Monday, April 21, 2014

It's April and We're Already Behind?

Here we are - April 21.  It's very early.  So, how is it we feel like we're already behind? 

We've got lots of trays on the heat mats with seeds/seedlings getting going.   Onions are in cold frames.  Hen chicks are in a brooder.  There are plants in the raised beds, there are plants in the high tunnel. 

I suppose you know farming season has begun as soon as you feel like you are either behind schedule or about to be behind schedule. 

We'll turn this blog post into a 'as I think of it' kind of post.. so, here we go!

Raised beds help us adjust yet again!

If you'll recall, we put in three raised beds last Spring/Summer in order to address the wet field problem we were encountering.  Well, they answered the call again this Spring.  Our overwintered kale and lettuce did not make it through the Winter.  This has not happened to us before, so that tells you how cold it got.  We also know that kale and chard are not good companions for tomatoes, peppers and beans.  We confirmed that last year when we left a few of those plants in the high tunnel in an area near tomatoes and peppers.  The results for those ended up fine in the end, but the intermediate period before the kale and chard were removed was not pretty.

Raised beds prepped to plant.

I tell you that to explain why it was so nice to plant kale, chard and pok choi into our raised beds.  They can still get covered, they have an adequate microclimate to encourage growth - but they are not taking a spot in the high tunnel.  That means we can sneak in our tomatoes and peppers early this year by putting them right next to the lettuce (which is a good companion).  There is an excellent chance this could result in early tomatoes for everyone this season - wouldn't that be a nice treat?

But, that reminds me...

Cool Soil

We tried the 4 inch soil temperature in the high tunnel on Saturday.  It is up to 50 degrees F, so we should be able to plant some green beans relatively soon.  But, this is still a bit chilly.  We'll check the 4 inch soil temp outside soon.  But, we can tell be observing that it is a bit cold.  The garlic is just now coming up in the mulch.  The asparagus has shown no sign of popping up.  The spinach we planted does not want to germinate at all quickly.  We'll get there eventually, but I suppose we shouldn't get too much ahead of ourselves.  Putting seed in soil that is too cold doesn't gain you much of anything.

Local Harvest

It seems to us that the best place to go if you are looking for a CSA is now Local Harvest.  And, you can see our entry for Local Harvest if you take this link.  We bring this up for two reasons.

1.  If you move from the area and you are looking for a CSA, this is a good place to look for what is available in the area.  It may not catch every option, but it is the most popular for farms such as ours to maintain a presence.  Of course, feel free to ask us if we have friends in the area to which you are moving, we can point you towards the farm or farms we'd be happy to patronize if we lived in that area.

2. There is a review option for farms that list themselves there.  We have two positive reviews for which we are grateful.  In fact, reading positive comments about our farm please and humble us (at the same time, if that is possible).  However, since we are still pushing for more CSA members this year, it would help us if a few of you would follow the link and leave positive reviews for our farm.  Of course, we don't want you to leave a positive review if you really don't mean it.  But, if you do...  here is a way you can further support what we do.

Overspray Issue Status

For those who are curious.  We are entering the filing stage for the lawsuit with respect to the chemical misapplication that occurred Summer, 2012.  We finally feel that we have enough evidence of what was lost (and continues to be lost) after this event.  We realize that Rob might have a tendency to over think things at times.  But, this is probably one of those cases where having a preponderance of data is not a bad thing. 

In any event, we are still in process and we'll be very happy when the process ends.  It is not enjoyable to spend hours analyzing what had (and still has) to be altered on the farm as a result of this incident.

Signs of Spring

One way to tell farming season has truly started
Finally - yes - finally!  It smells like Spring.  No, I'm not referring to Anhydrous Ammonia being applied to the corn fields.  I'm referring to Spring rain smell.  But, another way we can tell it must be finally changing is the appearance of the two items you see in the photo above. 

The green thermos follows Rob around the farm most of the year.  Ok... he carries it.  It's the cats that tend to follow him.  And, the lovely feel of sun tan lotion as it catches dust on the back of your neck has returned.  We've also noticed the per capita use of lotion for dry,rough hands has gone WAY up.  Rob found two bruises he can't remember earning this morning.  The chirpa chirpa bird has started singing (brown thrasher) in the morning and the robins now sing their "It's been a good day" song in the evenings.  Dandelions are up in the high tunnel, so we're looking for the great dandelion bloom on the farm about May 10.

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