Manor Moments

Trailside Organic Farm – July 2022 Update

July 2022

Written by Katie Landis, Assistant Farm Manager

It’s feeling like summer on the farm! In addition to planting and harvesting, the summer months are all about maintenance. We’ve been weeding while the weeds are small and manageable. Shortly, the veggie plants will be big enough that they’ll block sunlight from reaching the soil surface and new weeds won’t be able to germinate. We also gave our potato plants their first “hilling.” Using this procedure, soil is mounded up around the stems of the potato plants as they grow to give the newly forming potatoes room to get bigger under the soil surface. The potatoes will get one or two more hillings as they grow taller in the coming weeks.

The cherry tomatoes in the hoop house have been trellised up to support them as they grow. We have hung twine from the beam that runs along the top of the hoop house, and as the plants get taller small plastic tomato clips will hold the stems close to the twine, keeping them upright. The cherry tomato plants are growing about six inches a week, and we’ve spotted dozens of baby tomatoes! The cherry tomatoes, which are indeterminate, get pruned by pinching off the suckers (the new stems that emerge at base of every leaf). Pinching off these suckers so that the plants only have one main stem, keeps the plants healthier and happier, providing more airflow around the plants so that they’re less likely to get diseased.

In contrast, the field tomatoes have been trellised using a method called the Florida Weave. In each row of tomatoes, we drove a stake into the soil every eight feet. Then we ran a line of twine between the plants weaving in and out of each plant and wrapping the twine around each stake. At the end, we turned around and headed back up the row, weaving the twine the opposite way so that each plant is sandwiched between both strings. These tomatoes will get a new line of twine supporting them every time they grow another six inches—which will probably be about once a week! The field tomatoes are mostly determinate plants so they don’t get the vigorous pruning that the cherry tomatoes receive. However, we do remove the lower leaves from each plant so that soil splash from rainfall doesn’t have a chance to land on them and spread disease. Our peppers, eggplants, and cucumbers are getting trellised using the Florida Weave as well.

In the coming weeks, we expect to harvest more lettuce, herbs, scallions, flowers and cherry tomatoes. Keep a look out for an announcement about the next Farmer’s Market, and be sure to stop by the salad bar in the Freeman Dining Room to enjoy some of our freshly harvested lettuce and herbs!