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
Silage tarp over prepared beds next to the first outdoor crops protected under row cover
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What’s been going on!
Wow! That was a long winters nap but we are still alive and will be coming back to market this Saturday! It has been a busy month and a half with lots of meetings, travel and time around the woodstove too.
We all had quiet and enjoyable holidays and then Betsy and I had our annual trip to the Southern Foodway Alliance’s Taste of the South event and meeting of the Fellowship of Southern Farmers, Artisans and Chefs the first weekend in January. Jennie got away a couple of times and then she and I went to the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group conference in Chattanooga where we presented, for the first time ever, our experience and tips about farm transition. That was only the first 3 weeks of January.
The weather has been busy and challenging too. That 200 hours of below freezing temperatures the first week of January pretty much killed everything we had out in the field while the crops in the tunnel mostly escaped unharmed but that is why we have not been at market lately. The ten inches of snow followed by what has been too much rain, has made getting ready for spring field planting difficult to impossible. We have been taking extraordinary measures including huge tarps, to try and dry fields out so we will be ready to turn some soil this coming week. Cross your fingers.
Jennie has been busy in the greenhouse seeding and in the sliding tunnels planting and seeding early crops. She has also been tweaking the annual crop plan, ordering seeds and generally getting everything ready to roll into spring. We are also happy to say that we have found two new folks to work with us this season and are excited to have them start next month. Here we go again!
Pictures of the Week
Another gray day, trying to keep soil dry
Anemones are back!
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