Peregrine Farm News Vol. 18 #5, 2/5/21

What’s been going on!

Yet another gray and wet day.  I heard the other day that it has rained 50% of the days since the first of the year.  This is one of the many reasons that farmers are putting up more and more high tunnels, to be able to control at least some of the variables thrown at us by the weather.  Not a perfect solution but at least it makes it possible to grow some things out of season and during inclement periods.

Yesterday we planted the last of our indoor beds to lettuces, spinach and radishes.  We also put the first crops out in the field, peas and some more lettuce.  How is it even possible to do that when it has been so cold and wet?  The cold part is a small gamble but historically we don’t have temperatures below 20 degrees after February 1st (it was 21 degrees yesterday morning!), which is the level at which lettuce can be damaged or even killed without protection.  We do cover it with floating row cover immediately.

The wet part we manage by tilling the beds weeks in advance during a dry spell and cover them with large plastic “silage” tarps to help keep the soil dryer and to pre-germinate and kill weed seeds in the top inch of the soil.  We then pull the tarp off, give the top of the bed a light rake and plant.  It is a careful dance this time of year to fool mother nature.

Picture of the week

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Silage tarp over prepared beds next to the first outdoor crops protected under row cover

What’s going to be at Market?

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 18 #4, 1/29/21

What’s been going on!

Possibly the coldest night of the year tonight, we will see.  Everything is covered and the tunnels are battened down.  The blizzard of 2021 earlier in the week turned out to be a dusting but we are always happy when we don’t have to go out in the middle of the night to sweep the tunnels off to prevent them from collapsing.  The biggest snows have all been from the end of January to the beginning of March but really once we get out of the end of this month we begin to breathe easier.

Like Hurricane Fran, we are still scarred by the record snow the end of January 2000 when we had 20 inches.  I had been gone for a week to meetings in Georgia and drove home that afternoon.  Betsy said that they were calling for some snow but probably not a lot.  We went up to Burlington that evening for another meeting and by the time we got out it was snowing pretty hard.  By the time we got home we knew this was serious and stayed up all night, going out every hour to sweep the tunnels off, alternating with each other.  When morning came we were just about hallucinating from the lack of sleep and the physical exertion.  Some things you never forget or want to re-live.

Still not enough flowers to justify coming to market this week so we will stay home and be warm tomorrow.

Picture of the week

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It was beautiful in the aftermath

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 18 #3, 1/22/21

What’s been going on!

So yesterday was the 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century not sure exactly the importance of all that but it also was the anniversary of the coldest temperature ever recorded in North Carolina.  January 21st, 1985 it got to minus 11 degrees here at the farm.  The week before we had been out in T-shirts picking rocks out of our new cleared blueberry field.  Doesn’t seem like we will be seeing those kinds of extremes this winter but we do seem to be having an awful lot of cloudy days which are holding the crops back.

Last winter was a warm one as well but with much more sun and higher average temperatures.  Last Saturday all of the farmers were comparing notes and generally agreed that with so much cloudy weather the crops we moving much slower than last year.  Last season we were able to start market the last week of December and had a steady supply all the way through.  Not so this year, while we started last Saturday it was just a tiny showing and this week we have harvested on a handful of anemones so will be skipping market again tomorrow.  We hate to be inconsistent but it is what it is.

Now that we have finally passed through the Persephone period and the days are get longer quickly it should help to kick things into gear.  Folks have asked when the Little Gem is coming and it should be right on schedule the end of February.

Pictures of the week

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The first 4 plantings of lettuce growing well

What’s going to be at Market?

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Peregrine Farm News, Vol. 18 #1, 1/1/21 Happy New Year!

What’s been going on!

I had planned on our usual end of the year missive but decided that it would be much more fitting to start the New Year looking forward and just let 2020 slip away.  Not that we are not thankful for many things from last year including the incredible support from all of you, the wonderful Carrboro Farmers’ Market (still the safest place a human could be in public), this beautiful farm that we have been able to hide out on and of course, that we haven’t gotten Covid!

We are looking forward to all the good things that 2021 will bring.  Hopefully a less rainy year, Covid vaccinations for us by summer and the return to somewhat normal routines.  We have planned a bountiful spring for our 40th growing season and what we intend to be our last for public consumption.  I promised Betsy last year that this would be our final season and further agreed that we would stop the end of April shortly after our 40th wedding anniversary.  I think retirement is the present for 40 years of wedded bliss.

We look forward to gardening and growing food for just ourselves and family.  We look forward to travel and eating at restaurants again.  We look forward to spending time with friends and family and just kicking around here on the farm with whatever project we dream up. 

We also hope for a quick recovery for all of those folks who have been severely impacted by the corona virus both physically and economically, especially our friends in the healthcare, hospitality, entertainment and service sectors that have shouldered the brunt of the losses and pain.

As a sign of the changing times we had a tremendously beautiful sunrise the other day and with it a huge murmuration of birds- thousands and thousands of starlings and crackles I assume, with their eerie cackling and swooping, acrobatic flock displays.

Pictures of the week

What’s going to be at Market?

We plan to be back in January 9th with the first and small harvest of Anemones!

Stay safe and well and we hope to see you all at the market!

Alex and Betsy

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