Ok admit it, you are now interested! This week we are taking a look at the impact of the birds and the bees found on the farm! There are good guys and bad guys here on the farm.
First let’s look at the bad guys…
The old saying goes, “plant enough for animals to have their portion of the crop!” We fence for deer and have made a deterrent fence for rabbits and squirrels, As much as we love to look at the song birds that come to sit in the trees and sing to us, we know that their song is a call to the birdie lunch room advertising all the seeds just planted. When you come to visit the farm you will see “pie pans” and old bells hanging on the fences. These metal objects, through sounds and light reflection, keep most birds away from the seeds. Crows are a bit more forward so they pose our biggest threat. Just a couple of crows could wipe out the entire strawberry crop, so we have made framed cages with bird netting to protect the tender blooms and baby buds. Our Strawberries are 100% organic, which is very hard to find! There are buds that are beginning to really grow, so hopefully we will have some in the next couple of weeks, if we get warm sunny weather.
One bird species however, is a delight; emerald hummingbirds! They are attracted to the sunflowers we plant as a shade crop for some vegetables. They are now interested in the seeds, just the nectar from the flowers in the field. They can help a little with pollination as well. That leads us to the good guys.
Our good friends however are the honey bees! We have been blessed to have an abundance of wild honey bees, as well as other types of bees (like bumblebees and mason bees, often called solitary bees) which served us well last year as our pollinators. This year we are upping the ante by adding our own honey bees. Three hives. We have also increased wildflower plantings to insure they will have lots of food to gather. Of course other pollinator friends are flies ( who would things flies could be useful after all?) and butterflies.
Harry and I are excited to work with our beekeeping mentor, Paul to start our hives. Paul specializes in understanding organic honey production methods. We are thrilled to learn from him and hopefully we will have our very own honey this fall! How sweet it is!
This week we managed to get a little done in between the rainy days and the time needed to dry out the fields.
We have “set” our growing plastic and irrigation lines. We use plastic ”mulch” for different reasons. One, it helps keep weeds at bay. Second, it keeps the moisture from the irrigation in the ground longer. Lastly, the white top side works as a reflective property for the plants, giving them more light for photosynthesis.
Also, lettuces have been sown, 800 tomato plants are in the ground, the drainage ditches have been repaired, the barn cleaned out, and more seeds are started. We hope to get cracking on the herb garden, but the wet weather has made laying the brick paths all but impossible.
I know we have lots to do to be ready for our ‘Open House” on the first market day of the season, May 14, but I know we will be ready to show off the farm!
We are also pleased to announce a partnership with the TJ Martell foundation for our first dinner in the field. Our Tennessee meets Tuscany dinner will benefit the Nashville chapter of the foundation. It will be a special night on June 26th! More info soon to follow!
Thanks for your support and interest. Until next time, keep dishing the dirt ya’ll.