I’d like to start by thanking all of those who came to help plant garlic the other week. Thank you! We planted over 6,000 cloves of garlic into over 2,500 feet of bed space. We finished in about two hours and then enjoyed a soup lunch by a campfire. Since then, Kerry has been covering each bed with a thick layer of leaves. In addition to cleaning up the fields and covering the garlic with leaves, now is the time of year to fix and repair things before the weather gets too cold.

GM Andrade Landscaping in Marlborough has been dropping off truck loads of leaves at Stearns for over 10 years and they are happy to help each season. They know to only bring us loads with few pine needles (of course some always make it in) as pine needles can lower the pH of the soil, making it too acidic. While fresh pine needles have a higher level of acidic tannins, they do become more neutral as they break down and won’t drastically impact the soil’s pH levels of the soil.

 We noticed last year that the wood on the west facing wall of our propagation greenhouse was beginning to show signs of water damage and rot and this past season, several holes appeared. We knew it was time to repair the wall before we start seeding in the greenhouse next February.  A couple of longtime friends and volunteers have already removed the damaged wood and replaced it with plastic. This solution will work well for a couple reasons: the plastic won’t be at risk of the same water damage as before AND more light will shine into the greenhouse during the late afternoon hours.

Another large project that’s on our minds is to clean up the edge of the farm, where we store our tractor implements. As many of you know, Japanese knotweed is an extremely invasive weed that has been encroaching on our fields (as well as your homes?). While it isn’t harmful to humans, it does outcompete other plants trying to grow in the same area. The knotweed has become a real nuisance, as it has now grown past the treeline, into our farm roads and even onto some of the fields. To start, we plan to move all the equipment that sits along the east side of the farm, mow down the dead stalks and cover the ground with landscape fabric before placing the equipment back where it was. This won’t completely stop the knotweed from popping up in the fields, but it will slow it down significantly.

As much as I’d love to take some time off right now, I’ve learned over the years that it is always worth it to keep working, cleaning and fixing until the first snowfall. At that point, there is little to do when you can’t see the ground any more. There will be plenty of time to relax soon – but I know come springtime, I will be thankful for the work I put in now!

Until next time,