Ah, sweet spring! So much has been happening here that I hardly know where to begin. I hope to keep this blog going despite the myriad challenges and complexities of getting this whole operation up and running. (Fortunately, I have lots of help!) The good news is that everything we put into place last year and all the knowledge we’ve collected so far has made this spring’s work seem a little less daunting. But with all the excitement and care of a new family member, Grammie has little extra time! I hope to persist with the writings and photos whenever possible!
Last week ended with a spring burn on the last day burning is allowed. What is it about fire that brings out our inner pyromaniac?
Meanwhile, with the advent of warmer temperatures, the plantings in the greenhouse have exploded in the past couple of weeks. After mulching with a thick layer of compost, the carrots have doubled in size, and we are cutting lettuce and baby chard, kale and beet greens, and pulling up a few bunching onions to go into our salads every day. I’m noticing a craving for greens has taken over my longing for all the warm soups and stews and root vegetables of the past season.
Carrots in the greenhouse have doubled in size the past week!
- Deer tongue lettuce. One of our favorites!
We’ve weeded out the asparagus bed and layered it thickly with compost as well. We are already being rewarded with many sweet stalks. The adjoining rhubarb bed is also growing like mad and soon we will be enjoying the tangy bite of rhubarb pies and crisps from the patch. We even use it in sauces for our main dishes!
- The asparagus bed has been weeded and composted. The rhubarb is coming up.
Shelby is going to be a real farm girl! She's already spending time with us as we hoe and rake and do the work on the farm. Pretty soon she'll be helping!
The first succession of peas got planted in the U-Pick area about a week ago, and they are already coming up. We’ll be putting in another planting in a few days. Our CSA customers can save a little money and have some fun picking their own peas, green beans and cherry tomatoes this year, as well as fresh herbs from a new area we’re planting just for this purpose. People can also opt to have us pick these items for them along with the rest of their weekly veggie pickup for an added charge.
We are very fortunate to have a number of friends who like to come and help us. On Sunday they helped us to plant 36 raspberry canes on the slope in front of our house. Within the next two or three years, we hope for a bountiful harvest of one of our favorite fruits!
- We planted 36 raspberry canes. Nova, a summer bearing, and Heritage, an everbearing variety.
Our latest acquisition was a six-row seeder designed by Eliot Coleman. We used it yesterday to plant beds of lettuce mix, spinach, and arugula. Oh yes! Once we figured it out, it worked like a charm and will save us much time and backbreaking labor. We also plan to use it to plant living mulch such as clover between the rows this year. Living mulches add nutrients to the soil, keep down weeds and retain moisture. The bees love it! And an added benefit of planting clover is that it can be walked on! We will mow it every so often to keep it under control. It dies when frost comes, leaving the soil areated. It will also hold the soil in case of flooding, which has been a problem in some areas of our gardens in the past. (Not this year, fortunately…)
Michael and Ross trying out the new 6-row seeder.
- Cleaning up the beds and adding compost to plant lettuce, arugula and spinach.
Michael, Ross, Richie and Paul worked hard all afternoon clearing out all the weeds in the lower part of the garden where they'd taken hold!