Finally some gorgeous spring weather after so much of the cold and muddy. Storms were all around us last week although we missed the deluge that others have seen. The paths we spaded last fall to allow excess water to drain out of the growing beds seem to be working. One place that we hadn’t spaded was in the potato beds, so Thursday we bailed the potato trenches by hand. After moving literally a ton of water, they are now drying out. All of the spring crops are in the fields but growing slowly with the cool temps. Looks like our latest planting of peas rotted, but we’ve got four other beds growing. Now is the time when we begin to fret about whether all of our winter planning combined with the vagaries of climate will lead to the season starting on time. With three weeks away from our planned first distribution, the mood at times is tense. So far, we think we’ll make it. In the meantime, we continue with the spring chores. This week we thinned the direct seeded crops: arugula, beets, chard, rapini, radishes, and turnips.
Our transplants have been extra nice this year – we think we’ve finally found a potting soil combination that grows a healthy plant quickly. Microleverage compost from Sedalia, MO and organic worm castings in the potting soil and effective microorganisms in the greenhouse water appear to be making the difference. The lettuces in this photo were particularly vibrant – it was hard not to eat them instead of planting in the field. So far we’ve planted over 900 feet of head lettuce with many more successions on the way.
The greenhouse is full of the summer crops: all kinds of tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, eggplant, summer squash, zucchini and cucumbers. With the sun shining again they are beginning to catch up with the calendar. As soon as these next couple of cold nights pass they’ll move to the coldframe in preparation for field planting. So far we’ve just planted one bed of cherry tomatoes who are safely snug under a layer of heavy row cover.
When its too wet to do anything in the fields, we continue our work on our old barn. This spring our goal is to build a permanent roof over our wash area and the old creamery. In past seasons, we’ve gotten by with a temporary canopy like the ones many use at farmers markets. While they served us well as a quick fix to our need for shade, the canopies have a lot of drawbacks including only shading a 10’ x10’ area and being very buoyant in a strong wind. We plan to use mostly recycled materials in the roof extension: metal tin and wooden posts from the old equipment barn along with used decking donated by one of our CSA member angels.
Rocky, the farm guard dog in training is proving to be a quick learner, if a bit headstrong at times. He loves visitors, young and old, and for a puppy is pretty well-behaved. Today he did well with a couple of young visitors at the farm while we searched for frogs up at the pond and played in the yard. His tendencies to become over-excited seem to coincide with cooler weather. A sunny day even in the 70s finds him hunkered down in the shade of the picnic tables. Undoubtedly he will be pretty much a nocturnal animal once the summer heat sets in.
And finally a word from our friends at the BADSEED:
ATTENTION CONSCIOUS EATERS & CONNOISSEURS OF LOCAL FLAVOR:You are invited to the BADSEED Farmer's Market Season Opening!!Friday - May 2nd - 4:30 to 9 PM1909 McGeeKansas City, MO64108(in the Crossroads)Local organic delights including succulent and exotic greens, heirloom sweet potatoes, fresh flowers, herbs, home-made baked goods, artisanal goat cheese, free-range meats and eggs, and organic soaps & beauty products!!!Featuring live music, art, and prepared (local organic) meals by Eden Alley Cafe (http://www.edenalley.com/)For more info please go to http://www.badseedfarm.com/See you there!!