[Snakeroot Organic Farm logo]
 • What's New Here
 • Snakeroot Poultry

 • About Our Farm
 • Annual Farm Tour
 • Community Supported
    Agriculture Plan (CSA)
Directions to our Farm
 • From a Run Out Hayfield to
    a Prosperous Organic Farm
    in Ten Easy Years

 • Get Real. Get Organic!
 • History of Our Farm
 • Pictures of the Farm
 • Where We Buy
 • Where We Sell
 • Our Yearly Work Schedule
 • Just Pretty
 • Subscribe to our e-newsletter.
 • Newsletter Archive.
 • What We Will & Won't Ship

 • Working Here
 • Our Apprentices
 • Our Farm Workers
 • Pictures of Us at Market

 • Fresh Vegetables
 • Fresh Fruit
 • Fresh Herbs
 • Perennials
 • Aloe - a magical plant
 • Our Bird Houses
 • Lupines
 • Rosemary Plants
 • Lovage, Tansy & Yarrow
 • Our Product Brochures
 • Dried Vegetables
 • Dried Culinary Herbs
 • Maple Syrup
 • Maple Syrup, p.2
 • Sugarin' Is Like Ice Fishin'
 • Our New Sugarhouse
 • Tomato Seedlings
 • Tomato Seeds We Offer
 • Tomato Seed Production
 • Paste Tomatoes
 • About Garlic
 • Garlic for Sale
 • Garlic Year Round
 • Mulching Garlic
 • Growing Rounds from Bulbils
 • Whole Bulbil Cluster Method
 • Planting Garlic

 • Using Mulches
 • Combatting Quackgrass
    with Mulch

 • We Want Your Leaves!
 • In Praise of Chips

 • Buying in Bulk for
    Storage, Canning & Freezing

 • Winter Storage Tips
 • How to Freeze Our Veggies
 • Building Techniques
 • Our Outbuildings
 • Evolution of the Farm Table
 • The Story of Our Cooler
 • Prepping Veggies for Market
 • Crop Rotations
 • Drip Irrigation
 • Low Pressure Water
 • Planting with Spreadsheets
 • Greenhouse Vegetable

 • Let-tuce Begin
 • Recipe Favorites
 • Our "Remay Roller"
 • Gardening Class Notes
 • Your Most Expensive Crop

 • Being Green
 • Digging Potatoes by Hand
 • Farmers' Markets in 2012
 • History of Pittsfield
 • Hybrids or Open Pollinated?
 • Making Websites
 • Open Source Software

    Our Retirement Plan
 • How Should a Farmer Retire?
 • Impediments to the want-to-be     farmer
 • Reducing the Value
    of the Land

 • Who Will Farm Here When
    We're Gone?

 • Apprentice Terms and Stages
 • From Apprentices to Partners
 • Transferring Farm Ownership

…and now for something completely different…

At dawn
Canoe bow waves are quickly lost
    on the shoreside
But go on out of sight
    on the lake side.


The constant swish-swish of skis
    On a day long ski.
The constant swish-swish of wiper blades
    On a day long drive.


My dog, trotting barefoot
Steps on a garden slug
And thinks
Nothing of it.


Word spreads quickly
as I approach the pond.
All becomes quiet.


Hidden in the vines
a large warted cucumber
jumps out of reach.
A toad!


Delicate puffs
of marshmallow snow
carefully perched
on a branch,
await the trigger of my hat
to melt their way down my back.

Deep in the tomato jungle
Fruits of yellow, purple and red
Tell of their readiness
To go to market.

Sugarin' Chores
Snowflakes hurry through my flashlight beam,
As my boots knead new snow with spring mud,
On my nightly Hajj to keep the boil alive,
For as long as possible until the dawn,
To match the power of the flowing sap,
With my meager evaporator and will.
The prize at the finish line are jars of syrup
And Spring.


Work Activities During the Year

at Snakeroot Organic Farm

[ View by Job ] · [ View by Month ]

Jobs Organized by Job

Firewood Gathering: Felling trees, cutting into 4 foot sections, stacking in woods, stacking onto woods trailer, cutting to length, stacking in woodshed. Done in November, December and March.

Harvesting & processing: Each crop in its season. Picking, sorting, grading, washing and prepping for market. Starts in May and continues until November.

Mulching: Late June, July & November. Raking and collecting hay. Applying hay and/or wood chips around celery, field tomatoes, greenhouse tomatoes and garlic.

Pruning Cedars & Spruces: Using a bow saw to trim off lower branches of these trees to improve the value of the trees for future harvest.

Field seeding by hand: April for onion sets. November for garlic.

Seeding by push seeder: January and February in the greenhouses. April thru August in the fields.

Shelter Building: We are still in the process of building simple cedar pole shelters for our equipment and firewood. This work happens from November to May, when other farm duties permit.

Sugaring: Sugaring begins in February when we tap our trees and continues into early April at the end of sap flow. We are 95% on tubing, and are currently expanding our sugarbush a little each year.

Transplanting: April thru August. Most transplanted seedlings go from pots or cell trays into the garden. Earliest transplanting is into the greenhouse beds in March and April.

Trellising: June, July & August. Tomatoes & cukes in the greenhouse.

Weeding: Late May thru September; heaviest in June & July. Done by hand and by hand hoe and by wheel hoe. This is the one of the biggest jobs during the summer months.

Minor or Occassional Jobs

Trail Building and Maintenance: Ski trails and woods roads need clearing of fallen trees and low branches, ruts and holes filled in. Posting signage and mapmaking.

Rock Picking: March & December, mostly, as well as after each field tilling. Rock Sorting by the Nearing's method.

Brush Chipping: any time of year, as occasionally needed.


Jobs Organized by Month

[Many minor jobs related to ongoing farm maintenance and living are omitted.]


  • Cleaning big greenhouse to prepare for in-ground planting.
  • Cut trees for next winter's firewood for house, greenhouse and sugarhouse.
  • Create new brochures for market and update old ones.
  • Prepare pot and pak labels for spring.
  • Work on web sites.
  • Enter last year's income and expense data into database.


  • Plant garlic, beet greens, carrots, spinach & cutting lettuce and scallions in big greenhouse.
  • Plant onions in small greenhouse.
  • Check tubing, tap maples & begin sugaring.
  • Start rosemary cuttings.
  • Make this year's crop rotation plan.
  • Fillout Organic Certification forms.
  • Work on web sites.


  • Continue sugaring: checking lines, boiling sap, finishing, bottling & labeling syrup.
  • Fell trees for next year's firewood.
  • Fill house woodshed with firewood.
  • Start onions, lupine seeds, leeks, scallions in trays.
  • Turn on heat in big greenhouse.


  • Finish sugaring. Pull taps and rinse out lines. Put maple equipment away for the year.
  • Dig & pot lupine plants. Seach for volunteer lupines and transplant into 4 inch pots.
  • The beginning of our busy season, with the greenhouse work of filling planting and labeling seedling trays, and transplanting and watering seedlings.
  • Transplant tomatoes into greenhouse beds.
  • Field plant onion sets.
  • Field transplant onions, leeks, first scallions, parsley.
  • Field plant onion seeds, first spinach, beet greens, & peas.
  • Gather firewood.
  • Fill house woodshed with firewood.
  • Start fennel in greenhouse.
  • Veggy harvest begins from greenhouse beds.


  • Start attending Orono (Sat.), Unity (Sat.), Pittsfield (Mon. & Thu.), and Waterville (Thu.) Farmers' Markets.
  • The greenhouse work is still going on, but we now also do planting and transplanting of frost-hardy crops, putting on row covers, and begin weed hoeing.
  • Field plant beet greens, spinach, peas, beans, carrots, cutting lettuce mix, potatoes.
  • Field transplant cabbage family, lettuce, fennel, chard.
  • Harvest begins for rhubarb, greenhouse carrots, beet greens, & lettuce.
  • Start cabbage family, squash family, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, for field and pack sales.
  • Put up greenhouse firewood for fall.


  • June sees the last of the intensive greenhouse work, and there is much more planting, transplanting, weeding, hand hoeing, wheel hoeing, and the first of the field harvesting (radishes, lettuce, beet greens, spinach, scallions).
  • Attend 4 farmers' markets, 5 days a week.
  • Field transplant tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, eggplant, lettuce,
  • Field plant carrots, beet greens, basil, cilantro.
  • Mowing the hayfields, gathering the hay and mulching the tomatoes and celery is a large effort.
  • Harvest begins for greenhouse cukes, field carrots, lettuce, beet greens, new potatoes.
  • Start attending Orono (Tue.) Farmers' Market as month ends. Now attending 4 farmers' markets, 6 days a week.


  • July sees harvesting and weeding getting into high gear.
  • Time to remove the row covers and weed the crops that have grown under their protection.
  • Greenhouse tomato harvest begins.
  • Garlic scapes are cut for market and garlic rounds are harvested for replanting in November.
  • Mulch tomatoes.
  • Harvest begins for cucumbers, beans, summer squash & the first field tomatoes.


  • August sees most of our work revolving around the harvest.
  • Attend 4 farmers' markets, 6 days a week.
  • Beans, cukes, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, summer squash and zucchini are on 48 hour picking schedules.
  • Gather Lupine seeds.
  • Pepper, winter squash, and melon harvests begins. Potatoes, melons and winter squash are picked about once a week.
  • Garlic harvest takes a week.
  • Slice and dry tomatoes.


  • The beginning of September is a continuation of August's schedule.
  • The frost watch begins. We harvest all of the tomatoes, peppers, summer squash, melons, basil and cukes that are left in the field as the night of the first frost approaches.
  • Harvest all of the winter squash a few days after frost.
  • Attend 4 farmers' markets, 6 days a week.
  • Slice and dry tomatoes, peppers, onions.
  • Harvest oregano, sage, marjoram, thyme, summer savory, winter savory and lavender and hang to dry.
  • Clean tomato seeds.
  • Onion harvest takes a few days.
  • Re-seeding the harvested ground to winter cover crops (rye or oats) now begins.


  • October's harvests are mostly underground items: all the potatoes, carrots, beets, rutabagas, parsnips, and gobo get harvested in that order.
  • Kale, chard, spinach, scallions, broccoli, leeks, cilantro and lettuces still being harvested almost daily for market.
  • Plant field garlic rounds and bulbils.
  • Attend 4 farmers' markets, 6 days a week.
  • Drying vegetables and herbs is in high gear, especially tomatoes.
  • Clean tomato seeds.
  • Greenhouse production continues to the end of the month.
  • Waterville and Pittsfield markets end.


  • Finish planting and mulch garlic.
  • Continue with the Orono and Unity markets on Saturdays.
  • Put away pots and trays.
  • Take down trellised tomatoes and prepare big greenhouse for planting.
  • Fell trees for next year's firewood.
  • Cut up and gather firewood for house, greenhouse and sugarhouse.
  • Do any planned building contruction.
  • Stack greenhouse firewood for spring.
  • Clean & package previously gathered seed.


  • Cut up and gather firewood for house, greenhouse and sugarhouse.
  • Fill sugarhouse with firewood for spring.
  • Fell trees for next year's firewood.
  • Do any planned building contruction.
  • Clean & package previously gathered seed.
  • Review seed catalogs and order seeds.

27 Organic Farm Road, Pittsfield Maine 04967
owned and operated by
Tom Roberts & Lois Labbe
Tom: Tom@snakeroot.net (cell) 207-416-5417
Lois: Lois@snakeroot.net (cell) 207-416-5418

Gardening for the public since 1995.

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