ... it won't match but it will put a finishing touch on my ugly patch...and hopefully help acquire the sticker.  I get materials for farm work with no sales tax since we are a farm ( a min of 5 acres)  I give stores a copy of my exemption form, that you print from the massgov site. The stores all use your phone # to validate your purchase exemption. Also the  stores have treats for Luna who puts all the store clerks in good humor. We get great service everywhere and I smile too. 

Today and next week we will be planting  seeds in plug trays in the greenhouse.  I will put out in a gallon zip bag with seed packets. The black 3 ring binder on the seeding table has seed lists and instructions on how many flats are needed and how many seeds per plug.
 
The Basil planted last Sunday has started to sprout. 

Bill 

2-11-22

IMG_0995.JPGIMG_0994.JPGIMG_0992.JPG
Seeding flats is well underway work so far done by Jason and Barbara V.  The flats on the benches are covered with domes. Domes are weighted down with stones to fend off the mice and chipmunks. A page in the three ring seed binder shows that at that time 3 flats of Basil were done. 
On the table are various  tools to foster easier singular seeding of the plug trays, it is very hard to plant tiny seeds one at a time. The white tool has a big battery used to power a vibrator (seed) and with controls enable one to to vary the intensity of the dropping rate. Usually they are done by hand except when you can't . 

When a package of seed still has seeds left, tape it shut carefully , before returning it to its drawer. 

The seeds have to be returned to their steel drawers in the C shed since they must be protected from an overreaching watering spray or animal. The cardboard boxes on the table contain seed stake labels. Barbara has tinted glasses on...greenhouse brightness, however, everytime you come in on a cold day, your glasses fog up, you take them off for a second and later search for them when you get back home. That is mostly a problem of aging . 

Add to the list of seeds to be planted now: mesclun, a pinch of seed in each plug, lettuce, singularly seeded. kohlrabi, broccoli, collard.

2-9-22

Within hours three full flats of basil seeds were dug up in the green house by mice or chipmunks. A day later I sprinkled on more seeds, flattened watered and covered the flats. On the same table were three flats of cilantro that were not dug up. Nonetheless, I watered and covered them too with "humidity domes" for protection. I will send pictures tomorrow. 

Today: seed chard, beets, kohlrabi, kale, scallions in 72 plug flats. Water.... then cover them with domes. 

I replaced the overhead light in the greenhouse with a single LED shop light which is plugged into a motion/light switch the lights will turn on and off automatically . 

The seeds are in the steel drawers in shed C ( the middle shed). Return them there so they are not stolen or wetted. We are getting a lot of condensation on the underside of the greenhouse cover which might wet the seed packets .
Note in the black 3ring binder, fill in the flats 0000 's on the seed sheets so we know how many have been done. 
Put two white seed tags in each flat use the black permanent markers only. Push them all the way down so the domes can be set down. 

The greenhouse heat is on ,  set for 55. 

2-7-22

We will seed vegetables with WHITE TRAY TAGS, the new blue tags are too dark so we will use them for "special notes, like don't sell this, this is grown for Bob, reseeded on what date"
two tags per tray
mark vegetable # tags with black permanent marker only all other colors disappear in three weeks. Number and name . 
Use seeds in packages that have the # in RED (that means 2022 seeds)
1. large 4" x 6" tubs which are filled with media are set in standard flats on a bench.  Put a couple of pinches of cilantro or  basil in each tub ...see the official list for number of flats to do. The three ring binder with the official list will be on a table. 
2. water the full (with media ) but dry containers then/ When you water set the spray so it is fine and linear. Unless you want to be watering all day, figure out how to water them without almost turning off the volume. water once a day now , in a month with higher temps and leaves on the seedlings we have to water 2x/day.
3. After scattering  the seeds on top ,press them in and cover with vermiculite. press it flat and evenly white , Press it hard so when you water it again you will 
be less likely to blast them loose and outathere.
4. find our shallow humidity domes and put them over the flats to keep mice and chipmunks from digging them up. 
5. if you see the media with uneven piles the next day, it means they were eaten. reseed those tubs that were disturbed  immediately. 
6. I will set temp to 55 just leave it there. I will set the fans to come on at 90 so they don't cook (like things would in your back seat) 
7. I will try to make a plastic sheet enclosure for a 90 degree sprouting table. 
8. after that, seed the other cool items: kale, scallion, leeks, kohlrabi, chard, beets, mesclun all of those in " 72 plug" trays I have filled about 30 of them with media. 
The scallions and leeks and mesclun are a small pinch (maybe 12 seeds) per plub,  the rest are one seed per tray... That is where  patience and skill come in. Fortunately there is no hurry. In 1775, William Bartram would  call it  "serenity".  He was a natural and underachieved on purpose.

1-31-22

In a week we will plant : leeks, scallions, broccoli, kale, chard, basil,beets yellow and red, kohlrabi
three flats of small pots of basil and cilantro be  sold in late april for immediate use in kitchen. A small pinch ,maybe 12 seeds ,per pot. Each tray will have two seed stakes with plant# plus common name.
Lettuce wait 2 weeks, it grows fast, once germinated. Connie suggests planting some leaf (boston) 
IMG_0986.JPGI will send you a photo after this is fixed and passed inspection, I hope.
IMG_0355.JPG(last year flats and next to them are flats covered for chipmunk protection. )
lettuce sooner with the idea of selling  4"x6 pansy pots"  of leaf lettuce ready to eat. Lets do  two flats of that. 
Stack the media filled flats under the benches 

I will order seed stakes : blue for vegetables, pink for flowers, white for special notices and solds and remember use ONLY very bold permanent black ink markers. 
ALL other types will  disappear in a few weeks from the watering and the sun. NO COLORS OTHER THAN BLACK. 

When we have a sunny day above freezing Jason and I will try to  put 26 ga steel panels over rusted areas that will not pass inspection on our yellow market van. 
Our guide, Bob Cyr , said to heat the 26 ga steel sheet  with our Bernzomatic torch after the top row of the patch is pop riveted on, he said bending it back on itself at the bottom will be easy then. I haven't tried that before. I always have something to worry about. The Inspection sticker expires today. 

Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell 

12-18-21

Included are photos of what was in our Main st catchbasins . Two guys and a vacuum cleaner that is the body of a big truck
sucked out the sumps of 5 catchbasins (drains) which had not been sucked out since they were built in the late 80's. 
It might be a good pile for a treasure hunter to check for gold rings and discarded pistols. We will use it to improve my incomplete 
grading at  the south end of the greenhouse. That pile cost me $2000. 
They said I was just in time before the sand would be in the outlet pipes, psychology invades all trades. 

The blue BCS tiller is back from Boyden and Perron today. Luna picked up a half dozen treats too. It is always a trip to see
 personalities change when people talk to your dog. She goes everywhere with me now and I am getting along so much better.

The tillers are used when there is only a part row to be replanted, or when the row crop like corn is too tall to run the tractor
 cultivator over (the farmall cub) and the weeds are doing too well. That is because we have used Barry's horse manure for
 years and horse manure is all weed seeds. 

Yesterday I didn't feel like doing something at the farm, besides looking to see if my field fire was done: A willow trunk, fallen 
branches and trimmed bushes over 6' high burned down to 3-  5" logs. These fires do most of their work when I am not looking, 
so in my bathrobe and slippers I drive down and roll around so my headlights show the story. Then I get back home to my 
factoid resources. 
IMG_0873.JPG
IMG_0874.JPG

12-1-21

unnamed.jpg`
One of our frost proof hydrants: notice there are small levers at the hose connection: do not close those use the big lever on the right to turn it off or you will not be able to move the little levers when it is freezing .


1. The 2022 vegetable seed order ($900+) is done and already I received 3000 san marzano tomato seeds. As they come in they
 will be numbered per the seed list  and put in the middle shed steel seed drawers. No mice can get in there (he said)
2. The huge willow trunk and branches that fell have been cut up by Bob Cyr and neatly piled for moving to the splitting corner of the farm: north east corner
3. The brussel sprouts are being lopped and stripped. I posted $4/ stalk  but now realize some stalks don't have many sprouts... so the sign now says "pick what you need for your family dinner $4"  If we had planted 200 sprout plants instead of 72 (one flats worth) we could be harvesting them for Christmas.... next year. 
4. The yellow cooler hut is now done as a cooler for the winter and now is the storeroom for 10 -50 lb bags of pelletized chicken feed. No handles on those slippery bags.. makes them feel like 100 lbs. Tractor supply in Belchertown picks and loads them for you. A must.
5. I personally raked and  loaded 14 loads of leaves in our manure spreader from our house and the creamery office building and  spread them on the upper field. Jeff Cobb's good timing of his daily walk included leaf raking yesterday with me. I had to talk about history books for awhile before he took the rake. After he drove the tractor and spreader around the upper field, I gave him some sprouts. I will remember his schedule. In the spring we will spread manure too and plow under. We also planted winter rye (to keep the leaves from all blowing away) 
6. still good in the field: parsnips, arugula, kale, sprouts, leeks. We have spinach.. but that is our spring crop. 

Having done all of the above, I'm betting I will be alive and well next season.

--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell

11-28-21

IMG_0836.JPG
These were served last night to  2@80+ and two grandaughters@20+
Not only were they all eaten, sometimes simply plucked up after the first take, there was talk too ...maybe they helped.
These sprouts have been exposed to several frosts in the low 20's and that may be the reason they were so good. 
Planted them in the greenhouse July 17 planted them in early august in field, covered them with row cover for the flea beetles. Next year we will put them out the last week of July. 
Robt Cyr began cutting up the fallen willow yesterday, I worked on the 2022 seed order see below as a pdf. The original is in Word which I never learned except by trying to do it myself... I was too old at 60 even to be doing that. One of the columns is "source" and I selected that row and alphabetized just that column and that produced a "vendor file" which I then call in to the seed complanies: Seedway, harris, johnny. 

We also have arugula, kale, cilantro (not so good now) a few brocs, leeks and parsnips. To get those two you have to bring a pick to the field to get through the frost layer. 
Our hydrants are charged so you can get wet as well as wash them before you leave. 
I didn't order the potatoes yet, you might have noticed. There are so many varieties..I would like to know the easiest ones to grow: bad bugs, tomato blight, weeds, very heavy work harvesting by hand. Most potato care was the work of Barbara Van den Berg without whose help there would have not been any . 

--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell

11-22-21

What's going on? 
Brussel sprouts, kale, choy, leeks , arugula, cilantro a few broc's left, parsnips (you dig) they are in the willow field and I left the spade in the row. 
The red and white onion sets planted a month ago are up 6" and more.
Spinach is overwintering .. keep an eye on the elec string fence centered above each row. ,, be sure the string is not touching the spinach or the ground.. it is very effective for keeping out the very hungry deer. 

I have been raking leaves at my  house and our fearing st office building. I throw them into the manure spreader, take it to the upper field and spread. 12 loads so far, very good and very fatiguing. It makes the nap. 

Now I am editing the seed order for 2022 season. I hope to order before the year is out. Many seeds are imported so I worry they will be hard to get this spring. 

The heavy last weeks rains sent a 70 car parking lot of water into the basement of 409 Main st. (just the south end) It happens once every two years: long enough so I forget about it. So on Saturday, Patrick, Bea and I built a diverter island using treated 6x6's, our new battery  electric chainsaw and short rebars. 
To make revisions easy, we are filling in the island with 9 cubic yards of bark mulch (about $225). The chips are made in Amherst at Wagner wood. 

We need to replace our greenhouse cover. Does anyone know of a contractor that can replace our  poly cover? Our 4 year cover was installed in 2006 . I am talking to Bill Orlando of orlando greenhouses near Worcester  and he urges me to find someone more local. 
IMG_0787.JPG
The new flood diverter

IMG_0797.JPG
15 year old poly cover (double for insulation) I was told to mow around the greenhouse to expedite . 

IMG_0785.JPG
Leeks in the deerfield, incase you wonder where they are. In the distance is our lovely 2005 accord, I didn't think the trade in was enough for my wheeled partner, now it is for visitors and fill-ins.  


11-16-21

IMG_0759.JPG 
Example of leaves spread using the manure spreader and the blue 8N tractor

IMG_0765.JPG
The willow tree on the right lost a huge limb last storm... you can't tell

IMG_0774.JPG
Stalking the wild winterberry for wreathmaking. 

I sent a photo of the b sprouts too last time, but I didn't know it. The sprouts are perfect, you have to pick them they are in the upperfield in back of the yellow hut. 
I left two pairs of loppers on the bouquet makers' table: use it to lob the whole stalk don't cherrypick sprouts off of stalk. Take the whole stalk ($4) Their are 72 stalks since that is how many I seed in one flat. The fall brassicas are all seeded in late july in the greenhouse, then planted in the second week of August in the field. 
There were planted with other fall crops where the spring peas had been. One reason I do that is that in mid summer direct seeded plants are easy to loose sight of in weeds that sprout a week before the bassica seeds even know they are planted. The flea beetle really bothers new seedlings too, even those planted in Mid August but by sept, the flea beetles leave the field and go to sleep..Then the cabbage loopers attack and make 1/2 " holes in the big leaves.. but they were easily managed using Neem. I was surprised how easy the was. 
An advantage of being 84 is that each year is a new year.. I don't  remember what I learned. 
Too bad I can't plant in my old 1500 sf office at 409 Main st...it has been easy to rent little offices but a whole wing is not so much , so some of my energy has been distracted... maybe the cause of my forgetting my farm experiences. Who is growing and needs more space? 
Nice to have recognition due to my picture in the paper yesterday..I liked when people said,  without prompting, that they hadn't read the article yet. Pictures are good, no matter what you did.  
Still good at the farm: parsnips, arugula, kale, daikon, cilantro, sprouts and pretty soon new red lettuce.

11-14-21

Big thunderstorm storm, night at 4 pm yesterday. Large willow limb down. Willows have so many trunks, limbs that in a few months, the tree looks fine. 
The deer are leaving their marks and take their bites..we are much more aware of their meals in the fall.
Connie is making wreaths.. we pulled over on rt 9 on the Belchertown line today and picked a few bunches of winterberry branches. Snipping  berry branches with 55 mph cars only a few feet away was not as peaceful as it looks. Luna stayed in, under the hatchback. 
Yesterday, our State Rep Mindy Domb brought the head of MDAR (mass dept of Ag resources)  to tour our farm, it made my retirement. 
The tourism office might want a plimoth plantation WEST  (we are farming as was done 100 years ago)  No fish under the corn seeds (ala 500 yrs ago) at Sunset Farm. 
This time of year we thought about our Christmas wish list: a new well (our well runs out, when we do), our Rimol Greenhouse built in 2006  has a 4 year plastic membrane cover.. it is patchy. How about a new mower?. a flail mower! it leaves the cuttings in place and  doesn't create flying objects, Does anyone have any advice here on flail mowers? What will a flail mower do if the grass is 18" high? .. I will let you know the answers. 

Our chickens are still laying. We have at least one resident rat that people tell me has found the chicken feed very fattening...of course, we feed the chickens a layer mix, so the rat could be making an egg. I put a conventional spring loaded rat trap baited with peanut butter INSIDE one of our havahart traps that we usually set for chuck. 
While stealing the peanut butter, the rat might forget where it is and release the door of the havahart trap. But I am expecting that a squirrel will be what I catch. 
I hope the photos are attached and easily opened.... I will have more photos than farm chores for a couple of months. 
This week 9 manure spreader full loads of our neighborhood leaves were  spread on the upper field. I think I included a picture of the leaf trail on the field. 
In the spring we will plow this under along with manure. My wonderful new PCP, Dr Danielle O' Banion, suggested that raking leaves and loading the spreader may be why my hands have been going numb in my sleep. A spine thing. I don't care, I am not going to use a leaf blower, ever.  

Parsnips are perfect too. If you ask Groucho, I will dig some for you and I can leave them in the yellow cooler. 





--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell

11-8-21

Hard frost came last week so we removed or mowed down all the dead flowers; Many had the 6x6 gid of plastic in the row which was too difficult to remove separately . The fix was to use the "Yes Deere " tractor with a front "grappler" to push together then pick up big bunches and dump them in a pile just off the field.. 
Next spring thee piles of old vines and stalks of strawflowers, zinnias, lisianthus  will be jostled with the same grappler and the plastic mesh will be removed. Not a difficult job. .  The purpose of the 6x6 is to keep the flower stems straight and up. 

Next, we will be filling the manure spreader with leaves from our house and our creamery office building, and from neighbors who are welcome to bring us their leaves and which  we will  spread  on the fields. This year we have a good cover of winter rye grass which I hope will help trap the leaves so they  don't blow off the field before we get some snow. In the spring we plow with our double plow everything under (about 8" down) This is in response to the current science that there are many colonies in the soil that  love to digest this stuff. (akin to the biomes in our stomach). The expectations are that if our vegetables are really well fed they will be able to better resist and repel both their enemies and competitors. To further this Shuguang  has found ( on the internet)  sources of  worms we can add to the mix. I love it ...I didn't say I believe , but it resonates. I just read that in the mid 19 century night soil would also be part of the spread... which ultimately contributed to the elimination of (smells) urban farming. I will set out a circle of flags in the upper field for neighbors' leaves. We will pick them up with the loader and dump them in the spreader. 
No night soil. 

I showed Jason some low maple tree branches that are touching the shed room. I hope to remove them, I will bring the electric chain saw to the farm. 

This week my "to do " includes editing the seedlist. Send me a your recollections of what crops we need more of : watermelon, winter squash, french type beans, 
fennel, eggplants, fall lettuce, carrots, cukes, red beets
Ripe today: dig your own parsnips in the willow field, the spade is there, arugula, cilantro a few broccoli, wreaths  and eggs. That's it. 

Pictures tomorrow

11-4-21

1. It is time to remove the 6x6 plastic netting for the flowers and mow the flowers and eggplants down. Rip off the netting and throw it away. 
2. I tilled up a south section of the peony row ... in the water pump room out is a box of fancy peony roots. Plant them 2' apart in the end of the peony row. Put a flag in at each one so I don't till it by mistake and kill them. 
3. Jason will install more led lights, I made a grouping of what he asked me to get and took a picture. 
Today Jason and I went to harvest farm in whately. We picked up 15 compacted  bales of  Sunshine #1 media and two large bags of vermiculite.. we are all set now for next year media.
We have stored it in the 24 s prospect st basement so it won't be a frozen rock in January when we begin. 

Next, I will check that we have a least a mile of drip tape and biodegradable plastic.  I planted onion sets two weeks ago in the biodegradable plastic, now I wonder if the plastic will be intact next spring to stop the weeds. 
We need our cover replaced on our greenhouse. Does anyone know who can do that? It involves pulling 40' square pieces of plastic over  the metal frame in two layers with a pressurized air space between them. David Lacyzinski of Deerfield has not called back, he built it. 

Connie is making wreaths in the greenhouse. Part of the excitement is finding materials, she is discrete. 
Bob is going to pull out the 10 year remains of our wood pile with his Deere loader so it can be restacked. 
IMG_0734.JPG
IMG_0735.JPG

11-1-21

Our last farmer's market was Saturday. It rained too. 
Since then we have broccoli, kale, arugula , cilantro, cauliflower. choy, radish. I counted 40 broccolis forming.
I am applying for a grant to replace our well and while I am at it I may add a new cover for the greenhouse and a new disc harrows. It is all due in a week. 
I bought two new plug in ceiling lights for the shed. They are on the table by the shed door. One can plug into the other and they both have pull chains. Jason? 
Does anyone have a well driller they  liked? I need a  proposal fast.  
We are now scheduled for a visit from our state rep tomorrow afternoon at 3, Rep Mindy Domb. You are all welcome to come meet her. 
IMG_0721.JPGthe old fluorescents
IMG_0717.JPGIMG_0718.JPG the new LEDs

--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell 

10-29-21

Do today: 
1. Harvest broccoli, cauliflower, cilantro, arugula, kohlrabi, kale for tomorrow's farmer's market.
2. Wash the rhubarb, parsnips and leeks that are in the gray cooler , which I picked last night.
3. Load the yellow van with everything going to the market: onions, flower arrangements, bouquets, wreaths and the above items in #1 and #2.
4. Cherry pick sparingly, our next spring spinach. It is hoped the roots will regenerate leaves. 

Any time now, remove the electric fence from the upperfield. Tomorrow is our last market. After the market I will bring the van to Cody Belden's body shop to fix the side door lock. 
The glass in the silver honda will be replaced today at the farm: it was broken by a falling walnut. 
Bob Saul said he will take a look at our many walnut trees around the fields to see if we have enough to send a viable load to a black walnut timber buyer. 
Bob Saul, who lives in S Amherst is growing hundreds of walnut trees in the valley. (wish I were not so old)
Representative Mindy Domb will visit the farm at 11 am today. While here, I will ask her about a MDAR state grant program that was just extended to Nov 7. Connie and I would like to have a deep well drilled so we don't run out of water in dry spells (didn't happen this year) I will have to get an estimate asap if it is eligible. 
I guess $12,000. It would be helpful to know what the Amity Place well cost. 
Another needed item is a replacement of our greenhouse plastic double roof. ( it was 4 years old about 10 years ago) 
IMG_0711.JPGcollards love cool weather,, also very few looper holes, below is next spring's spinach protected by a single strand of electric twine
Below that , Connie's wreaths. She needs more wreath materials. We have dried flowers we don't have greens,firs, spruces, arbor vitae branches.. bring them asap. 
IMG_0708.JPGIMG_0698.JPG


10-25-21

IMG_0699.JPGIMG_0701.JPGIMG_0704.JPG

Connie is making more wreaths, only two left today. On the right is our broccoli, kale, cauliflower arugula patch. At this spot we grew peas earlier this year. We have been burning to day and Bob cleared with his grappler the steep east slope of the chestnut field. This will expose the wood chucks. Tomorrow I will take some shots of our spinach.... it will be picked some for next Saturday's market. There is nothing pressing to be done. 
I will replace the light fixtures in the sheds with leds, the current fluorescents are done.
The row number signs that are in the red barn have to be put in order and hung from the ceiling. 
The red tiller is a the body shop to have the back flap bent back to utility. Yesterday I found the windshield smashed in the 2005 honda... by a falling walnut. It is covered by insurance but I have to find out where the insurance company wants me to bring it. 


--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell

10-22-21

Friday we harvest and load the stacking black lugs into the yellow van. Parsnips (one full lug), cilantro, arugula, kohlrabi (two lugs), load all the kale that was cut today and is in the yellow cooler, several lugs. About 10 lbs of chestnuts in one lb bags, floral arrangements, baby eggplants, green peppers, snatch the chard the deer  missed. A full lug of sweet potatoes, lug of collards, we will have lugs of broccoli and cauliflower and daikon.
IMG_0688.JPG  They are both posing. The other subject is the new cordless electric  chainsaw and the pile of branches it will cut. 

IMG_0686.JPG at least one wreath a day.
I purchased a 12" electric battery powered Dewalt chainsaw. It runs with the same batteries the drill and the sawzall use. We will use it this weekend to manage the long branches we cut to feed the brushpile fire in the northeast corner of the chestnut field. I have to get approval for the weather each day from the fire dept. We can burn year round for ag fires. That is for farms only. 
If Bob puts the "grappler back on the yesdeere it will go even faster and easier. 


10-21-21

Yesterday, Jason Stevens moved and spread bark mulch with the "yesdeere" in the area just north of the upperfield where we have had erosion ..looks great. 
It is time now to replace the bucket with the grappler so we can burn the dead tree/limb pile in the chestnut field. 

Barbara hoed the spring spinach... wonderful, we will have three 200' rows of "winter Bloomsdale" long standing spinach in April. ..Providing the deer are deterred by the electric wire over each row. I will include a picture in tomorrow's report. 
Bow season for deer is about to begin....there is no way I could lie in wait without falling asleep, especially if I were warm. 

For those less interested in food: Connie is making a wreath a day in the greenhouse. There is room for a helper/duplicator in the greenhouse. 
At $25/ wreath it interests us, at $25/ day, it better. 

1. Pick and bunch in large bunches, cilantro, arugula, kale, sorrel  put the bunches in buckets of water in the yellow cooler for Saturday's market. I will make a sign for Amity St. today.. "KALE. ARUGULA, CILANTRO, BROCCOLI, CAULIFLOWER, ONIONS, SWEET POTATO" I will do it in two signs. 
2. Shuck nuts, please throw away any ugly ones, little ones, ones you wouldn't want to find in a bag. It will  make you feel good.  
3. We will pick broccoli and cauliflower tomorrow so they will be as large as possible, and be fresher too. 

Last year's wreaths
tomorrow I will send you this year's.. 2021 look. 
IMG_6933.JPGIMG_6931.JPGIMG_4337.JPG 



--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cel

10-20-21

We have good broccoli, cauliflower, cilantro, arugula, and kale. Best if you cut your own. They are growing right in front of the yellow cooler hut.
The chestnut picking is over.
Before the weekend, shuck more nuts and leave them in the gray cooler.
1. Wash and trim sweet potatoes that are in the greenhouse.
2. Use the dibbles and plant scallions in the unplanted south end of the new onion row.
3. Brush soil into the holes that the onion sets were planted in. 
4. Harvest the celeriac in row 63 or so. Leave the tops on. 


IMG_0673.JPGArugula

10-19-21

The onions sets are all planted, done in no time by Barbara Van and Jason. 
We picked up two lbs of nuts -- it was the last day for walking around looking at the ground. 

We have a dozen broccoli and dozen cauliflower that are ready to be cut. Cut about 3" of stem too, eat it too. 

I will put up some signs tomorrow. 

Hoe the middle row of spinach in the middle of the row. 

Shuck chestnuts, just do the easy ones. 
 
IMG_0683.JPG

Cauliflower, broccoli , a part of a spinach row what has been expertly hoed/ the next picture shows a portion that will be hoed tomorrow.  Note the hot elec wires above each row.  . This is working so far repelling the deer.

IMG_0679.JPGIMG_0677.JPGIMG_0678.JPG
--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell 

10-18-21

Chestnuts are done. The last ones to fall were big and beautiful. 
IMG_0674.JPGTwo dibbles for planting onion sets. Plant the sets so the tops are about 1/4" below the surface. Be careful not to dibble the dripstrip under the black plastic. I expect to sweep over the top of the plastic soil to cover the planted onion sets. We can do that later. 
I have sold 8lbs of sets so  we have to plant only 2400 this week. I planted 84 so far so that means we only have to plant 2316. 
Hoe the middle of the rows of spinach where the weeds are thick. We will be cultivating them with the farmall cub also so just hoe the 4" next to the spinach. 
We will have some spinach to sell next saturday along with cilantro, arugula, kohlrabi, cauliflower, kale , broccoli, collards and nuts. 
Since no frost, we will have flower bouquet and arrangements, 

The glass in the photo was unexpected. the residue is thick unsweetened cranberry juice concentrate which I add to bland cider and seltzer. I don't know why it is not extremely popular as a drink, however,  I don't have to replace it very often. I plan to switch back and forth with concentrated sour cherry juice. 
I used to feel sleepy after a glass of wine, now, I am (more) awake after my bright juice drink.

Also the maple butcherboard table has been in  the kitchen since '70 --without any sour drinks for many years. 

--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell 

10-17-21

The  onion sets are here. 4000 little onion bulbs.( 20 lbs of bulbs)  They get planted 4" apart in rows and 4 rows across in the single bio plastic row. Set them in holes no deeper than 2" --I have a marked horseshoe stake and will have also ordered two dibbles. The top of the bulb will be no more than an inch below the surface. ( the youtubes say you won't get a bulb if they are planted too deep) 

Some have said it can't be done. Too big a job. I will inquire about using them in the creamed onions dish for  thanksgiving table, in case the "some" are right.  I hope to do them all though. 
Planting is the easy part ;
IMG_0670.JPGwe picked them all. cute.
IMG_0669.JPGall that was ready to be cut , today.
IMG_0668.JPGParsnips picture...they are not easy to pull up. 
for me getting back up is like climbing a set of stairs. 

The parsnips, choy, cilantro, arugula, kale, broccoli, cauliflower are ripe now. 

Chestnuts are kept in the coolers. They are packed in one lb bags.

10-13-21

1. Pick up and shuck chestnuts, shuck all the easy ones in the gray cooler. throw out small nuts and ugly ones always. 
2. Make 50 one lb bags of nuts  using the red net bags. Write $7 on each.
3. Move and spread wood chips to the main entrance area next to the water trough.
4. Wash and trim sweet potato @ $2/lb for the yellow sales cooler. Make price sign. 
5. Bring golf cart loads of chips to the creamery office building to put around the parking lot trees. 
6. Refresh the onion lugs, throw out bad ones and slough off loose layers. 

In the last few days we have had many chestnut harvesters. I think they are climbing the trees to shake down the nuts.. nuts are being taken from 40' high  branches. Just when I don't feel like climbing , I am happy. 
The cash box included two Ben Franklin $100 bills, who seemed to get along with Washington and Hamilton. Someday, we may be making a political statement by the people we keep ....in our wallets.  
Our broccoli in row 16 or so, is starting to make heads. 
IMG_0313.JPG 
Nuts in bloom last july 4.

Choy, kohlrabi, cilantro, kale, arugula, sorrel, daikon, parsnips, hot peppers, are ready for picking.  

--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell

10-12-21

1. Check for nuts on the ground in the chestnut field. Several hundred dollars of nuts were harvested by the Turks over the weekend so we might be all done as for new nuts.
2. Shuck the 8 lugs of nuts in the gray cooler, put ten one lb bags of nuts in the yellow sales cooler jhouse. $7 each / Write that in big letters on the paper label attached to each bag. Keep the yellow cooler stocked now with 8 lbs. 
3. Move wood chips with the yesdeere loader to the winter berry row, this row is at the west side of where we tried to grow corn. Make chips 6" deep at least 2' on each side of the row. 
4. As soon as the onion sets arrive, plant them 4000 asap. They might be here today. (they will be delivered to my house) Instructions include,  1" deep. 
5. Be sure there is a full lug of sweet potatoes in the yellow sales cooler, wash and trim them. 
6. Make the onion lugs attractive by moving them one by one from one lug to another, shucking off loose skins  and throwing away idiosyncratic misfits . Make a beautiful display of onions you like at the yellow sales cooler. 
7. Pick a lug of green peppers if they are there.
8. Pick leeks in row 63. Be gentle so as to not bruise the main trunk of the leek at the base. trim the leaves off "crisply" in one straight line at least 6' above the white base.  Put them in the yellow sales cooler house. 

While at the cape yesterday I saw a sign for GARLIC, I think the cape would be a good place for the english/irish weather loving garlic. But, you have to keep them "clean " cultivated. You have to be there.  If there ever was a good market though..the cape is green, no dried yellow grass, this year.

10-11-20

To do:
1. Pick up nuts.
2. Shuck nuts  that are easy, they are stored in the gray cooler. Key is in the Hussein drawer in the shed.
3. Place wood chips both sides of the winterberry row with the yesdeere.
4. Water seedlings in the greenhouse.
5. Let’s surprise bob by cleaning his yesdeere.
6. Fill golf cart with chips and dump them around the parking lot trees at the creamery office building 150 fearing St
7. Set traps for chucks at row 65 north end and row 55 south end.
8. 20 lbs ..4000 onion sets will be shipped this week. They are to be planted 1” deep no deeper, and 4” apart in the row, three rows to a plastic row.
The van being loaded for market: cilantro, parsnips, okra, hot peppers.
Next year: plant more beans, find out if neem or pyrethrum will control bean beetles.
Plant a second crop after the peas are done.
Plant two adjoining rows of okra, plant a second seeding of carrots.
Plant more squash all kinds cover them as soon as they have germinated.
Plant same amount of leeks..which I thought was way too much…plant them in the chestnut field where the deer and chucks reign.
Plant three rows of potatoes again but spray them once the beetle eggs are laid.
Plant successive seedlings of champion radish.
Plant lettuce seedlings when we plant choy.
What to plant in chestnut field? Items not too bothered by varmints: Leeks, onions, peppers ,hot peppers, eggplant ,basil, maybe potatoes, some tomatoes.

I don’t know where to do corn, if at all. Because of the raccoons.





10-8-21

Last night 'til dark with lights on, the turkish chestnut harvested, dropped, and shucked nuts. They got plenty by climbing the trees and shaking the branches. Who knows how many they left on the ground in the dark, I will find out as soon as I have showered and shaved. Jason got comfortable with the "yesdeere" hauling wood chips from a big pile on Brigham Lane to the blueberry bushes in row 50. Then, I drove it to the gas station and pumped almost 8 gal  diesel fuel. We will also mulch our winterberries in row 81 and out driveways along brigham Lane with the same stuff. When you are running into a pile with the front end loader, happiness is a full bucket : wood chips are the best they fill and flow. So nice to learn a skill again. 
1. Tour the chestnut grove, pick up nuts and also bring back the three extension rods (before you drive over them)
2. Shuck easy shuckers that are stored in the gray cooler put them in lugs, they need air. Bag them in the red net 1 lb bags. Need three full lugs of bagged nuts. Elayne, I like to make a mountain of 1 lb nut bags front and center on a stand table, out of the lugs, just one big exuberant display. And yes they will keep till Christmas in your crisper drawer.  I remember too more than once we have been told that they were forgotten and by spring they had rooted trees ready to plant, in the crisper drawer. I don't know what to expect if you do plant them, since they were sold to us on grafted root stock. See the "Chestnut Hill Nursery " website in Alachua Florida. 
3. Harvest choy and cut vertically into 3 or 4 pieces, cleaned to taste and ready for the bagger folks. Be sure they are stunningly crisp, clean and fresh.. seductive. Do two full lugs of pieces. 
4. Harvest two lugs of arugula and make red rubber-banded bouquets. Do the same with cilantro and sorrel.
5. Hand sprinkle a band of nitrogen fertilizer on one side of each of our three rows of spring spinach. 
IMG_0645.JPG
The broccoli, brussel sprout, cauliflower rows next to the plastic row for onions.

IMG_0651.JPGIMG_0647.JPG 
UM students in forest agriculture class shucking nuts and using a long telescoping pole to knock them down. Later our Turkish customers showed how it is best done: they climbed the trees and shake, rattle and rolled.

10-7-21

The second row of plastic for onion sets was placed last night with Robert Cyr directing and acting. It is not straight.. that was  my independence as I was steering. 
Several lugs of nuts were knocked down and stored . They will be shucked .. and more knocked down today with the help of a 24 student UM  class. 
Today :
1. Restore electric fence wires  in upper and willow fields.
2. Move wood chips using the yesdeere front loader to the winterberry row #81  and row #50 blueberries. The pile at the top of the hill is on Church property. I would like to get it  moved and reseed the grass. Any handwork is done with the mulch forks, we have two or three. 
3. Wash and trim a lug of sweet potatoes put them in the yellow cooler not the gray cooler. 
4. Dig and trim another lug of leeks. Pick the big ones this time. Jason did a lug yesterday but it has mostly sold. They are in row 63 or so. 
5. Any okra left? Pick it. 
6. Pick and bind with red rubber bands 6 Kohlrabi and put inside the yellow cooler with a price: $2.50  each. I looked up the price online. Do not cut off the leaves except for ugly ones. 

IMG_0643.JPG
A chestnut hit me in the face..not something I expected would never happen a few years ago. Shuguang had a tube of anti biotic  in her car for me which worked fast. So wear hats with wide brims when hitting nuts.

IMG_0639.JPGIMG_0631.JPG

The blue casting that carries the rear set of cultivators is broken. Bob Cyr will find a replacement on the web for the Farmall part... next to that are 10 file cabinets I am giving away...I will provide yellow van, you provide labor.
Next stop will be the dump and I will be the labor. I am putting that off. Hoping. 

--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell 

10-6-21

Yesterday Jason and I laid a plastic row in the 40's for the onion sets. The first 80' were truly ugly as I didn't remember that the plastic roll had to be close to the ground. Once that was corrected the rest of the row was unbelievably beautiful. We will have to shovel cover over the edges of the first part. 
We have to do the new row #19 but I worry that the ground will be too soft due to the frequent rain. 
Today: 
1. Pick up chestnuts
2. Water seedlings in the greenhouse
3. Trim the sweet potatoes stored in the greenhouse cut off the squirrel damage
4. Dig -- don't pull-- up leeks from row 63 or so - 
5. Replace the electricity to the spinach  rows. 

Make one lb red net bags of nuts-- I will put a 5 gal pail of good nuts in the cooler, use them. 
Write $7 on each label. Put 4 bags in the yellow cooler. Leave the rest in the gray cooler. 

IMG_0633.JPG
IMG_0634.JPG
Pictures of Jason, cultivating the spring spinach rows yesterday, using the farmall. 


10-5-21

1. Harvest nuts, knock down burs with cracks put all in lugs and into the gray cooler. 
2. Hoe the three spinach rows, just do within 4" of the spinach each side, I will cultivate the aisles and everything else with the farmall cultivator.. I have been waiting for the rain to stop. The farmall might get stuck as well as be difficult to keep shallow enough as the tractor wheels will sink further into the ground. 
3. Weedwack the winter berries down below the corn in the chestnut field. Then place wood chips around the winterberries using the front loader to move the piles of wood chips. 
4. Help me install the mulch layer on the yesdeere tractor. We need two rows of mulch set with tapes before the onion sets arrive. 
5. Make a burn pile about 4' high of branches in the eggplant field. Set at the north end of the rows on bare ground. We will start burning this week. 
6. Install the white latticework panel over the glass at the yellow hut for  wreath display.  
7. Put wood chips around row 50 blueberries too. Use the loader to do that.  

Does anyone want a black two-drawer file cabinet? I have 10 to get rid of from my old life. See picture. I emptied them but have left the pendaflex frame and empty folders in. You can use my van, if local. Come a revolution we may have to go back to paper, manila file folders, id tabs:  will people have the time, or the will, to file? Or better yet will anyone be able to find what they filed? 
IMG_0631.JPG

10- 3-21

Sunday we got the manure spreader on and fertilized two rows 3' side for a plastic mulch, biodegradable of course, these are for onion sets and scallions. 
Monday we will try to lay the plastic.
1. Knock down and pick up chestnuts.
2. Shuck nuts that are in four lugs in the gray cooler.
3. It is supposed to be a misty noreaster week...perfect for a burn of the branches we have accumulated at the northeast corner of the farm. I will get a permit and let you know. 
4. I hope to cultivate the three new spinach rows with the Farmall.
Our stand at the market 1st Saturday, included flowers, eggplants, arugula, cilantro, sweet potato, onions, peppers all kinds, leeks, choy, parsnips, parsley, kohlrabi ,kale, chestnuts.
IMG_0624.JPG
IMG_0614.JPG 
Our spreader above saves so much work. and the kale is doing very well. It was cherry picked for market on Saturday. 

We should have had beets and squashes, beans ... operator (my) error.  Soon we will have new broccoli and cauliflower and a ton of nuts. 

Having left the architecture business, March 2020, it doesn't miss me,  I could have been playing farmer for the past 50 years. Working at Sunset Farm, no one wants to know what I am going to grow next year..they are probably afraid to ask. I liked calling Barry Roberts (our town's developer)  for more manure from his daughter's horse farm... so he knows that I am not planning on retiring from this trade, since the manure is next year's fertilizer. 


10-2-21

A new wide row for plastic has been prepared at row 18 the first row uphill of the peonies. Shuguang rototilled it see the photo attached and I spread a load of good horse manure over it.  This will be a row of 2000 onion sets for harvest next May. 
I have to do another row since we are getting another 2000 red onions sets. 

We will also be picking up chestnuts . We have two lugs full in the gray cooler which are unshucked so we can do that too. 

IMG_0625.JPGIMG_0623.JPGIMG_0619.JPG

The old manure spreader connected to the old 8N ford, a look at the plops on the row and Shuguang rototilling. She is just passed a Baptisia false indigo bush.

10-1-21

Today we knocked down several lugs of chestnuts all from trees 26, 28 and 29. We used the new 24' extension 
pole and I also bought another. I picked up 10 50 lb bags of fertilizer 5-10-10 and 10-10-10 in anticipation of planting 20 lbs of onion sets ... about 4000 plants this fall. We will also seed some scallions at the same time for overwintering. All will be planted thru biodegradable black plastic and irrigated with a drip tape. I set up an account at Nutrien (not t) 
a nation -wide distributor of fertilizer. Mostly so they will know I am tax exempt and I will know what I used for fertilizer last year. 
There was a group of Turkish people at the farm this afternoon . They picked about 30 lbs of chestnuts and will be back next week. After they left more came since they had texted friends about it. I forgot that last year they also harvested collards and I later discovered that they had picked a bushel of broccoli leaves thinking they were collards. 
They did the same this year! The Broccoli will survive but the yield will be reduced. You can see the leaves snapped off.

  IMG_0615.JPG
I was so pleased with the neem oil spray which took care of the cabbage loopers. The leaves looked good enough to eat... so that is what happened. 
IMG_0611.JPG

This is cilantro which will be bunched with red rubber bands for Saturday's market. Cilantro does very well in the fall. 
In addition we have two lugs of leeks, and a lug of big parsnips.
Friday morning we should pick up nuts and knock down any the ripened over night. All nuts shall be shucked and packed in red 1 lb net bags . 
More eggplant is needed as well as more peppers. 
Do a lug of rhubarb too. Pull row 50 rhubarb stalks. 


9-29-21

1. Pick up chestnuts, knock down the burs (husks) that are open, put them in the cooler . Don't bother opening them further now.
2. Harvest sweet potatoes, put them in the greenhouse. 

October 7 next Thursday at 2:30 UM will bring 24  AG students  to help harvest nuts. They will also shuck the nuts in the cooler. Right now we have one full lug of nuts. 

I also ordered 20 lbs of  red and white onion sets to be planted right away and harvested next April. We will have to set a row of plastic down for that. We will have 1000 onion sets of red and white. 

9-28-21

1. Harvest all the sweet potatoes. Store them in the greenhouse
2. Knock down ripe nuts and pick up fallen nuts , we have about ten lbs so far. use a wrench to open and extend the plastic tree pruning handle, Use it to hit branches so the nuts fall. 
3. I will order some onion sets for planting this fall. We will harvest them in April, I hope. We will plan them next to the b spouts about row 19.

Glad to see the spinach has been electro protected. I moved the one baptisia bush out the aisle at row 20, next year all the aisles will be clear for weekly cultivation. 
The chestnuts are beginning to open Two trees have dropped nuts 29 and about #20 at the southeast corner of the growing field next to the white eggplants. 
A chicken question answer: How long will a hen sit to lay an egg?  They lay one a day, but the time laying varies from day to day bird to bird 15 min to 2 hours. 

9-27-21

1. Walk the chestnut grove, now down nuts that have "cracks in their husks" at trees 28 and 29
2. Run the brush hog under the grass to the east of the hydrant. At trees 28, 29 use the little mower and cut down the grass under any tree that needs it. 
3. Weed wack under the electric fence wires on the west side of the fenced rows. 
4. Pull the drip tape out of the eggplant rows.
5. New idea for the spinach rows: set a single strand of elec wire over the center of each row: Set them about 6" above the ground and nothing else. I think this should take care of the wood chucks and deer. Why didn't I think of this before? 
7. Use hand loppers to trim remaining shrubs and vines at the base of the willows. 

Questions I need to answer for our egg customers: How long does it take an egg to get laid?  Should I wait? 
What time do they do they lay them? 
How many eggs a day now? 
how old are they? How long will they lay ? 
How will I replace them? 
I will research this as soon as it rains during the day. (and I am not napping)


9-24-21

1. Dig a lug of parsnips.
2. Dig at least three more lugs of sweet potatoes, "Beauregard." It has been 100 days since they were planted.
3. Go to chestnut tree 29 (at the northeast corner of the field) and shake nuts down pick up the still loaded husks as well as any that fell out. That is always the first tree to drop nuts. Put the nuts in a lug and put it in the gray cooler right away. 

IMG_0585.JPG
IMG_0583.JPG
IMG_0580.JPG
IMG_0578.JPG

Yesterday harrowing the entire farm was completed. Now we must get the sweet potatoes out before frost.  The sweet potatoes are vertical in the ground and connected by a clothesline-thick root. Many are more than 2" in diameter. We will have a ton. We cooked one tonight - I loved it because it was not sweet. 
They will get sweeter by sitting on a shelf in 80 degree temp and hi humidity for two weeks. That can be done by putting lugs of them under the benches in the greenhouse. But I prefer them fresh out of the ground. There was no mention online of the nibbling they endure from squirrels, since it is vertically growing it is just a few bites off the end, easily chopped off and still too much left to eat in one meal. 

--
Bill Gillen
Sunset Farm : 20 Brigham Lane , Amherst ,Ma    01002
413-374 5193  bill's cell 

9-23-21

IMG_0574.JPGIMG_0575.JPGIMG_0573.JPG
Photo of an aisle with rye seeds scattered on it before and after being disk harrowed, The disk harrow weighs 700 lbs, you can change it's aggressiveness by changing the angles of the disks (the pitch) and you can also shorten the top hitch to make the front set of  scalloped disks dig in more. Unlike other tools, this tool does not get tangled up by the roots and trash. I disked to plant the rye seeds. 
The green row on the left side of the center photo has parsnips. We will dig some for this weekend's market. Many will be dug next April.They will be more than 12"  long. I don't want to sound like I know all about cooking, but soups always started with parsnips in Gertrude's (Connie's Mom) recipes. 
The diskhrrow  squeals and creaks ( like the BMT's sea beach express as it changed direction after crossing the manhattan bridge: I remember covering my ears)  My harrows might be about the same age at the subway train too) I don't cover my ears at the farm. Time to force in some grease: you think? 

1. We will dig and clean up 2 full lugs of leeks. They are very good this year. 
2. The last of the yukon gold was dug, Several people remarked that Yukon Gold is the best... none was French. 
3. Tomorrow we continue harrowing that will take all day. The entire cultivated area of the farm was spread with winter rye on Wednesday and the seeds have to be worked a bit into the soil to grow. It took 5, 56 lb bags (bushels) of rye. The rye was grown in Canada. 
4. Spray the broccoli, kale with its second neem oil cover to stop the cabbage looper.
5. Do a real dig at the row 62 sweet potatoes. Let's see if we got any the size of a bratwurst, enough with the finger sizes. Dig a 12" trench about 12" wide too deep across a row ..about 4' The vines look healthy and in places dense enough to shade out the weeds. 
6. I will go to tractor supply for a load of chicken feed. I call ahead, tell them I am Sunset Farm and tax exempt and ...84, when I get there they are ready to load me up. I get about 10 bags and keep them in my basement out of the squirrel zone and in the dry. A bag lasts a couple of weeks. We have 13 mature egg laying hens.. 
7. In anticipation of heavy rain possible on Friday ... let's cut a full lug of arugula and cilantro. In another week we will have new Kale.

9-22-21

1. We are trimming and storing in the gray cooler all the onions. Throw imperfects out. In the greenhouse, we will stack one set of benches on top of the other at the west side so as to make more room to walk around. After the space is cleaned and vacc'd let the wreaths begin.  
2. Pick at least three full lugs of perfect large peppers big ones put them under cover in the gray cooler too.. they have to be harvested before the bugs do it for us. 
3. I picked up 5 bushels of rye seed yesterday ($20 per 56 lb bushel) at Nutrien in South Deerfield. We will use our new white drop spreader to apply it to all the fields. Then we will run the disc harrows over it to embed the seeds... they must be disked or no sprout. In the spring we will spread the manure and plow. 
4. The photo below is the best way to display our joi choy, do not put in plastic bags. Do put the red rubber bands around to keep branches from breaking. Start harvesting tomorrow and put them in the cooler. Harvest a lug today for our yellow cooler. Put them inside with a price $4/ head (they are much larger now maybe too large) and might need to be cut into two bundles. Display them as shown. We will pack 3 lugs full for the market.
5. When Connie comes down this am, work with her on Gomphrena cutting! Everyone stop what you are doing and help her gather the gomphrena for bouquets. Work with her because Connie has very specific standards as to how to do it and what to cut. 
6. Shuguang saves the chicken feed bags for use by people who would like to take some manure ($3). They are next to the sign file in the phyllis shed. They will also be good for chestnuts in their prickly husks (those will be $3/ lb for husks with nuts in them). Loose nuts out of the husk are $5/lb and if we pick and husk them they are at the stand for $7/ lb. in one lb bags. Chickenfeed bags with festive graphics filled with manure or chestnuts make perfect presents too. 

I am sending this to our Maine-born neighbor Charles Heffernan so he can forward it to  grandchild Hannah who is farming in Maine. 

We are looking for info about flail mowers, would a flail type do a better job on our dead rows and bordering meadows? Any comments?


9-21-21

1. Clean and trim onions, throw away the soft and or ugly ones. Littles ones are good. Put them in shallow lugs in the gray cooler
2. Pick several lugs of big sweet peppers. Put them under cover in the gray cooler too
3. Continue to weedwack the blueberries and rhubarb in row 50. Cut out the weeds and vines that have grown into the blueberries.
5. Clean greenhouse and bring down the wreath making supplies and equipment from the gray house basement

We need to clean up and organize the buckets. I would like to try out using the pressure washer on them.
Once the grappler is replaced with the bucket loader on the "yesdeere", we will be placing wood chips under the blueberries and on the main farm drives off of Brigham Lane and  we will start moving the manure. We also spread leaves using the manure spreader :maybe it would be better to spread the leaves, then the manure on top of them or should we try spreading the manure now, disking and sowing rye for the winter? The rye won't be well established before the snow but will have sprouted. 
Spreading the manure in the spring is also possible as is the likelihood of getting stuck in the mud. With the current, above normal rain, getting stuck in the spring is a fact. What to do?? Maybe we should leave our large pile of manure undisturbed till we are plowing in the spring and apply it just before we plow. We don't plow till it is dry enough for the soil to be worked ...I like that idea. 
So My plan now will be to spread rye seeds today and disk/harrow in what is seeded. Then in a month spread leaves, in April spread  the manure and plow. The willow field and deerfield  can be plowed earliest, then the upperfield, then, in May, plow the wet chestnut field. The wet chestnut field is great in dry seasons and for late planted crops like corn, beans, eggplant, pepper provided we can keep the deer and the woodchucks away.

 

11-7-16

We moved..or mostly Bob moved, the coop to the winter home. Issac stretched 6x6 netting over the whole yard to keep the chickens in and the hawks out.

I will put a clip board in the corn barrel so we will know if the chickens have been fed that day.

I have to search my basement for the heat girdle for the 5gal water pail.

The big red tractor is back and is fully operational now. Bob will see if he can pull our plow thru a row of the old vineyard..or do we have to hire a company to pull the big woody roots..sumacs, multi flora rose and hawthorns...as we did last spring.

We will rake leaves later this week after more leaves are down. Now that we have done the edges and found the fallen branches, the leaf raking should be easier.

We need to read up on peonies. Connie would like to make a new peony row, shall we dig up what we have or buy now roots do we do that now or next spring...stay tuned for the answers to the farm's important questions.

We don't need the refrigerator in the shed...do you know someone who wants one? Anyone?

Bill Gillen. 413 374 5193 cell

11-3-16

Please take yellow van and a few empty tubs and leaf rake to 401 main st where my office is.

A tenant has raked leaves in the back and made about ten piles!

Fill the tubs, dump them in the woods at the south edge of the parking lot

Pull weeds from the pachysandra bed along sunset Ave at the creamery office building.

The tall Woody weeds should be obvious..not a big job.

When issac comes ...usually Friday afternoon, he should drag any remaining vineyard
Poles to the pole pile. If Noelia is there at that time, work with issac doing that.

We are not going to the market anymore .

Bill

Bill Gillen. 413 374 5193 cell

10-31-16

1. If several people are present, hitch the vineyard posts to the gray tractor and drag them three and four at a time to the post pile near the greenhouse.

2. Apply the second sowing of rye over the willow field, unless it has already been done twice.

3. Rake leaves at the fearing st side of the creamery, make piles that can be loaded into the manure spreader and spread on the willow field.

4. Bring the chestnut husks to the compost pile.

Bill Gillen. 413 374 5193 cell


10-27-16

1. The deer ate spinach yesterday, if there is enough left to cut for Saturday's market do it today, before they take the rest.

2. Shuck the nuts in the cooler, put them in the refrigerator  "A" in our basement.

3. Spread rye again at the sunset fields.

4. Rake leaves at the front of 136 sunset, do not rake leaves out of the pachysandra ground cover but do all the rest, I will load them and spread them  at the farm at 5pm.

Bill Gillen. 413 374 5193 cell

10-26-16

1. Feed the chickens.

2. Take the lugs of dahlias and shovel over them wood chips from our big pile then put the lugs with the dahlias and chips in the 24 SP st basement. Stack them up.

3. Then rake the leaves off the grass in our back yard. Make a couple of piles . Also rake the leaves from our north side driveway and make a couple of big piles, one in front of our garage. If the manure spreader is free at noon, I will show you how we fill it and spread the leaves in the field. Put the piles where we can get to them with the tractor both at the curved front driveway and below the house, but don't block the road.

10-24-16

1. Put corn in the feed barrel at the chicken coop. Feed some to them.

2. Learn how to use the new seed spreader and spread rye seed on all the sunset fields. Learn how to use the spreader and how to limit the spread and the density of the seeding. Practice in the middle of the field till you learn, do not get seeds where we don't want them or we will be pulling rye weeds all next summer! We have a open bag of seeds in the yellow van and two more bags in the basement. That is more than enough for everything at sunset ave.

3. Do not let seeds fall on the perennial flower rows by the shed, the spinach rows, the rhubarb or the strawberries. You can spread them right over the top of the chard, kale, brussels sprouts and sorrel.

4. Put the two tubs of dahlia roots that are next to the big farm scale, in our basement, they will be killed if there is a frost tonight. Tomorrow we will process them for winter storage.

5. The internet instructions say dry out the bulbs for a week before storing them. So, do not put them in our basement, put them in black lugs as complete bunches, don't separate the bulbs, and put them in the greenhouse. In a week later, we will fill the airspaces in the lugs with wood chips and store the stacked lugs at 24 s property st where they won't freeze.

Bill Gillen. 413 374 5193 cell
 

10-17-16

1. Walk thru the chestnut field first, as early as possible, and pick up nuts. As soon as we have some winds there will be a lot to pickup.

Do number 8 next!!

2. Pick up ALL wood stakes, stack them in the pile on the WEST side of the greenhouse. Pull off the strong 6x6 plastic mesh and roll it on a tomato stake. This is true for the flower rows left in the willow field. Most of the 6x6 is biodegradable. That stuff we will mow over, but the strong stuff can't be mowed and may be reused.

3. We are leaving the flowers that are in bloom, in case they put out new blooms this warm week.

4. We have the rye seed, I hope to receive the new seed spreader this week so we can plant rye.. when we do, do not get any seed on the strawberries, or the perennial rows.
Or the rhubarb rows.

5. Remove plastic in the willow field and the swimming pool field, using the red tractor. Put the plastic in tubs destined for a dumpster.

6. Open nut husks in the gray cooler as they dry, open only the easy ones, throw away very small husks, that will have a pea sized nut, these are garbage. Put the open nuts in a bucket and put in the silver refrigerator A in our basement.
Nuts in the husk are for sale at the farm: $2.50 per pound.

7. Use the bolt cutter, remove the wires from the next row of the old vineyard.
Cut the wires at each pole so they are about 20' long. Roll up the wires and put cable tie on them to keep them tight. We must get every wire out .

8. In the trunk of the blue car there is a bag of calcium nitrate which we use once a year to fertilize the spinach. Use it to side dress our three spinach rows, do not put it directly on the spinach, put it next to it. Use a hammer to break up any clumps in the bag.
Wear thin plastic gloves .

9. Mow down the peppers and eggplant at univ drive.
Mow down the okra too.

10. Connie hopes to make arrangements in hollowed out pumpkins this weekend.(if we have flowers)

Bill Gillen. 413 374 5193 cell

10-13-16

1. Walk around the trees and pick up nuts.

2. Cut and clean up celosia ...the brain flowers... put in the gray cooler on a shelf. Pick at least six buckets of them.

3. Stack all the wood stakes next to the greenhouse on the west side..be extremely neat in doing so. Stack full size ones, in its stack at the southeast corner of the greenhouse.

4. Pick long thin Asian eggplants at univ drive put in yellow cooler..we are getting a deep frost this weekend so this is the last pick.

5. Pick hot peppers put in yellow cooler.

6. Pick the quart or so of tomatillos from the willow field, then mow the field and lift the plastic, we will bring plastic to the dumpsters on Saturday.

7. I will get rye seed for sunset farm today.

8. Fill six tubs with manure from the old pile at university drive and dump them at the 401 main st office vegetable patch. It should be light and easy to handle it is two years old. You will need to use the yellow van.

10-12-16

1. Tour the chestnut field and pick up drops first thing today, before the squirrels get there.

2. Shuck easy nuts that are in the cooler, just open the burs that have opened a bit and return the closed ones to the cooler. Hide the nuts on the high shelf in the yellow cooler. We need to save them for the market.

3. Put the gladiola bulbs that you stored, somewhere in the shed, in my basement,  we cannot allow them to freeze, put them in lugs. Use the blue car if the van is gone.

4. I will set two 4x4's on the grass next to the west side of the greenhouse retaining wall for the short stakes, stack them neatly there and cover them with a tarp. All stakes will be stacked neatly and separated . The long perfect ones will be where they are stacked now and all the short ones will be lined up and stacked around the corner of the greenhouse. Both will be covered.

5. Remove the six by six netting everywhere. Put it in the barrel for the dumpster.

6. Dump a lug of dried corn into the feed barrel at the chicken yard so we can use it to feed our eggless chickens..molt time.

7. Did all the eggplant get picked? Pick the hot peppers too.

8. I will take the yellow van to be inspected at Boyden and Perron today.

10-11-16

1. Walk under every tree and pick up nuts. Urgent.

2. Pull up ALL wood stakes and all the tomato twine.

3. Try pulling out the 6x6 mesh from the flower rows, if it is very brittle we will have to leave it and mow it.

4. Pick eggplants unless they were touched by frost, if so they are garbage.

5. Put all nuts that are in the gray cooler into lugs, get them out of the tubs where they won't dry.

10-10-16

1. Knock down and pick up nuts.

2. Put nuts in black lugs and store in the gray cooler, we will shuck them on Friday before the next market.

3. Remove nuts in tubs in the cooler and put them in black lugs.

4. Remove the plastic netting from flower rows, we are not saving it.

5. Make wreaths.

6. See the youtube video of sunset farm posted by John Riley.

7. We have three lugs of green tomatoes, Josh said they are good for half sour pickles. They are in the gray cooler. Make some and we can offer some samples at next week's market.

10-6-16

Same as yesterday:

Do walk under the trees and pick up nuts, put them in black lugs in the gray cooler.

Spray the b sprouts and broccoli.

Pick up plastic.

Take down wires from the old vineyard, coils the wires, then remove the poles.

Bill

10-5-16

1. Several tubs of chestnuts were harvested by Dylan and Vince yesterday. They are in the gray cooler.

2. In order to promote drying so the burs will shrink and open, we need them to be transferred into black lugs in the cooler asap.

3. Put plastic piles from the former tomato rows, into tubs and put into the yellow van to be brought to the dumpster at the creamery office building. That dumpster is emptied tomorrow morning so that would be ideal to get that done today.

4. It is time to spray the b sprouts and broccoli with spinosad ..capt jack.. to kill the cabbage caterpillars. Two tablespoons per gallon. This is an organic approved spray.

10-4-16

1. Harvest chestnuts, put them in the gray cooler.

2. Remove all stakes from the farm, don't break the long ones.

3. Where Bob has mowed, use the red tractor to remove the black plastic. Make a pile every 20' of so. Put them in tubs, put tubs in the yellow van and head for the dumpster at the creamery. That dumpster is emptied Thursday mornings early.

9-29-16

1. Collect nuts and burs with nuts every day. Do not worry about burs that are still tightly closed, just put them in a lug in the gray cooler, they will open as they dry out.

2. Pick up all short posts and long posts.

3. We need arborvitae trims for wreath making. If you see any we can trim let me know. The trims will keep for months.

4. Dig some parsnips for Saturday, wash them tomorrow, they are bright white for awhile after washing, begging to be chosen.

5. I have ordered 8 large new burlap bags from amazon for hanging more of the corm in the greenhouse: $ 3.50 each bag, they sell them for young people jumping races. There should be a source for used ones. I should have them tomorrow.

6. Connie is now making fall wreaths in the greenhouse. Bring up tubs of gomphrenia, they are down near the new rhubarb row. Cut an armful at a time, put them outside next to the door to the greenhouse.

9-27-16

1.  Clean the greenhouse, vacuum it. You can leave the empty trays under the benches in the middle of the greenhouse. All around the perimeter we need to be able to see under the benches to find mouse or squirrels or chipmunk or rat holes. We need to set traps now too. 

2. Pull out, by hand, the sticks supporting the flower grids. Bring them to the greenhouse.

3. Pick up the hoses at the hydrants and put them in the van, roll them up individually, tie them so they don't unroll, put them in the gray house basement. Leave the hose in the greenhouse, leave the hose at the shed.

4. Collect all the black pressure reducers that Connie the the drip tape to the hose, put them in a box with irrigation stuff in the middle shed. 

9-26-16

1. Stack as neatly as can be done, the perfect tomato stakes that are in the trailer.

2. Be sure the stand is supplied.

3. Clean and vacuum the greenhouse, clean up that bench that has loose cobs on it.

4. Wash the pumpkins, go to univ drive and pick up perfect fully colored orange pumpkins. There should be only two more big lugs of them. Maybe more. Since pumpkins have been found to absorb bad things in your body like sugar and fat.
Eat your pumpkins now and look better at Thanksgiving, who knew we had planted the perfect crop. 

4 feed the red stemmed Russian kale to the chickens , they love it.

9-23-16

1. Harvest any tomatoes, keep the San Marzano  plums separate ..they are the still green vines just east of the new rhubarb row.

2. Pick okra, favor the little ones about 3 inches long they are prime. Try taking a bite of a big one and you will see why.

3. Bok choy in the broccoli row if the willow field?

4. Be sure the squash going to market is clean, we need three lugs of butternut, all of the butter cup and two lugs of pumpkins loaded either on the trailer or in the yellow van.

5. I think the beans have been picked. 

6. Really do need two full lugs of carrots, perfect carrots. Three lugs of leeks pack them today in the yellow van

7. Pick a couple of pails of perfect celosia flowers put in water , put in gray cooler

8. Pick all the bell peppers that are big..should have two or three lugs, pack them to go in the van.

9. Has celery grown after the rain? Ready for market?

10. Remove string/twine from the tomato rows put it in the trash barrels immediately.

11. Is there a full lug of potatoes, washed? Separate baby potatoes from bigger ones.
Baby potatoes will sell for more. Pack them  in clamshells like cherry tomatoes.
Pack them to go in lugs in the yellow van

Tomorrow we have Umass volunteers they will harvest and shuck the corn, pull tomato stakes, stack them very neatly behind the greenhouse.


9-22-16

Harvest carrots, put in the gray cooler after washing.

Harvest the plum tomatoes: San Marzano ones that are still growing next to the new rhubarb. 

Remove string from all tomatoes.

Remove tomato stakes, do it using the stake extractor tool, do not wiggle them free they will break.

Harvest beans in the middle of the upper field.

Weed the new basil plants in the upper field.

9-19-16

The UMASS volunteers are coming NEXT WEEK.

1. Using the big hoe left in the field at the spinach pull soil away from the spinach rows so when we cultivate with a machine, soil does not fall back over the spinach and smother it. Pull the soil to the middle of the aisle.
I did one row.

2. Clean up the lugs of onions in the greenhouse, throw away soft ones that are rotting.
See how I did it, look at the stack of lugs in the scale shed. Put lugs of cleaned onions in the shed, we will bag them later. We need to get them out of the bright light and to remove the rotting ones asap! I say bag them later so we have another chance at that time to cull bad ones before they are bagged and sold.

3. Clean the butternut squash under the blackboard, put them in lugs in the scale shed.

4. We don't need the refrigerator, does anyone want it?

5. Weed the Swiss chard, it is embarrassing, "the chard is right over there, behind the tall weeds."

6. Go to university drive, pick up the buttercup squash. It is the best squash. Use clippers to leave a handle on it.

7. I will have the UM volunteers harvest pumpkins, corn, they will make long lines and pass the pumpkin and corn  one to another and not have to walk a heavy lug over the weedy, tangled undergrowth.

8. Run the big mower over the carrot rows at the willow field to make harvesting easier.

9. Harvest plum tomatoes from the row just uphill, east, of the new rhubarb row.

Thank you for weeding the new rhubarb row, it is a beautiful job.

10. Drive the rotten onions and their dead skins to the compost pile, in my next life I will not be a garbage man, no matter that it is satisfying.


9-15-16

1. Weed  the new broccoli row in the middle of the willow field. Cover the broccoli from the deer.

2. We will install an electric wire around that row this weekend. This should be a big crop in October.  Leave the wire, little white posts in the field today and I will install it tonight.

3. I am ready to forget about the beans, they will be killed in two weeks by the cold, so don't cover them.

4. Pick roma tomatoes, put in the coolers, we are racing the rot, pick the perfect tomatoes left before they get spots on them.

5. Pick green peppers, put them out at the stand.

6. Pick the acorn squash, put them in the scale shed.

7. Are there already two full lugs of carrots in the cooler?

9-14-16

1. Pick eggplant, peppers, three lugs of eggplant all kinds. Keep the farm stand display full, put them in the gray cooler with paper over them.

2. Wash potatoes for this weeks market put them back in the gray cooler to dry.

3. Pick up acorn squash in the willow field.

4. Gather the butternut squash into a pile in the willow field.

5. Pick tomatoes globular and plum. Put in the cooler.

6. Pick a lug of leeks trim them, put them in the gray cooler.

9-13-16

1. Put the onions into lugs and stack them in the greenhouse. If you feel a soft one while doing this , throw it away. Clear the benches for drying corn which will be picked by umass volunteers on Saturday morning. They will also process and pack the onions into onion bags. About six pounds per bag. $5 bags.

2. Dig carrots... Ok to keep carrots 8 or more inches. Stack them in lugs in the grey cooler
Be extremely picky about only perfect ones. No crooked ones, no spots on them, no ugly side growths, no worm damage at the top...really really perfect ones only. Just leave the rejects in the field. Dig them up with a form or shovel don't attempt to pull them up.

3. Pick more eggplants, all kinds. Keep a lug full on the stand, put full lugs in the yellow cooler with a cover so they don't dry out.

4. Are the new broccolis in the middle of the willow field ok? Are they being eaten by deer? If so, be  sure to cover them. The fall broccoli is the best.

5. Water the spinach, also pull the top 1/2" of soil away from the spinach rows about 6 inches.
This will kill the weed seedlings that are about to sprout. It will also level the tiny hill either side of the furrow so that when the aisle is cultivated mechanically, the seedlings will not be buried and killed. Use a wide hoe so it goes faster. This is very easy to do, go down one side and back the other. You can do it at walking speed.

6. Pick perfect tomatoes.

9-12-16

1. Pick tomatoes. Plum type and globular. Put all but one lug of each in the yellow cooler.

2. Make five bags of mixed onions. The six pound $5 bags.

3. Make sure there are prices on signs and they are taped in place.

4. Find the part of the carrot row that has big carrots. Dig the all up and then pick out and bring back to clean only perfect big carrots approximately 12" long. Smooth blemish free sides. We don't leave the small carrots growing to get bigger, dig the row up completely till you have a full lug. Wash them trim them and put them in the grey cooler with a towel or paper cover so they don't shrivel.

5. Put the onions on the benches in the greenhouse into lugs and stack them up. This weekend we will have UMASS student volunteers clean them up and bag them.

6. We will also have the students pick up butternut squash and buttercup squash this weekend.

7. They will also harvest all of the corn and shuck it. I will get 30 50 LB net bags so we can hang the corn to dry in the greenhouse again.

9-9-16

1. One lug each of clean butternut , butternut, pumpkins ..put in yellow van now.

2. Two lugs of eggplants, I picked them last night and they are in the van already, they are clean..leave them in the van.

3. Two lugs of leeks, put in van today you have to pull them.

4. One lug of onions in bags...( they are next to the refrigerator) one lug of large onions and one lug of loose onions, none of them to be cleaned more than 4 seconds each. Put them in the yellow van now.

5. Lugs of perfect tomatoes all kinds . At least two lugs of globular, plums and yellows.
Put them in the yellow van now.

6. Pick pint clamshells of small cherry and yellow tomatoes, fill a lug put them in the yellow van now.

7. I looked at the green peppers last night, there are not enough to pick and pack.

8. Do pick a dozen pint clamshells of hot peppers a few of each kind.

9. At five I will pick more corn hopefully six lugs and I will put it into the yellow van.

10. Bok choy, fill a lug put in the gray cooler.

11. Potatoes, put in white bags then put the bags in lugs. ..do two lugs one red one white.
Only perfect potatoes in each, throw away scarred and ugly ones DO NOT WASH THEM.

12. Chard and kale a lug of each. Put in the cooler

9-8-16

1. Wash carrots for the market have two full lugs of 12" ones.

2. Harvest cantaloupe and watermelons from UNIV drive.

3. Pick a lug each of tomatoes for the yellow hut stand.

4. Pick a lug of young corn.

5. Pick a lug of butternut squash.

6. Pick okra if it wasnt done yesterday.

7. Bag onions, don't bag the really big ones we will sell them individually.


Yesterday Bob and I measured water in the well . It was 6.5 feet deep (about 400 gallons)
The well is 25 ft deep.The drip tapes emit about a gallon per row per hour..so I will have to check that, they seem to do more than that.

9-7-16

1. If there is corn in the cooler put it out on the trailer, if not go get two lugs of corn at the south edge of the field, the new corn, pick thin ears..we had some last night, it was sweet and perfect.

2. Pick red globular tomatoes for the stand.

3. Do some exploratory carrot digging both in the upper field near the rhubarb and in the willow field. I am hoping you will find 12" long carrots..no more 6" ones wanted. Dig two lugs of perfect large carrots. Put them in the gray cooler with towel.

4. Pick okra.

5. I turned the water pump off so the well can get recharged, I will turn it on again today.
Give chickens water, give them corn and tomatoes.

6. Pick up squash, put in the scale shed in lugs.

Let me know if you run out of work

Bill

9-6-16

1. Move irrigation to new rows.

2. See if we can irrigate the new basil and broccoli in the upper field.

3. Pick globular red and yellow tomatoes, drive the van down the row to the large red follow my tracks.

4. I think I left the Yukon gold potatoes on the wash stand. Go ahead and wash them, discard all the damaged spuds , put them on the counter of the yellow cooler.

5 .Pick three lugs of plum tomatoes.

6. Pick up ripe butternut squash at the willow tree put them in the scale shed next to the refrigerator with the others.

7. You can always clean up onions in the greenhouse. Pull the tops off and slough off the outer loose skins, a few seconds each, nothing like the exquisite peeling we did a week ago. Put them in red onion bags with at least five lbs in each. Red onion bags are on a bench in the greenhouse. Stuff the bags at the table in front of the yellow hut so you can easily weigh them.
Big white ones stay loose at $1 apiece. Stack the onion filled lugs in the scale shed too next to the squash.

9-2-16
1. Are two lugs of carrots harvested? Only perfect ones.

2. Pick a tub of rhubarb.

3. Harvest two lugs of washed, rubber banded bok choy. Remove all ugly leaves, cut stem off.
Put them with towel in the grey cooler over night. In a separate lug give connie bok choy for tonight's dinner.

4. Separate large globular tomatoes from smaller lemon sized ones. Given the chance people do not select little ones...just look at our sales counter at the yellow shed.

5. We must bring at least 6 lugs of globular red and yellow PERFECT tomatoes to the market.
Be sure they are clean, put them in the yellow van IN THE SHADE over night.

6. Two lugs each of kale and Swiss chard.

7. Turn drip tape on for a spinach row that needs it. FYI I will order more spinach seed in case the three rows we planted don't germinate..it was too hot and according to google they won't germinate in hot soil.

8. We need two lugs of leeks. Cut the roots off, i will show you how I want the tops trimmed.
Call me when you are ready for me to show you.

9. Of course pick up ripe muskmelon and watermelons, including yellow watermelons.
Do not let them roll around in the van , they will split for sure. Put them in the yellow van
Overnight. Be sure they are clean before packing them.

10. Bring at least two five gallon buckets of perfect plum tomatoes, put them in the van

11. Pick four perfect lugs of silver queen look now for younger ears that have smaller kernels.
And they must be completely filled out. That means no missing rows of corn inside the husk
You can tell that by feel when picking, corn should be hard not soft, soft means there are rows missing. Put the corn in the gray cooler immediately after picking...keep them cold!
8-23-16
1. Have all the onions been pulled? Pull them up and lay them on the black plastic to dry.do this before the stems dry out and die,much much easier to do.

2. Pick ripe melons, pick four more watermelons get them from the UNIV drive farm do not allow them to roll around, they will break!

3. Pick three lugs of corn for the yellow hut table. DO THIS FIRST.

4. Pick cukes and small zukes.

5. Prepare the potato field for spinach planting.

6. Weed the parsnip and other crops under the white cover in the willow field.

7. Pick okra.

8-19-16
1. Pick and load in the van: perfect tomatoes two rows high in black lugs. No little ones either
Not in the gray lugs since they were squished last week.

2. Put onions in net bags, clip the tops completely off now, cut off roots and ugly leaves wash them so they are not dusty or caked with mud. Find net bags that will hold about three lbs for $5. Also make a full lug of yellow and another of reds for selling by the quart (one LB)
Load them all.

3. Cucumbers, perfect zukes one lug of each,  load them.

4.Muskmelons load them all.

5. String beans, wash the lug I picked last night, throw away any black spots, load them
Load also any haricot vert you can find check the willow field under the cover. Load them.

6. Spaghetti squash two lugs clean them and load them.

7. Eggplant and peppers load them all. Pick more classic eggplants at UNIV drive.

8. Harvest kale, chard, carrots, wash them and put them in the gray cooler a full lug of each.

9. Nice work on the perennial bed, carry on.

10. Continue to harvest all onions that are big enough...size of an orange..do not trim just dump them and spread them out on the greenhouse benches to dry.we will do those a little at a time till they are all harvested. Drive the full lugs of onions to the greenhouse.

11. Any cute cabbage, cute means you have stripped all the dark leaves and cut the stem flush, we need four of them for the market.

12. Pick three TUBS of corn after five and load it.we will sell it 3/$1 $4/doz $20 the whole tub


8-18-16
1. Using a rototiller, please rototill the perennial rows. To make the tiller go put the right hand  gear shift into gear will show you how to do that. Then please hoe twenty feet of row every day till the rows are clean of weeds . There are three rows.

2. Please check the products at the stand, throw away all old stuff immediately. Throw away the little tomatoes that are left when customers just select large ones inside and outside the shed.
Do not bring in from the field little globular tomatoes they are worthless.

3 Be sure there are at least ten perfect cantaloupes on display and a full lug of corn
Nobody likes to select the dregs, the items that others have passed over.

4. We need beans both kinds

5 Pick another lug of onions to dry in the greenhouse .

6 My colleague has the farm car, his car is being fixed.
7 Somebody make a start at weeding the new strawberry row. Do a bit every day.
8 Be sure to pick cantaloupe every day both farms.

8-17-16
1. Rototill, hoe and weed at least 20' of a perennial row in front of the shed today.
2. Pick two lugs of corn..you have to look and select the fat ones. Strip one and wrap it in Saran wrap so customers will see that it is white "silver queen" corn. Put one lug on the counter outside the yellow hut. Make room by consolidating  the two lugs of onions into one.
3. Pick ripe muskmelons. I saw some gleaming at me as I drove by the willow field last night.
4. Pick a lug a day at least, of onions. Just pull them up and dump them on a bench in the greenhouse where they will dry. Don't trim them.
5. Weed the new strawberry row. Very important!
6. I will make signs for silver queen corn.
7. Pick some perfect globular tomatoes for the yellow hut, I will make a sign directing people to the tomato rows so they can pick their own.
8. The okra needs to be picked in the upper field.
9. Cultivate all the aisles with the red tractor.

8-16-16
1. Hoe the kale at UNIV drive.
2. Hoe and rototill the perennial rows in the upper field near the shed.
3. Pick a lug of red onions.
4. Keep the yellow shed inside and outside clean and stocked. Put prices on everything.
5. Keep all displays full, no half empty displays.
6. Dig a lug of carrots for the yellow shed display.
7. Pick perfect globular tomatoes.

8-15-16
1. Pick okra at UNIV drive.
2. While there, hoe the kale, weed it.
3. Pick a lug of plum (Italian) tomatoes, we will use that to sell a full five gallon bucket $20.
4. The squirrels have won, put ALL the tomatoes in the yellow shed.
5. Check the globular tomatoes, display them in lugs one tomato deep all looking up, do not keep any with spots, cracks holes they must be PERFECT. The small gray lugs are too shallow and they have crushed some, so use bigger lugs.
6. We didn't sell many zukes last Saturday, so don't bother picking them, do pick cucumbers.
Discard the big ones.
7 Try repairing the covering over the Brussels sprouts. The deer eat from top down.
So be sure the covering covers the tops of the plants. Look at the ground and see if there are fresh deer prints, let me know.

8. Pick a lug of red onions, they don't have to be refrigerated.
9. Pick ripe muskmelons, they must be refrigerated.
10. Encourage all customers to pick their own. If they take a pail ask them to return it.

8-12-16
Finished harvesting the potatoes and picking up the associated plastic mulch. We wonder if there are more potatoes under the surface since we relied on the red cultivator to surface them. Bob thinks the single bottom plow set about 8" deep should be tried next.

1. I will be there about 830 am, today, to help unload the several full lugs from the van. We will store the potatoes, unwashed in the gray cooler, we will clean them one lug at a time as they sell.
We have several hundred lbs of potatoes.

2. Take out the plywood floor of the van and sweep it out. So it will be ready to be loaded for the market tonight and tomorrow morning.

3. Harvest watermelon. The yellow melon and large red ones at UNIV drive. Put them in lugs so they don't roll around.

4. I don't know what has not been done: cilantro planted? Repair deer covers over the Brussels sprouts?

5. Harvest one full lug of perfect carrots trimmed to a 6" stem , no imperfections, however Phyllis
Has a special feeling for the "doubles" so leave a few cute ones in .

6. We have some damaged potatoes, bring a lug to the market to sell as IRREG. Connie notes there is a growing market for them, you can even order IRREG seeds now, (every carrot will be imperfect but loved) those that don't sell will be boiled up ..preferably at the farm over a wood fire...and fed to the chickens.

7. Put on the blackboard what has been harvested and the number of lugs.

8. Pick tomatoes...all of them..let me know by five if there are more to be picked and which kind.
Don't mix the plums with the globes with the cherries. Plums and cherry tomatoes can be put in a big lug, they don't crush. Globes are put in small gray lugs one deep. Only perfect ones again. Ugly tomatoes can be fed directly to the IRREG chickens.

9. Pick cukes, eggplants, peppers ,spaghetti squash... no "winter" squash ...they don't sell in summer in fact they make some people, who haven't vacationed yet, mad.

10. Chard and kale a full trimmed, washed lug of each.

11. I will pick basil Saturday morning at 8:30.

12. Pick onions, be sure all the white ones have been harvested, leave them at the wash stand for the frolicking volunteers to process tonight at five: 1" stems sharply chopped, skinned a bit and very clean.

13. If there are beets get them.

14. Pick all gladiolas that have a bloom. Put them in a tub with no more than 3" of water
Otherwise I can't lift it.

8-11-16
Tonight more potatoes will be harvested..I will remember to order more white bags too. 
I recommend that anyone who desires a long uninterrupted sleep come help harvest the next row tonight

1. Plant cilantro seeds in the plastic between the basil planting in the upper field.
2. Harvest ripe muskmelon at the willow field and the 100 UNIV drive field. Don't let them roll around in the van.
3. Pick peppers put in the gray cooler
4. When you pick tomatoes use the small gray lugs one row high, do pick tomatoes.
5. Check the yellow cooler that every thing is looking good, is clean, attractively displayed and priced. Remove old stuff , put it in the compost pile. 
6. Don't spend time today washing potatoes, put them overnight as is in the gray cooler,
The volunteer group will wash them tomorrow night. As well as carrots. 

We harvest eggplants tomorrow to give them a other day to grow!


2015

Chestnuts. Planted by Bill and Mark Gillen in 1985 at Sunset Farm, 20 Brigham Lane Amherst, MA

 

Dunstun variety purchased from Chestnut Hill Farm in Alachua Florida. 92% American chestnut 8% an Asian variety with resistance to the blight.

 

We have several hundred lbs, all shucked and stored at 38 degrees.  

 

See attached photos

 

$4/ lb you pick up. If we ups them to you the shipping cost will be additional.

 

Call Bill’s cell  or email for further instructions/ information.

 

Bill Gillen

Gillen Collaborative Architects

409 Main St

Amherst , Ma 01002

413 253 2529  cell 413 374 5193

Bill@sunsetfarm.us