By Gary Pahl
The harvest this fall is at a rapid pace with the nice dry weather we are having. The pumpkin crop is very nice in this part of the country, but out east is another story. So far we have sent three semi loads of pumpkins out to the Boston area with more to go. The northeast generally pulls pumpkins from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York but due to the dry weather this past summer their crop is limited in quantity and size. The winter squash is mostly harvested and put in coolers or stored from the field in sheds, we will continue to market squash well into November through the grocery store chains, restaurants and school lunch programs. Cabbage is still being harvested and will continue into early November so if you haven’t made your sauerkraut there is still hope. We finished up with sweet corn this past week which is a sure sign of winter approaching but we are still harvesting peppers for approximately one more week. This past summer was a good year for peppers, with limited amount of disease pressure and demand being fairly strong. As many of you know a lot of our peppers go to Chipotle restaurants in the five state areas and this year we also marketed a fair share of them to Subway restaurants…nothing like getting home grown peppers in your favorite restaurants.
The fall harvest time frame provides us with the opportunity to reflect on what went right this past year and what we should do different next spring. By this time we have our rotation on what we will plant in those fields for next year and decide what type of fall tillage practices we want to use to insure the proper seed bed for next year’s crop. We determine if we want to moldboard plow, rip or plant a cover crop depending on the crop and timing of when we will be planting next spring. One of our fields this fall was seeded down into tillage radishes which allow a good cover crop on the soil to eliminate any wind erosion during the winter months and it also provides the storage of nutrients being stored in the radish until next spring when it can become available for next year’s crop. It also helps break up the hard pan in the soil creating a more loose soil with higher organic matter. Fall is my favorite time of year, the cool crisp mornings with sunny days makes working in the fields a rewarding atmosphere knowing we did everything we possibly could do to raise a great crop, and if mother nature did not cooperate as much as we would like we always look to start fresh next spring.