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In the past we have written about what we do on a daily basis when working at CCF. Our daily tasks change with the changing seasons. The spring is dedicated to garden preparation and planting while the summer is devoted to our CSA shares. The fall and winter are focused on clean up, organization and preparation for next year's season. This post is focusing on the fall farm work that we have been doing since the beginning of October.
The farm work will kick off by checking the chicken coops for any fresh eggs. We will also check the amount of food and water that our hens have during this time. We do these checks fairly routinely throughout the day to ensure that our hens always have plenty of food and water, and to make sure the eggs are not sitting on the nests for a long period of time (before being collected).
Since the start of last week we have been setting up a self-service farm stand to sell some of our extra produce. We have been selling green beans, snap peas, tomatoes, potatoes, parsley, basil, onions, squash, lettuce and kale. This farm stand takes a bit of prep every day as we like to keep these veggies fresh and organized in the coolers that they are stored in throughout the day. The farm stand will be open this week! It is at the end of the driveway at 407 Hardscrabble Rd.
After getting our morning tasks completed we start on the fall clean-up process. Usually we will work on pulling up certain plants that have gone to seed (like our Purple Opal Basil or our Kale). Then we may transition into harvesting plants that are still producing, like our lettuce and Yellow Carrots. We will then wash these crops and put them in storage in our fridges.
Another part of these tasks has to do with trying to limit our food waste. We still have so many producing crops left, which means that we must come up with ways to either sell or donate our extra veggies. We are hosting a bonus share tomorrow at CCF to allow North Creek shareholders to buy a veggie share. We are also hoping to donate some of this food to local food pantries. We like to give “farm seconds” to our hens as they love to peck through food, and the additional nutrients provided are great for the hens.
Even though our concentrations are on cleaning and organization during this time of year, we are also planting and still trying to grow different plants in our greenhouses. For instance, we will be planting onions this week in Greenhouse 4. We have kohlrabi, kale, tomatoes, basil, spring onions and beets still growing in our greenhouses at the moment. Some of these crops will be overwintered, such as the kale and onions, while the others we hope to harvest later in the fall or early winter.
In addition to continued harvests and garden clean outs, a lot of time is spent preparing field and soil beds for the next growing season. A large amount of the plants we pull from the garden after each growing season are composted. For any given compost pile, we typically work it (frequent turning over) for about a year and a half. After the plant material has decomposed, it is returned to one of our gardens and worked back into the soil, resupplying its nutrient content . Another early October task is to cover crop our gardens that have been cleaned out. This entails planting winter rye grass, a popular fast growing cover crop that helps protect the soil and provides essential nutrients when tilled into the soil the following spring.
Lastly, a lot of our efforts this time of the year are spent on basic cleaning tasks, sanitation, and organization of items for the winter months. We are working to clean out the storage fridge, sanitize shareholder delivery coolers, wash picking containers, and organize all of our gardening implements.
At the end of the day around 4/5 pm we will check for eggs again and tie up any loose ends. The work day will start again the next morning, so it's good to a lot some time to wind down and rest after a long, tiring day of farming.
If you have any questions about what a fall work day looks like here at CCF leave a comment below, send us an IG message or shoot us a quick email! We would love to connect with you and answer any of your questions.
Thanks for the read!