Well, after winter jerking us around several times over the past 2 weeks, mud season has officially arrived. I think this meme sums it up the chaos that we call "spring" better than I can:
The csa is scheduled to start on April 20th, so despite the unfavorable weather, the seeding and transplanting had to continue on schedule. Working in quick bursts around multiple snow storms, and near constant rain I've managed to get over a mile of crops planted for our members. The direct seeded crops were especially difficult to get planted, as our seeders do not like damp soil. Luckily, we made quite a few raised beds last year, and they dry out rather quickly between the storms. So far, we have planted cabbage, broccoli, salad turnips, radishes, baby kale medley, spring mix, power greens salad mix, carrots, beets, arugula, baby spinach, Chinese broccoli, bok choy, broccoli raab, bunching kale, and collard greens. Join me for a look around the spring gardens:
I hope you've enjoyed seeing these promises of spring, despite this foul weather. I know a trip back to the spring garden always brightens my day.
See you next week!
We only have 4 CSA memberships remaining, and 3 weeks until the first day of the spring season. If you have been waiting to purchase your membership, now is the time to do so.
This weather is wild. I did manage to get a few things planted this week before the surprise snowstorm hit. Beets, salad turnips, and cabbage were all planted and covered with row cover. The early spring brassicas have been hardening off (a process of slowly exposing to the environment) over the past week in anticipation of planting.
After planting they were tucked in with about 4" of mulch on each side, as an additional insulator, and for peace of mind, as they would have most likely been fine with just the row cover.
The row cover that we use raises the nighttime low temperature by 5 degrees (or more), and raises the daytime high by as much as 20 degrees. Cabbages have a thin stem that would be damaged if the fabric rested directly in the plant, meaning that every time the wind blows, the fabric would catch it, uprooting and breaking the plants, or in the case of our recent snowstorm, the weight of the snow would have crushed them. Lettuce, beets, radish, and salad green beds can have the fabric rest directly on top of the plant as the planting density creates a natural support, which makes for much quicker work. For the cabbage transplants that you see above, we placed wire hoops every 4 feet for support. We then buried the sides of the fabric, creating a greenhouse-like effect within.
The garlic has sprung to life, growing a ridiculous amount in only a months time. The plants look really good, and are very healthy...should be a great year for all things garlic.
The walk-in cooler is also filled with hundreds of pounds of certified organic seed potatoes. We are keeping them at a chilly 40 degrees until planting, which is about 1 month out. We should be harvesting the first of the new potatoes around June 1st, which means spring csa members will have them for about the last 3 weeks or so of the season.
Speaking of the spring csa, have you reserved your membership yet? We only have 7 spring memberships left, and with only a month before the season starts, they will go fast. If you have been meaning to sign up, now is the time.
See you next week!
It may not feel like it just yet, but spring is in full swing...so please don't mind the brevity of this update :-)
We are now at the busiest point of calving season, having upwards of 5-6 calves per day. Calving can be a very stressful time of year on the farm. The rapid temperature swings promote the development of respiratory disease, and what we like to colloquially refer to as mud season, can cause issues like hypothermia and scours. On top of all of the environmental risks to contend with, there is also the need to closely watch the cows during birthing, so that quick assistance can be given when needed. Like earlier this week, when a cow needed help positioning and delivering her calf that was breached.
I know you guys really like cute farm animal videos, so enjoy this video of the calf taking her first steps, after only 5 minutes of being born. Within 15 minutes she is as nimble as she will ever be.
After just a couple of hours (and a few thousand licks from their mother), they begin to dry off and fluff out their coat.
It's not just calving season that is keeping us busy...the nursery is filled to the BRIM with plants. I'll start hardening these cold-hardy cabbages, as well as some kale, collards, and broccoli early this week in anticipation of field planting them as soon as the weather allows.
There are also cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, cauliflower, onions, and lots of herbs that have sprouted.
Not only is the nursery springing to life, but so are the fields. Cabbage & collards will be transplanted, and beets will be seeded this week. The air temperature may feel a little low, but the soil temperature is actually quite warm (58 degrees), so the berries are bursting into life. I've already started spring renovations on the beds (for disease and weed control).
There is always so much to do this time of year, which is such a nice change of pace!
See you next week!
We only have a few spring memberships left, so be sure to get them while you still can!