Peregrine Farm News Vol. 14 #5, 3/10/17

What’s been going on!

Oh hell, here we go again.  We made it through last week’s cold (coldest 22) without any real damage.  Still unsure about the blueberries but everything else, especially the ranunculus, look good.  Now we are looking at potentially three nights in the low 20’s!  The bit of snow is of no concern, just the cold temperatures.  Back in go the hoops to cover the ranunculus, fortunately all the row covers are still out in the field.

We did slide one of the little tunnels this week to plant the early cucumbers under but we are postponing putting them in until after this cold, along with more kale and some other crops.  Spring always has some of this stop and go weather but never quite this extreme and it becomes wearying after a while.

Next week we should slide the last two tunnels in preparation for the early tomatoes.  While the specter of early tomatoes is heartening and makes us dream of more steady weather, Jennie has been working on seeding the big array of tomatoes for their late April planting to the field.  Same central group of all-star varieties along with a few new trial ones, 21 in all this year.  Always something to look forward to.

Picture of the Week

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A tunnel full of lettuce with the row cover ready to deploy

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 14 #4, 3/3/17

What’s been going on!

Well our gut instincts were correct, be wary of a warm spell in early spring!  The forecast for tonight is 23 degrees here at the farm, followed by 26 Saturday night.  Colder than we really want to see but most things should be fine especially with some floating row covers.  Betsy is a bit concerned about the amazing tunnel full of Ranunculus that are just now sending up thousands of stems.

A fairly normal late winter week with both indoor and outdoor work.  My annual visit with the accountant, so they can do the end of year taxes, is always a bit like going to the psychologist.  I leave feeling like I have done a thorough job in record keeping but unsure how it will all end up.  I know we are an anomaly to him but he is fascinated by our small business and how it all goes together, especially now with the Jennies transition and its effect on the business.

Planting goes on, as well as cultivation.  The big project right now is to finish up the removal of two huge trees we had to take down.  We had both a big hickory die and a monster red oak starting to die that we needed to drop before they did damage dropping limbs.  The oak is the biggest tree we have ever had to deal with, 36” at chest height.  We have taken care of all the brush and I am just about done cutting up the rest into firewood.  Hey at least we have enough firewood for two winters now!

Picture of the Week

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Beautiful tunnel of ranunculus just hitting stride

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 14 #3, 2/24/17

What’s been going on!

Let the real spring games begin!  But I can tell you that into our 36th spring that this is just not right, doesn’t feel right and certainly statistically is not right according to the National Phenology Index but here we go.

We have been planting (really mostly Jennie has been planting) for weeks now following our usual schedule with the knowledge that it could turn seriously cold at any time, remember last year when we lost all the blueberries to a late freeze?  We are at a point in the calendar now that it is full speed ahead, let’s hope for the best.

With lots of plants in the ground that means they need regular water, normally we rely on fairly consistent spring rains but not so this spring so yesterday, Feb. 23rd!, I had to fire up the irrigation system to get water to the four fields we have crops in, can’t rely on pulling hoses any more.  Many years we don’t have to do this until April.

The winter conference and travel season is over now.  Alex had another good backpacking trip to Big Bend National Park in Texas followed by several presentations at the Georgia Organics conference in Atlanta last weekend but we are all back now and busy not only with planting but also the last of the chainsaw work and other clean up chores.  Yet another season underway!

Picture of the Week

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Newly irrigated lettuce on a slightly eerie foggy morning

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 14 #2, 1/27/17

What’s been going on!

A quick note to let you know that Betsy and I survived the March on Washington and will be at market tomorrow.

The crowds were staggering and we were exhausted when it was all over and we finally got home at 2:30 a.m. but glad we went.  Below are pictures you didn’t see of the masses.

Pictures of the Week

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On the Metro

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Headed towards the light and the huge crowds

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 14 #1, 1/20/17

What’s been going on!

Wow, what a start to the New Year and our 36th season.  Betsy and I left on Thursday before the first weekend in January for our annual Southern Foodways Alliance gathering knowing that there was a winter storm coming our way but the forecast was for only 1-3 inches of snow.  Eight hours later when we arrived in Tennessee the potential had blown up to a possibility of 10 inches!  In the end Jennie did a great job preparing for the storm and in keeping the tunnels clean of the eventual 4-5 inches of snow and sleet but our fingernails got shorter in the interim.

As we returned we had to do further preparations for the two nights of single digit temperatures.  For the most part the crops inside the little tunnels survived well but the last of the outdoor crops are toast, melting masses of vegetation in the 70 degree days that followed.  We have been busy both in the greenhouse and in planting the first of the lettuces in the tunnels just yesterday.

Jennie will be at market on Saturday while Betsy and I will be in Washington for the Women’s March.  I have never used this space for any kind of political messaging, feeling strongly that the intent of this newsletter is to let you all know about life on the farm and what it takes to do this thing we love.  Suffice it to say that we feel like many of the things that we have worked hard for over the last four decades are in danger and we now must be vigilant.

Picture of the Week

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Newly planted lettuces and more beds ready to go

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