On this cold, wet first day of June, Ill take this time to update you on life here on the farm. In a nutshell, we've been busy.
Seeding trays for transplant production started as early as March for the onion family and celery, and once started it does not seem to end. Even at this stage there are still more trays to be started, depending on the planting schedule, successive plantings and to accommodate days to maturity with the goal of providing a good selection weekly.
After the snow melted, the gardens dried up earlier than we anticipated and field work began. We're still behind like all farmers, but compared to last year, another late start, we are a little ahead. Gone are the days that field work begins in April.
First the disc harrow, then the amendments, then the beds are raised and corn plastic mulch is applied. All sounds like a few easy steps, but very time consuming and weather dependent. About half the gardens are completed except for the plastic mulch. Applied by hand, it takes an hour per 100' row. Some rows have been completed and even planted.
The plastic mulch retains moisture, warms the soil and suppresses weeds. It even protects the beds from damage during torrential rain falls, not an uncommon event.
Greenhouse work starts early as well and is less dependent on outside conditions.
We have two, the first, known as the Little House (17' x 32') with an attached shed is where the transplant trays live protected from the elements with night time supplemental heat. Once they move out to benches or gardens, cucumbers move in. Already there is a row of cukes, in blossom and with sign of fruit.
The second greenhouse, known as the "Big House" (24' x 48") is where the tomatoes live with lots of basil. After just a couple if weeks, they're happy and healthy with blooms showing.
Greenhouses are prime real estate so vertical production is most cost effective. Both the cukes and tomatoes will grow upward, guided by twine and later on in the season, the twine will be dropped to allow more head space for further growth while the lower plant, already finished fruiting will lay on the soil. My first year with cucumbers, a plant 28' long was removed at the end of the season.
In the gardens you can find a few plantings of lettuce, green onion, spinach, kale, cabbage, baby bok choy, parsley, celery and zucchini. Most with row covers to create mini tunnels of protection from cold nights, but mostly pests. Almost all the potatoes are in the ground including fingerlings, a couple of red varieties, russets and the best, Yukon Gold.
The schedule will be set back with the cold and wet, but we needed the rain. Before yesterday, gardens were dust, the driest spring conditions we've ever seen. Carrots, radish, dill and cilantro were all seeded prior to the much needed moisture. We'll take the down time, seed a few more trays, plant another row of greenhouse cucumbers and tend the tomatoes as we await yet another sprint when conditions improve.
Our hope is to start up as planned in the third week of June. That said, we will likely have to outsource and the offering will be small, but that will change as time goes on. You will be notified of start up date.
We've lost a few shareholders to travel schedules, a new cottage and even a pending birth.
With our very passive marketing approach, my favour of you is to share with your friends and neighbours the opportunity to participate in our CSA.
All the best;