Thursday, July 22, 2010


The walnuts are doing nicely. 3 of the 5 trees seem to have thicker foliage and more nuts on them. We should be harvesting them in late September or early October. Then we'll have a shelling party!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sunflower progress

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The sunflowers are growing so fast! They are almost 5 1/2 feet now. Some of them are starting to show flower buds. We abandoned the idea of putting netting up over them. When we sat down and thought about it we realized just how difficult it would be. A friend recommended using reflective streamers on poles to deter birds. We still have a little time before we need anti-bird countermeasures in place!

Pinto bean progress

The pinto beans are doing even worse than the yelloweye beans, unfortunately. They are almost all very tiny, and have slug damage as well. We are not sure we will be able to take a crop of pinto beans off the field at all. Again, the late planting, lack of water, and low pH are all negatively affecting the beans. The weeds are a problem. Yet another case for acquiring a tine cultivator for next season.

Yelloweye bean progress

The yelloweye beans are doing fairly poorly. We would have like to plant them at least 4-6 weeks earlier, but were unable to get on the fields due to muddy conditions. They almost all look small and underdeveloped. The few spots where they look okay are clusters of plants. They seem to do better when planted closer. The planter we used made it very difficult to control planting rates. We would have liked to plant at around double the seeding rate we used, which was 40-50 pounds per acre. This field would also have benefited from tine cultivation. The weeds are pretty bad in much of the field, with annual ryegrass as the main problem.

"Naked" oats progress

The "naked" or hull-less oats are also doing extremely well. We planted them about 2 weeks after the cayuse oats, so they are not quite as far along, but they look great. Weed pressure is almost nonexistent in both fields. We are excited about this crop as there is huge potential for naked oats.

Cayuse oats progress

The cayuse oats are doing fantastic. They came up extremely quickly. They seem to tolerate slightly more marginal ground very well. This field isn't particularly wet, but the other field we planted cayuse in is very wet, and they came up very thick. The weeds don't seem too bad at all, in fact they are almost nonexistent in both fields.

Soft white wheat progress

The soft white wheat is almost ready to harvest. In about 2 more weeks we should be threshing it. This field looks outstanding. The wheat is chest-high and very thick. The broadleaf weeds are a problem in the soft white wheat, but we have just started upgrading our cleaning facility to handle wheat very efficiently, so cleaning out the weeds after harvest shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Hard red wheat progress

The hard red wheat has started to dry out. It looks pretty good in most of the fields. This field had a touch of stripe rust that doesn't seem to have done too much damage. The broadleaf weeds are a problem in this field, but in almost all the other hard red wheat fields the only weed problem is annual ryegrass.

Flax progress

The flax is doing very well. This field has recently dropped its blooms, and the seed heads are developing quickly. We have been very pleased with the flax results. Next year we will probably do more than the 45 acres we planted this year. We were disappointed that the seed stock we used was contaminated with mustard seed. We hand-weeded this whole field.

Garbanzo bean progress

The garbanzos seem to be doing fairly well in the field near our warehouse. They have been getting watered regularly and are starting to form pods. The weeds have been a constant battle, as you can see. Next year we would like to have a tine cultivator so we can mechanically weed. All of the weed control has been done by hand. A losing battle, in the long run. We would have liked to plant the garbanzos at least a month earlier. The top right photo is of a garbanzo from another field that has no water. No water, plus low pH, means very poor results. 2 or 3 acres of garbanzos are like this.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Harvest season is here!

Last week we began the summer harvest. We started cutting the grass last week, and started combining last Monday. The annual ryegrass is first, then the fescue, then winter wheat, then the oats and spring wheat, and finally the flax, beans, and sunflowers. I'll post photos as we go, along with yield figures.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Flax in bloom

The flax has begun to fully bloom. It looks beautiful with all the flowers open. The field in the photos has been hand-weeded. The seed we got from California had some mustard in it. We paid a guy to clean up the field. Broadleaf weeds don't seem to like flax fields very much. All of our flax fields are pretty clean, except for the mustard, and one field which has wild radish come up every year.