Spring Growth

Spring Growth

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wetness at the Farm

Hello all,
Here we are, WET. What does wet mean to a farm? Mainly it means that we can't drive the tractors in the fields. Driving tractors in wet fields creates compaction, and if you add field work to that driving, you can damage the tilth of the soil. Soil likes to by crumbly and aggregated, when a tractor drives over it wet, and then passes an implement through it, the soil smears into hard chunks and shiny flat surfaces. Hard chunks and shiny flat surfaces hardly germinate seeds well. So, we must be patient and not go too crazy with plow fever because we would pay for the negative effects of working the soil wet for the whole season, and probably beyond.

Usually by this time in April we have seeded 2 generations of peas, and the first big wave of radishes, arugula, broccoli raab, salad mix,boc choi, hakurei turnips, and spinach. We've gotten the spinach in, and 1 generation of peas (whew!), but nothing else. On Saturday morning Paul popped out of bed around 6am and dashed out of the house muttering about getting beds made before it rained. I fed the kids and got the fire going, and then joined him in the field. He had managed to rough in about 30 beds and I jumped on the tractor to finesse them while Paul started seeding the ones that I finished. All in all we managed to get 3 beds of spinach, and 2 beds of parsnips in before the rain made the seeders too muddy to work. We were happy to get what we got done. But, we are still pretty well behind where we usually are this time of year. So, we'll see what happens. It's bound to stop raining sometime, and those early crops grow fast once they're in the ground and there is a littlesun.

On a positive note, the cooler is full of lots of wintered-over crops that we'll give out in the first couple of weeks of the CSA. (In addition to freshly grown produce, never fear!) The tunnel prep is also going great - usually we're struggling to get the tunnels all worked up for early tomatoes, peppers, basil, and cucumbers because the dry fields are drawing us away. Not so this year. Those tunnels are ready. Another job that often gets shunted into the farming cracks is "spotting up" flowers and vegetables in the greenhouse. Spotting up is a fairly time consuming, nit picky job that is hard to prioritize when the fields are dry. This year our spotting up is completely up to date and lovely to behold. The equipment has also gotten lots of extra attention this spring.

So, the long and short of this is that because we are all caught up on the jobs that can be done when the soil is wet, we are primed to pump out all the field work once the fields dry out. As of right now we don't think that the crops will mature much later, we'll just have to do about 3 weeks of field work in one week. That's ok. After all of this rain we'll be happy to do it.

On another wonderful note, Flannery Hysjulien, a fellow CSA member has been working on putting some events together at the farm. Here is what she has to say: " We are in the process of planning some exciting events on the farm this summer. If you are interested in helping with workshops for children, presentations on cooking/food preservation, or weekly meal plans, please contact Flannery Hysjulien, fhysjulien@me.com or (607) 379-3745." I can attest that she is a very good person to work with, and if you have any interest in helping with the items that she has outlined above, don't hesitate to contact her. Paul and I would absolutely love to see some member- driven events here at the farm this year.

Ok, thanks all and see you pretty soon!
Evangeline and Paul

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