How Has Weather Affected the Farm?

… and your food?

Like many folks in the Northeast, we got walloped by a huge ice storm early in February, and like many, we lost a lot of trees. A number of our elderly peach trees broke under the weight of the ice, but it was the white pines bordering the neighborhood to the East that took the biggest hit. Two large evergreens in front of our tenant houses also were badly damaged and will need to be removed. To date, we have spent several weeks cleaning up all the damage, with many limbs still stacked in big piles awaiting chipping. All of this needs to be cleaned up before the grass grows too high, making the job even tougher. This has given us a lot of added work to do in our already busy Springtime rush. I know many people in our area are experiencing the same thing–we just might have more than the average homeowner.

All the snow we had this Winter also kept us from getting to some of the outdoor projects we had planned on tackling in our “off season”. It did not, however, keep us from pruning the apple orchard–this was just a lot more effort, having to hike through the snow to get there!

The cold temperatures and Winter snow blanket have led to a delayed Spring this year–which appears to be two to three weeks behind what we think of as “normal” in our area.  In addition to the lateness of the season, we had almost 6 inches of rain that saturated already wet soil. Some plantings were washed out by this rain, and will have to be sown again. We have thousands of seedlings that have been transplanted to the fields between rain storms. The greenhouses are still stuffed full of plants waiting their turn to head out into the great outdoors. We are really hoping that this week will be sunny, and that the fields will dry enough to do the many essential early season farm tasks that will set the stage for the next wave of planting. Come on sunshine!

Because Mother Nature has been a little rough on us these past few months, we have decided to move the start date of the CSA season back a week, to the second week of June. This will allow our crops to mature just a little more before we start sending them out to you and your families. We are disappointed, as we expect some of you to be as well, however, we think the wait will be worth it once we are rewarded with the beautiful, delicious, fresh produce of Spring.

Rain, Rain, Go Away…

transplantsAfter last Wednesday’s 5.75 inches of rain we’re looking for lots of sunshine and some wind to help dry the fields out so we can get back to planting. Our transplant wagon is full of seedlings ready to be planted, with even more awaiting their transition from greenhouse to wagon.

This week will be a very busy, transplanting 1000s of plants–IF the fields dry out enough for our tractor to get out there. We hate to work the soil when it is too wet, as this can ruin the soil structure. We work so hard to build that beautiful soil that it hurts us to spoil it by working the ground when conditions are not proper. Come on sunshine!

Spring Isn’t the Only Time to Plant

chinese cabbage plantingWhile most everyone else is starting to think of Back to School, changing leaves, and pumpkins, we are thinking of a most Spring-like activity—planting! Fall is a great time to plant—cooler, more moderate temperatures give tender seedlings a good start. Because the day length is shorter, it can take crops longer to grow…but greens planted now should last us through the Fall, and maybe even into Winter or next Spring.seedling

Yesterday we transplanted hundreds of bok choi, pac choi and Chinese cabbage. Tomorrow it will be time for the lettuce.  We may even get a chance to sow some Kale! That would be exciting since the evil harlequin beetles ate the entire first crop…in yougo!