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
The first 4 plantings of lettuce growing well
What’s going to be at Market?
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
Working on the new deer fence, a long line of posts ready.
What’s going to be at Market? Continue reading