Unpaid Field Hand: Mystery Crop Update

Posted by James Eisenstein on 09/06, 2011 at 01:55 PM

Photo Credit James Eisenstein.

I suspect that my faithful followers have been distracted from their routine activities wondering how the various “name this crop” vegetables are doing. Fear not! I have a few updates for you.

Let’s start with mystery crop #3: a pepper field inundated with weeds growing right next to the plants struggling for sun, water, and nutrients. The “after” picture with weeds removed revealed a beautiful field with smiling pepper plants. Problems solved, of course, as the picture of this same field taken on August 11th clearly shows.

Photo Credit James Eisenstein.

Wait, you say, the weeds are as big as ever. Yes, food fans, they were. It turns out weeds grow – and faster than most crops. What you see are the weeds that grew up between the rows of peppers, which are almost as pernicious as those growing cheek by jowl with the plants. Three hours with a lawn mower operated by an unpaid field hand, and the field is restored to its former glory.

If you are beginning to conclude that farmers do nothing but gripe and complain and practice being gloomy, well, that might not be far from the truth. But not always. Sometimes things go well and they are happy (at least until they decide something could have been done better). Readers with the keenest memory will remember my first post, which asked you to identify the asparagus crop.

Photo Credit James Eisenstein.

It, too, needed a thorough weeding, and as the last picture showed, it got it. But this time, the weeds did not grow back because the asparagus plants were big enough to shade out the re-growth of (most) weeds.

And contrary to what you might think, Murphy’s Law (which must have been enacted to describe the farmer’s fate) is not always enforced. What happened to those raspberry fields? I expressed the hope that we would actually get a crop, that nothing would go terribly wrong. And so it has come to pass. We ended up picking about 20 half pints every other day.

Photo Credit James Eisenstein.

If you come early to the Boalsburg Farmers Market (Tuesdays at 2pm at the PA Military Museum) or the North Atherton Market (Saturdays at 10am in the Home Depot parking lot), you can see these crops in all their delicious glory. While supplies last, of course.

Tags: fieldhand | farm |

{name} Author: James Eisenstein

Bio: Unpaid Field Hand at Jade Family Farm | Former Penn State Professor

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