Peregrine Farm News Vol. 17 #4, 2/14/20

What’s been going on! 

It will be seriously cold tonight and in the morning at Market but for the most part this has been the winter that wasn’t.  Now to be fair the National Weather Service did predict that this winter would be wetter and warmer than normal and sure enough that is what we have gotten.  For the last 90 days we are three plus inches more than average.  As to the warmer we were six degrees above normal in January alone.

The lack of snowfall is disappointing and we have learned to not count out the late snow storm but it is not looking promising.  My first winter here in 1980 we had, what was at the time the record snow, 12 inches the first week of March, so it can happen.  This would certainly not be the first winter without snow as there have been seventeen of them since records have been kept in Raleigh in 1887.  The most recent was 2007-2008.

Despite all the rain we are still on schedule in the field because, just like the wet spring we had last year, we have been getting beds prepared in advance and then covering them with huge sheets of plastic to keep them dryish so they are ready to plant when we are.  Monday we planted the next rounds of lettuce and so it goes.

Picture of the week

P1050415Hope you saved your real Valentines flower dollars for tomorrow!

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 17 #3, 2/7/20

What’s been going on! 

As Betsy said this morning “We are one with the Haw River” as she looked out the window and down to our bottom field completely and deeply underwater.  Quite the storm and we hope that all of you escaped any wind or water damage.  We had over three inches of rain but fortunately no big winds from the initial wave Thursday afternoon but some terrific gusts this morning.

We had, of course, moved the vehicles out into the field just in case and rolled down all the high tunnel sides but we were out early this morning battening them down even more so there would be no damage to the plastic or the structures.  So far everything looks good and no trees down that we have found, yet.  One bright spot is we didn’t have to pull the irrigation pump out of the bottom because it is not down there anymore!

Before the rains on Tuesday and Wednesday we planted the last of the tunnel lettuces, radishes and turnips.  We did seed the sugar snap peas out in the field and some more flowers went in too.  Next week the first lettuces will go outdoors so the season approaches.

Picture of the week

IMG_20200207_081114499_HDRThe 10th highest flood ever at Haw River left us with lake Peregrine

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 17 #2, 1/31/20

What’s been going on! 

Our favorite “holiday” of the year is this weekend and it is not the Super Bowl but rather Groundhog Day.  As I wrote in 2010 it is the unofficial end to winter and the beginning of spring, at least around these parts and as such I see it as one of the two agricultural related holidays, the other being Thanksgiving.

The time between those two holidays, interestingly, also corresponds to what is known as the Persephone period when the day length is less than 10 hours of daylight.  Below 10 hours of daylight and most plants go into a suspended state and barely grow at all.  Technically at this latitude, this winter, it ran between Nov. 27th and Jan. 16th but who’s checking, it’s been dark.  The good news is that the days start getting longer really fast now, gaining two minutes a day for the next several months.

For those who forgot all of their Greek mythology Persephone, the goddess of spring and nature, was abducted by Hades and taken to the underworld.  As the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, the head gods, Demeter forbids the earth to produce, or she neglects the earth and in the depth of her despair she causes nothing to grow.  When they finally persuade Hades to release Persephone things began to grow again but she was obliged to spend a third of each year (the winter months) underground, and the remaining part of the year with the gods above.  Fortunately for us that period doesn’t even last two months.

All of the greens that have been at the Farmers’ Market the last several months were planted early in the fall so that they could grow to maturity and then they have just been sitting there waiting to be harvested.  One of the reasons there will be shortage of greens over the next few weeks is that most people have harvested everything they had and are now waiting on things to either re-grow or for newly planted crops to get to size. That is certainly the case with us, it will be nearly a month before we will have lettuce again even though we planted it in early December.  The good thing is the Anemones don’t care about day length, must not be Greek.

Picture of the week

P1050409Working on the new deer fence, a long line of posts ready.

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

What’s been going on! 

The last sojourns of the winter are now done and we are home to concentrate on the spring farming season.  That little blast of spring we just had in January is now gone and real winter temperatures are now upon us.

I had a another great trip to far west Texas to walk around the desert in Big Bend National Park and this time it didn’t snow here, leaving Betsy to clean off the tunnels by herself, like last year, I still owe her big time for that one.  This last weekend we went to Tennessee for our annual Southern Foodways Alliance event and gathering of the Fellowship of Southern Farmers, Artisans and Chefs.  It was an enjoyable time visiting with friends and learning new things including an interesting talk from Chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill restaurants in NY.

Yesterday we were back at it taking advantage of the last of the warm weather, planting the fifth of the six tunnels to more lettuce and turnips.  One more tunnel to go and then we are out to the open field with the earliest outdoor plantings.  I can say that I was a bit stiff this morning.  The early spring plantings and prep has always been hard on the body but at 63 it is a whole other kind of thing, just got to keep moving.

Pictures of the week

P1050307One of the many cool things I found in the desert

P1050406The last rays of the day on Lettuce for February

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