Garlic Harvest

Black River Organics is the learning farm for the Sustainable Agriculture program at Lorain County Community College. The Summer Crop Production students recently helped harvest garlic at the farm. Here are some pictures of their day!

This is what the garlic we planted in October looked like this morning. No, it’s not sick – it’s ready to harvest!

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First, we dug up the heads of garlic (gently!) with spading forks and removed most of the soil from the roots.

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We have some nice looking garlic this year. Krystal is stoked!

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Then we tied the heads in bunches so we can hang them in the barn to cure. They will be ready for sale in just a few weeks.

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These two LOVE garlic!



Nice job, gang!

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Blueberries in Recovery

Many of you know that the blueberry u-pick at Black River Organics was hit hard by the 17-year cicada last year. This year we are focusing on pruning away the damaged branches and nurturing the bushes as they put on new growth. In the case of blueberries, fruit grows on second year branches, so taking good care of the bushes now means a nice crop next year!

This is how most of our blueberry bushes look right now. As you can see, there are lots of dead branches, but some new growth (and even a few blueberries!), as well.

Here is a close up of the cicada damage. They scratch into the bark to lay their eggs.

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We spent the day pruning, and will spend many more days pruning this summer, fall, and winter!

One row pruned and looking happy!

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Thinning Peaches

A post from Brad at AB Phillips & Sons Fruit Farm

Despite an extremely early spring, our peaches survived all frost scares and produced a heavy set of fruit.  Consequently we are now thinning most of them off!  Peach trees only need 5% of their bloom to make a full crop.  Over-cropping leads to small, not as tasty, fruit and more broken branches.  So I am knocking them off now by a time honored method – a stiff section of hose on a broomstick!  See before and after photos as an example.

Peaches before thinning:

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Peaches after thinning:

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Update from the Orchard

Apples are nearly done blooming at A.B. Phillips & Sons Fruit Farm.  Prospects are good for a fine crop this year.  Looks like they will be ripening earlier than usual due to the jump start we got on spring.

Peaches are well past bloom and are loaded with tiny fruitlets.  I will be thinning most of them off in May to ensure that they size and develop properly.

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Spring Projects at Black River Organics

At Black River Organics, we’ve been busy preparing for a very exciting growing season! Here are a few pictures of what’s going on at the farm.


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Our market garden, tarped to keep the rain off.



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Our summer greens bed, prepped and ready to go!



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Chet and Jim, building the base of our new 12’x24′ greenhouse.

Seed Starting

Black River Organics Cooperative is off to a really good start this year.  Last Friday Ginnette and I started about 250 new heads of lettuce, kale plants, tomatoes and peppers.  Ginnette potted up some of the peppers she started earlier in February. We overwintered about 100 heads of lettuce and half a row of kale.  Both should be ready to harvest this coming week.  We have about 200 new heads of lettuce that we started in February and transplanted into one of our high tunnels two weeks ago.  They should be ready to harvest in three or four weeks.  We have some sugar snap peas that we started indoors which are 4″ tall now and some that we direct seeded that are just 1″ tall.  The peas should be ready in another 45 days.  I can’t wait!  I love the taste of sweet spring sugar snap peas.