Sunday, March 23, 2014

March Newsletter

What's going on at the farm?

Since we are fielding more questions along those lines, it must be time for us to start putting out periodic newsletters.  So - here we go!

Seeds and Trays Everywhere!
Our seed orders are in with the exception of a few this's and that's that always follow.  This year, or vegetable seed orders came from Seed Savers, High Mowing, Johnny's and Fedco (in that order of volume).  Our seed potatoes were delivered to an intermediate point from Colorado just this weekend.  If seed availability is any indication, we must be committed to growing some things this year.

The cold weather has us making some adjustments to our seeding set up (at least for a little while).  Typically our early seeding is done in our basement.  The down side with that is that the ceiling is a little low and the lighting is not optimal.  We moved the seeding operation upstairs.  The downside there is that we now have to haul everything up the stairs (including water).  But, the atmosphere is so much nicer to work in, so we'll call it a good thing.  It's always nicer to do all of this seeding outside.  But, that isn't true when the temps are in the 20's.

Currently started in trays are onions, leeks, tomatoes, some kale, lettuce and pok choi.  Much more will be done each day of the coming week.  Peppers, eggplant, basil and some brassica are coming up.

CSA Spots Available
While there is apparently a rumor out there that we are full, this is not true.  We are currently around 75-80 members for 2014 Regular season.  We want 120 members and could go higher than that this year.

Our Spring shares are, in fact full.  More on that in a bit.

So, tell your friends.  Let's get this CSA full soon.

CSA Billing
We were hoping to fill in more spots before we sent out the billing.  But, since it is getting late, we're just going to finish what we have and go from there.  So, if you have signed up, expect something in the mail from us.  It will include your billing status and a SASE so you can mail your payment easily. 

If you are wondering why we wanted to wait on the billing until we were closer to full, consider the fact that billing takes some set up and time to do.  If Rob can do them all at once, it actually reduces the total amount of time tracking and handling the billing takes.  But, we can't always get what we want, so we'll just make do!

Drifting Along
Sadly, this post won't have much for pictures in it.  However, we're working on taking some pictures so we can get you a 'picture this' post soon.  However, we can tell you that there are still drifts on the farm that are as tall as we are.  It's really quite interesting to be standing on bare ground and have a drift immediately to your left that you can lean on.

On other drift news, we are hopeful that we can set some numbers and move forward with our suit for the spraying incident in 2013.  That's about all we'll say about it at this point.

Broiler Chickens
We do still have broiler chickens available from last Fall's batch.  We are getting to the point where we would like to shut down another freezer for part of Spring until we get the Spring broilers processed.  For those who do not know, we have 3 chest freezers to go with the freezers that are part of our two refrigerators.  We'd like to enter April (or soon thereafter) with only one of the chest freezers running.  This gives us a chance to defrost and clean them up for the season and reduces our electric bill a little bit.

speaking of that...

Electric Bills and Plants for Sale
Our heaviest season for the use of electricity is upon us.  We use grow lights and heat mats to get our seedlings started (and to keep them alive during cooler Spring weather).  These eat the electricity.  One thing we do to offset that bill is to sell plants in May (sometimes into June).  Typically, we have sold heirloom tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.  We also plan to sell basil, lettuce, broccoli and other plants this year.  So, if you are a home gardener and like heirloom plants, or are simply looking for quality plants to put in your own garden, please keep us in mind.

Service Trip Group on the Farm
We were honored with the presence of a Wartburg service trip group on the farm this past weekend.  Since it was blustery and cold, we decided it would be better to work in the high tunnel.  We got some broadfork work done, some weeding and some other bed prep.  A few other small tasks were completed much more quickly than if it was just one person doing them.  We are grateful for the willing hands!

Dream Big, Grow Here Part II
This May, Rob has the opportunity to go and present his pitch in an effort to secure the state fund level of $10,000 or the high tunnel project.  Thank you once again to all of you who have supported us.

Speaking of the High Tunnel
The cold weather has us wondering what sort of schedule we will follow with regards to this new structure.  We can't do any work with the grounds until the snow is gone and the frost leaves the ground.  Who knows when that will be.  We'll keep everyone posted.

Spring CSA Shares
The most common question here is : "When will it start?"  The answer we have right now is: "We don't know."  The spinach in the high tunnel is four weeks behind other years.  Much of the kale did not survive.  So, we're trying to get things moving, but if it doesn't warm up soon, it will be later than we want.  Safest bet would be mid April through May.

And more....
As I write newsletters, I am always surprised by how much more it seems like I should write.  But, I also know that we can only put so much into one effort.  I should save some for later! 

so, until next time....  we'll continue to mind your peas and cukes.

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