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Friday, September 3rd, 2021
Volume 30 Issue 9

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In This Issue of The Wood Prairie Seed Piece:

   Sizing Up the Summer.

Northeast Quarter: Last Spring Freeze and First Fall Freeze.

We were enthralled when we recently came across these nicely-done NOAA-prepared maps. The graphics allow one to easily compare and contrast killing freeze data for their locales and understand the impacts of not only latitude but also the influences of larges bodies of water and elevation.

Here in Northern Maine, it seems that this year almost every time we were nearing the threshold to irrigate we received a timely rain. All-in-all it’s been a good growing year and now we’re looking forward to digging our crop soon.

We hope that wherever you garden you are having bountiful harvests and that you and yours are staying safe and well.

Caleb, Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
Wood Prairie Family Farm
Bridgewater, Maine

NOW HIRING! Immediate Job Openings on
Wood Prairie Family Farm!

 If you have friends or family in Maine - and they want a good place to work - please let them know about our immediate job openings:

   • Year-Round Full-time Seed  

   • Seasonal Full-time Seed
   Assistant (Summers Off!)

   • Part-time Seed Assistant

If they’re good workers please invite them to come join us! Enjoy working together on a down-to-earth 45-year-old organic family farm and in our year round organic seed mail order & web business located right here on our farm in beautiful Northern Maine.

Find details here: https://www.woodprairie.com/jobop/


Wood Prairie Family Farm Photos.

Beneficial Cosmos Flower Doing Its Job on Wood Prairie Family Farm. As mentioned in our last Seed Piece, this year we have been conducting a Field Trial of flowers recommended for their ability to attract Beneficial Insects.  This Spring – right after we finished putting our organic potato crop in – we planted 40 different flowering plants, each with a reputation for attracting the good bugs which help keep the bad bugs at bay.  Trouble-makers such as potato-virus-spreading-aphids are a bane to seed potato farmers.  Beneficial Flowers can help attract beneficials like predatory insects which feast on aphids.   One of the most striking and prolific Beneficial Flowers we’ve observed is this pink beauty, Cosmos.  The wild honey bee gathering pollen from one blossom seems to agree Cosmos is a keeper.

Wood Prairie Summer Project:  Demolishing and Now Re-Building our Expanded Packing Shed Storage.
It’s been a big job for us this Summer to empty, dismantle and demolish an amalgam of connected sheds and add-ons we’ve built over the last 40 years.  They have served as “temporary” quarters for our farm office, original repair shop and catch-all farm storage.  As the old timers come down they are making way for an enlarged building which will occupy an expanded footprint.  Here, Caleb is using our Case Excavator to dig out the trench where the new building concrete footing will go.  He loads the fill into a 12-yard dump truck.  The empty area  beyond the dump truck used to be the office.  It’s contents are now relocated into temporary exile.

Caleb Retrieving Pallet Box Repair Wood for End of Summer Rite.
   After planting, a major task of Summer is the months-long extensive cleaning and disinfection of our potato storage and hundreds of hardwood pallet boxes. The effort is pointedly geared to avoid the age-old potato-dread Bacterial Ring Rot.  Most conventional potato farmers disinfect with quaternary ammonia.  We organic farmers are allowed to use Clorox which sanitizes well so long as no organic matter (soil or potato slime) remains after cleaning which would disable its bacteria-killing action. For that big cleaning job we use a powerful hot water pressure washer. When we're done cleaning, the queen could eat off the floor.

After the potato storage and pallet boxes are spic & span, our attention turns to the Summer's final rite before 'Digging' potatoes: repairing ailing pallet boxes.  In this photo, Caleb is removing from pallet-racks stacks of stickered & air-dried hardwood pieces (skids, slats, floor boards, perimeters, diagonals and corners) we buy ahead from a local Amish sawmill.  Thanks to Covid conniptions, the two local pallet box manufacturers have reporting difficulty in sourcing hardwood lumber used in making pallets and boxes.  Nationally, there is an acute shortage of pallets.  With new pallet boxes unavailable for purchase, we've been working extra hard trying to redeem another 3-5 years use out of aged boxes worse for wear that normally would be headed out to the burn pile. While we normally budget for a 10-year box lifetime, some of our rejuvenated pallet boxes are now 25 years old.

Beautiful Sunset This Week in Northern Maine.
Despite this red-sky-at-night spectacular sunset - only partially captured in this photograph - Tropical Storm Ida the following day landed upon our inland location just a glancing blow depositing a welcome half-inch of rain.  The Coast and Downeast Maine to the south of us received a much heavier soaking from Ida.  In this shot, Jim is flame-killing our crop of Organic Certified Maine Seed Potatoes in preparation for harvest which begins later this month. Potatoes will keep best if they die down and are allowed to develop “skin set” for 2-3 weeks before harvesting.  During ‘skin set’ the skin cells lose moisture and will stand up better to the rigors of harvest handling.

Ralphie Enjoying Maine Camp Life.
A month after Caleb & Lizzi were married in June, they adopted a sweet Rottweiler puppy who had been born eight weeks before.  Here, at 12 weeks of age, Ralphie is experiencing Maine camp life at a family reunion on the Coast.  Ralph has been mastering with ease his socializing skills and he is a very friendly puppy.  Everyday Lizzi & Caleb are getting him used to the water by leading him to and playing in the farm pond. But Summer is fast coming to a close.  This week Lizzi headed back to work performing her job as Kindergarten teacher in a local rural school.



Caleb & Jim & Megan Gerritsen
Wood Prairie Family Farm
49 Kinney Road
Bridgewater, Maine 04735
(207) 429 - 9765 Certified Organic, From Farm to Mailbox