Peregrine Farm News Vol. 17 #17, 5/13/20

What’s been going on!

Well the cool week has lived up to the hype.  We did bring out the row covers on Saturday night to add an additional layer of protection over the tomatoes, cucumbers and basil as additional insurance.  While 28 degrees is the point at which real damage occurs we want these warm season crops to not miss a beat at this time of year.  Sunday morning it was 30 degrees near ground level outside the tunnels but 37 degrees inside.  Yesterday morning it was 31 or 32 degrees outside and 38 inside and everything looks great and we have now rolled up the row covers hopefully for the final time this year as we are now headed into the furnace.

The cool weather has definitely slowed down the growth of some crops, like lettuce, so it looks like we will again have a production gap for this weekend but with the warm temperatures coming things will catch up quickly.  One crop that is way ahead of schedule are the blueberries which are a good ten days to two weeks earlier than normal.  We will pick the first ones this week!

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, no farmers anticipated what would happen this spring when planning the cropping schedule last winter.  We, and most farmers, plan with the knowledge and information from years past.  Our production has been carefully balanced with past sales at Farmers’ Market and orders from local restaurants, we have decades of data that tell us pretty accurately what you all will reliably buy.  Some local farmers have by now increased plantings of some crops but most of it is baked in.  I thought that this piece from the NYTimes did a good job of describing how flawed the current food system is and how growers like us have worked outside of it.

Picture of the week

P1050511This is diversity, saponaria flanked by a new lettuce planting and sugar snap peas

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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


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

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 12 #1, 2/13/15 A new year

What’s been going on!

They are baaack!!  Not like any kind of zombie apocalypse on Friday the 13th but the long winters nap is about over I guess.  We always feel that Groundhog Day is generally some kind of watershed date, after which the new season slowly begins to unfold.  Right now we are tending to agree with Punxsutawney Phil, more than his southern cousin Sir Walter Wally, that we are going to see six more weeks of winter.

The forecast for the coming week is really extreme, including the chance of snow next Tuesday on the heels of possible record breaking cold with high winds.  We are in batten down the hatches mode, covering and tightening every crop and structure we have.  We expect this kind of extended cold in December or January with crops that can generally take it but not mid-February when we usually do not see any more temperatures below 20 degrees, much less single digits (last night they had Monday morning at 9 degrees, they have since warmed it up to 14).

The greenhouse and coldframe is bulging with transplants waiting to get into the field.  We already waited a week to put out the first field lettuce to get past the last cold snap.  Sunday when it was 70 degrees we planted the first 1000+ lettuce, now we have it double covered as it really is not supposed to go below 20 degrees.  The place looks like a White Sale at Belks with so many crops covered with floating row covers.


Lettuce covered in the foreground, more tender crops covered both inside and outside the little sliding tunnels


The high winds make it especially difficult to keep covers on hoops over outdoor crops, Jennie resets the cinderblock weights for the billionth time

The real worry now is the anemone and ranunculus crops inside the sliding tunnels.  They look as good as they ever have but are also at very tender stages now that they are beginning to bloom.  So not only are they covered with row covers on hoops


But for the first time ever we have run Christmas lights down the ranunculus beds, under the cover, to generate just a bit more heat right at the plant level.







Every last trick in the book.  The result is there will be anemones for the Valentines Day market and it will be the warmest day of the coming week!


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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 11 #1, 1/3/14

What’s been going on!

BRRRR!!!  Cold day and week to come.  Hope everyone had fun during the holidays and are ready to face the new year.  The end of the year analysis goes on but we have had plenty of down time too, looks like we will have more during the coming week.  Good thing there is plenty of firewood in the shed as they are forecasting single digits on Monday morning.  We used to have a few nights in the single digits every winter which put us in zone 7 on the hardiness zone map but it has been a number of years since we have gone below 10 degrees.  We are now officially in the warmer zone 8, doesn’t mean we won’t visit zone 7 from time to time.

Crazy as we are we will be at market in the morning.  Temperatures will be in the 20’s to start but not the wind of today and it will be sunny.  Come out and get some healthy food for your New Years resolutions or just to visit.  It may look a bit like we are selling contraband as we may keep some things in the truck so they don’t freeze on the table.  Just whisper “give me the good stuff”.  See you all tomorrow!

Picture of the Week


It might be cold but the Anemones are happy, come get some tomorrow

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