Bluebird Grain Farms

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Packing the seed bed prior to planting

That fast, another month gone by!  A very busy month for birds; just as busy for farmers. That fast, we’ve sped up 3 weeks and are on par with last spring when we estimated “everything” to be 3 weeks early.  It has been more of a scramble this year because we had – key word being  had – a later start and moister spring. I’m not alone being impressed  how quickly the moisture has disappeared.  Already the Balsam root and Lupine that were full and rich a month ago, are now shriveled and gone-by.

When I saw tanagers on our lawn 2 weeks ago I knew the accelerated spring to be real. I associate this bird with June. We have more tanagers this year than I can ever recall.  Also, there are three kinds of swallows here,  chatty, chatty wrens, flycatchers,  ducklings in the ponds, nesting bluebirds and soon, buntings. What we haven’t had, with the exception of one showery Saturday,  is rain.  Temperatures have remained very mild.  Soil temps have easily reached the mid-50’s which is when grain seems to not only have strong germination,  but likes to take off and grow!  So…

Have we any grain up yet? Not as of this writing.  However, yes, we have sown both some Einka and Emmer. A fast spring does not mean that the farming goes faster. Some of our acreage we majorly over-hauled , and this required a fair bit of extra work before planting. Other fields had areas still too wet to get on until just recently. Right now, we have about  40% of our grain in and are moving ahead with the rest. I’d expect to be able to row our first plantings in a few days now, and hope to have everything planted by the first week in June.

The cover crop vetch that we put in back in mid-April is beginning to fill out and we’ve irrigated it twice. This annual vetch is sometimes slow to start but as it matures, it begins to really put on green-mass. We’ll grow it out to flower stage, late-June, then mow it off at least once, and keep growing it out well into the summer before incorporating back in.

Once our grains are up a few inches on their own, we’ll feed them some liquid fish through our first round of irrigation. Some of the fields we’ll feed a couple times more, others just only once more. Tissue samples and brix readings should be able to tell us what is needed and when.

We like to grow pretty heavy crops and yet the heavier the crop, the more nutrition it needs. As with everything, it is a balance. To be sure, we were happy with last years crops and are hopeful for similar results this year. However, MN can change that at any time! I’m ready to be done with the ground work and look forward to the “Growing” segment of all this.  The cycle is stunningly fast – 60 days from emergence to finish – so there are not a lot of opportunities one likes to miss to help out the grains. The real fun is watching/helping these crops reach their full potential.  Not unlike with children!

We’ve barely had enough slow days in the granary to run seed stock. We’ve had steady orders to fill and this, of course, takes priority.  One of the challenges with our small cleaning line this time of year is processing our customer orders, while seeing to our seed needs at the same time.  As with our finished products, we  clean our seed stock on an as-need basis, too. That said, Brad and Sheah have done a very good job managing both these needs these past few weeks, and soon they will not have to worry about me stopping in and saying oh, BTW, I need 8000 pounds of seed by… yesterday!

War seems to be an age-old behavior of mankind that we, as a race, have a hard time changing. It is complex, arguable whether necessary or not, but always horrible. Far, far too many have died.  In many cases, died to save what we now have as freedom in a form that not everyone has. This, as with every Memorial Day, please take some time to honor those that paid the ultimate sacrifice, here and elsewhere.

We’ve got a couple new bakery customers using our einka which is very exciting for us.  Also, we’re always pleased to service return customers.  Bluebird continues to grow and in next month’s notes, I’ll explain some of the changes that may be coming down the pike.

Until then, enjoy the sweetness of June. Congratulations to all the graduates out there, and be watchful for more kids in the streets as another school year comes to a close…

Yours, Farmer Sam


Greenfix 1
Greenfix cover crop emerging.
Volunteer Rye from last years planting