Last Friday Roberto prepared some wonderful beds, which Jose and the crew planted to lettuce, onions, cauliflower and romanesco on Saturday. We also sowed seeds of peas and fava beans directly into the soil. A crazy busy planting day. The rain on Sunday was just perfect to help germinate the seeds and settle in the plants. They both love rain at this time of the year, as the soil is warm and rain is just so much better than irrigation water. Our irrigation water comes from a very good clean source, Lake Berryessa. It comes out of a pipe at the bottom of the dam, so it is very cold. Rainfall just makes the plants happy. I see it every year. They all seem to double in size after the first good rain.
Agustin and I spent some time on Monday checking that all our chicks, pullets roosters, and layers are getting the right amount of feed appropriate for the their needs. It is a lot more complicated now with birds of many different ages and needs. Each time the feed truck arrives they leave with a check for around $5,000! We need to get this right, so I am working on a spreadsheet to keep us on track.
Walking through the citrus trees some of the fruit, like these Navels, are starting to color up. The color transformation is stimulated by cold nights, not when the orange is ready. If you go to the tropics, all ripe oranges are green as it does not get cold enough. Our chemical farming friends in the past have used a herbicide to color up oranges that are not ‘green enough’. Now, I am told, they use ethylene which is the same gas used to ripen bananas and food service green tomatoes. We will start picking the navels in the new year. In December we will pick the first mandarins. Our citrus trees cannot produce enough fruit for all the harvest shares in the winter, so we are helped by Cassi and Nacho at Twin Girls Farm in Fresno. They are certified organic and pack most of their fruit for ‘Purity’. This is why you sometimes see that label on fruit in your box.