Hello CSA Members! We are excited to get this season underway. I hope all the details of this week's first pick-up go smoothly for everyone. And I especially hope you enjoy your greens!
This week your share will include:
- Arugula, a nice big bag
- Salad Mix, not our regular mix, I harvested what was available
Up until about a week ago, most of the farm work we could do was limited to inside the greenhouses. I think we were all getting a little stir-crazy waiting for Mr. Sun. And finally the sun did shine on EverGreen Farm. And the snow began to melt. And there were all the fields, just where we left them. Although they aren't looking so great just yet. No worries. Farmer Shain will have them spread with compost and manure in no time. Then he'll get them all tilled and planted. Just like he's done here with a section of Field #1.
Here's how it happened: The sun came out for a few days, just long enough to trick us into putting away our winter coats, and melted the snow off field #1. Then the warmth and gusty breezes helped dry out the ground enough for Shain to spread a layer of compost, get the ground tilled, and sew a planting of salad mix and spinach. Yes, all in a days work. Except Shain is still teaching school, so it was all in a 3 days after work for him. But he got it done, and just before the storms came in to get the ground soaked and muddy again. Which meant I didn't have to do the watering. :)
Shain asked me to take this picture above. On the left is the south half of Field #1 which he has been tilling to prepare for planting. But what he wants me to show you is the green area on the right. This is what's left of a cover crop which was planted last year. Cover cropping, also know as "green manure", is an essential part of sustainable agriculture. It fixes nitrogen back into the soil and adds organic matter.
This area is where we planted last year's crop of garlic. Once the garlic was harvested (in about the middle of August) , Shain planted it with cereal rye grass and filed peas. We watered the section for the remainder of the season allowing a lush green growth to take over. Then the grasses and peas are allowed to "winter kill" which basically means we leave them as is to be snowed on and start breaking down all winter long. Now in the spring, the area is enriched and ready to plant again.
And NOW, I am MOST happy to announce the completion of a big project that I've been looking forward to for a few months. This is the "hay barn". The metal frame was put up late last fall and into winter. And there it sat. And the snow got deep. And putting on the cover got moved to a spring project. And now it's spring! Yeah! I was so exited I almost forgot to take pictures. There I was, pulling on a rope with the men, when I realized my duty to MY READERS. "I have to take pictures of this." (Somehow they managed to pull over the cover without me.) It was really a cool process to watch.
They make it look so easy.
Question: How many Engineers, Masters Degrees, and Ph.D's does it take to pull the cover over a hoop house?
You don't want to know.
TA DA! Our new hay shed. Home to our tractor, manure spreaders, lots of equipment and tools, Shain's drift boat, a few ton of hay, and some new cats (just as soon as I find some).
While the men were working on this big job, a few women folk put their fingers to task on a more delicate project - thinning seed starts.
This is the first batch of Chinese Cabbage which was started back a month or so ago. It was our assignment to thin the seedlings down to only two plants per cell so the (remaining) seedlings will have room to grow.
On the left is a tray of starts after thinning. On the right is before thinning. This process is a little time consuming, but no one complains as the workers get to take home and eat all the baby seedlings they pull.
Meanwhile, as some of the guys put the finishing touches on the hay shed, others went over to work on greenhouse #5. This is also a project that got started at the end of last year. It's another BIG hoop house, nearly 100 feet long. This one will be a little different though, with roll up sides for ventilation.
On Monday, April 27th we had a large crew of workers out to the farm to get ready for our first day of harvesting. The food shed had acted as a storage shed all winter long and needed a good cleaning. Everything got scrubbed down, top to bottom. It is nice to see parts of the farm getting cleaned up and organized again. I like clean. I like organized.
And now here I am, on Tuesday afternoon. I just got in the house after harvesting, washing, and packaging your first share of produce. I have a few minutes to finish this blog post and then eat some lunch and go make deliveries. It was a good day. There was just enough salad to get you an 8 oz. bag, and plenty of Arugula. It's good to be back.
Have a good week and eat your veggies!