Archive for the ‘Farm Stuff’ Category

Family Farming, Planting Veggies, Planning Corn Mazes, Tending Grapes, Marketing etc. etc.

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009
Grandpa Bakan Mowing

Grandpa Bakan Mowing

We try and put the “Family” in family farm all we can, why??? Because MY Dad and brother work for FREE and they think it is Fun!! My father-in-law Kay provides the farm with most of the equipment we need and we are working on buying the land from him. On my side of the family my brother and Dad come down and help too.

When people first told me I needed to start a blog I thought what in the heck I am going say often enough that is interesting? Will I have the time, do I have content for 2 to 3 posts a week? Well right now we have so much going on “down on the farm” I am having trouble getting the story told.

Right now we are sort of in “Ag. 101” mode its seems. Different work at the winery and vineyard and farm comes at different times. Currently we are heavy into the planting mode at the farm with light work in the wine department. We are going to bottle tomorrow so I will have some news on how that goes.

This past weekend was real busy, the winery was packed Saturday night and we were busy in the fields too. I shot some video of the Fret Daddies playing and some other shots too hope to get them up soon so you can see that side of our Family Farm, market and winery!

The following video clip is about four minutes and shows my brother Tim doing some work in the vineyard.

From Our fields to your table

Friday, May 1st, 2009

Why is she just showing me just one?

Why is she just showing me just one?

Asparagus first harvest

Asparagus first harvest

At the top of the page you can see my lovely wife Michelle bundling our fresh from the field Asparagus. I asked her to smile for the camera and she insisted on displaying just one of the spears?

Right next to where the gang was planting onions I spotted our Asparagus. They told me the other day it was ready to cut. You need to stay after it and not let it go to seed if you want to keep it going. It takes Asparagus a few years to really get going and this is it’s second year in the ground and our first harvest.

Did you know that has been cultivated for thousands of years and it was first domesticated by the Macedonians about 200 B.C. Check out the following link to learn more than you ever wanted to know about it.

Todd our wine maker cut some fresh this morning and we are serving it as a special in the winery this weekend. And NO we are not going to make an Asparagus wine!

Soil Erosion and Cover Crops and What we do.

Friday, May 1st, 2009

Galen Weisant plowing down winter cover crop

Galen Weisant plowing down winter cover crop

Plowing down a "green manure" cover cropAt Maize Valley we do all we can to help keep our soil, well our soil. That means we don’t want it in the water or the air. One thing we do is to plant cover crops such as winter rye. We plant that anywhere from late September to early November. The rye helps keep the soil “covered” and helps to reduce both wind and water erosion. Another cool thing it does is build organic matter in the soil and the roots help to keep the soil loose and “airey”. We have also found it helps with weed control.

We try and cover all the fields we can in the fall but especially the ones that are goin to have a fresh marketed vegtable crop growing in them. Some of the rye we also bale in late spring if we are not needing to get the field into production until later in the season. That rye usually ends up in my awesome “Straw Crawl” in the fall for our fall harvest festivals and activities.

We are not a “hug a tree” farm but rather a sustainable agricultural production location that does a diverse array of things. When I say sustain I mean we try and sustain our families first by just doing common sense stuff that preserves our most valuable resource the land. The Vaughan family has been making a living with the land in Marlboro township since the 1800’s and I hope to not drop the ball if ya know what I mean. So we take care of it and use modern technology and old school common sense to make a living with it not off of it.

Quick drive-by video of plow being lifted at the end of the field.

Buds are breaking! Weeds a shaking! & A View from the Tractor Seat.

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009
Sea of Yellow

Sea of Yellow

LaCrescent wine grape buds are breaking

LaCrescent wine grape buds are breaking

They said it was supposed to rain today so I got out early and started mowing in the vineyards. I needed to chop up some of the wood they cut off during pruning and get a head start on the grass too. The front vineyard photo has a good view of the buds on the LaCrescent breaking and starting to show some color. This is good and bad, its good they survived the winter so well, its bad if they all get out here too early and we have a late killing frost. This variety is a hearty variety so it usually does well we just always worry about any fruit with too many emerged buds too early.

Our older vines are in the back. We never seeded grass in this block and it shows.

More than wine and grapes are getting planted at Maize Valley!

Monday, April 27th, 2009
Kay Planting Sweet Corn

Kay Planting Sweet Corn

Here comes the sun!! WOW what a couple of days of awesome weather eh!! Looks like rain on and off this week so now is the time we are getting a lot of different things done on the farm. Purning grapes, pruning apple trees, plowing working ground and planting all at the same time.

This early sweet corn is a bit of a gamble because it is prone to frost if we get hit in mid to late May like we often do. But we have to roll the dice because if we miss it this High organic black muck soil produces some awesome sweet corn. Plus it can really accumulate heat units rapidly compared to our high ground soils and really move the crop along to early maturity and have great flavor and high quality.

See how much rain we get but we hope to get out and finish up “unhilling” and uncovering the graft unions on some on our last vineyard field block later this week.

Todd “Z” winemaker in the vineyard

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

Todd getting our vines ready to Rock and Roll

Todd getting our vines ready to Rock and Roll

Hey check it out Todd our winemaker is almost done with our spring grape pruning. Actually Todd has been great doing almost all of the field work this spring. I killed the weeds, he knocked down the hard work of cutting the wood! I actually shot a bit of video with him working with a little of the how-to’s but it did not want to load so I hope to have that up next week.

Basically what Todd is doing is cutting back some of last years growth and getting ready for this years blooms. We waited a bit longer this year to do some of this work because it got so darn cold last year we were not sure how much “die back” we had so we waited till closer to bud break, now we hope they slow down because we are not out of the woods yet for a frost ane we don’t need those tender little buds hanging out without a coat on!!

Stay tuned for the video,

Later

FunTSAR

Rich Top soil and High ground too, plus some wine info…. WOW

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

Galen's boys picking up rocks behing my house

Galen's boys picking up rocks behing my house

Freshly plowed ground ready for sweet corn seed

Freshly plowed ground ready for sweet corn seed

As you see we are getting ready to plant, Kay my father-in-law has been busy with Galen and the crews getting ready to start putting some seeds in the ground.

We do no-till, minimum tillage, and conventional farm techniques at Maize Valley. For the early vegtable crops we go pretty much conventional or the “old School” plowing and working the ground. We do that because that helps to warm the soil up and dry it out and that is really important to us early in the season. We go to farmers’ markets and for our own market our season is so short we have to try and get a crop to market as soon as possible.

We do plant “winter cover crops” such as winter rye as much as we can till it gets too late in the fall. They help hold the soil in place over the winter then we either let them grow up and bale the straw, or we plow them under as a “green manure” to add organic matter back to the soil. But you can’t let the rye get too big where you want to plant sweet corn because as the rye gets bigger it releases a chemical into the soil that is harmful to sweet corn! So when you hear about “chemicals” always get the rest of the story as a famous person used to say, mother nature has some too!

I also have a neat link in here I got off of twitter about the Ohio wine history, be sure to check it out.http://www.thesecondglass.com/features/they-make-wine-there-ohio

Kay and the boys planting veggie seeds, Local Matters!

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

I am looking for things to do without going out into the cold yet, yea I am being whimpy but hey isn’t it supposed to be getting warmer out?

It’s cloudy and cool out today but it is time to start getting some more veggie seeds going in the greenhouse. Kay my wife’s Dad (that would be my father-in-law) has the Weisant boys helping him plant seeds in the greenhouse. Galen Weisant has worked with us for over 20 years and is a huge part of us getting all the work done on the farm. His boys help out to and this is just one way by growing local that we can help to provide jobs for kids in our area. When we really need a job done we put Galen on it!