Cloverfield

We finally took to naming our fields, at least for our own purposes, since the “Field A” and “Field C” really didn’t capture the wildly different characteristics of the different plots of land we’re growing vegetables on. Our main field, a little more than 1/2 an acre, is Cloverfield, so named for an obvious reason – you can see for yourself in the photo. We’ve just tilled narrow beds into a field of lush red clover, using our trusty BCS walk-behind tiller, leaving a comfy mat of green to walk on throughout the season. It does a lot to keep the soil in place, support soil life, fix lots of nitrogen for our plants (for those of you unfamiliar with the nitrogen cycle, most plants can’t just use the nitrogen in the air. Legumes like clover “fix” nitrogen by converting the nitrogen in the air to a plant-usable form thanks to a neat symbiotic relationship with bacteria that live on their roots), and also serve as a windbreak – which is great since we’ve had some extraordinarily windy days lately!

The plants are still somewhat small in this picture, but left to right is garlic, lettuce, more lettuce, melons, cucumbers, and an assortment of crops in the bed with two lines of black drip irrigation (oregano, fennel, leeks, beans, celeriac). There’s more in there that’s since sprouted and growing fast – spinach, beans and beets, to name a few. This picture isn’t that old, but most things are at least 3 times as big with the warm weather we’ve been having. Our hoophouse is full with cucumbers, tomatoes, basil and ginger (yes, ginger).

Our other major field is The Black Lagoon (as in The Creature From…), or just Lagoon for short. It’s got rich, nearly black soil, tends to stay wetter for longer due to the high amount of clay and the fact that it sits lower in the topography. This long dry spell has actually been really helpful for this one. We’ll be putting most of our tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cabbage and related crops there. Just today we seeded some radishes between beds of Caraflex cabbage and a couple different heirloom tomatoes. We’re still thinking about names for our big cover crop field (which has yet to grow anything since we haven’t had a drop of rain in weeks!), our walk-in cooler, hoophouse and greenhouse. We had a renewed interest in thinking about that after a visit to Blue Moon Community Farm in Stoughton, run by our good friend and fellow CSA farmer Kristen Kordet. Her 3 cleverly-named hoophouses are Mel, Floyd and Mr. Smartypants. Nothing like some good names to give the farm a little more character – if you’ve got some good ideas, let us know!

–Dennis 5/24/12