Saturday, February 20, 2010

February Happenings

Start the Planting
Well the season has begun at Fair Share Farm. Except for a few back orders, the seeds have arrived and greenhouse has been started. Over 7,000 onion plants have grown into seedlings, on their way to a mid-March planting in the field. The first shares of lettuce also are now popping through the potting soil on their way to your plate. At the end of the month we start the broccoli and herbs, and before you know it the greenhouse will be full.

For the next several weeks we will tend the greenhouse while continuing the house remodel. This latest round includes finishing some fine points in the dining room and kitchen, the construction of 2 built-in bookcases, window treatments, ceiling fan installation, window installation and finalizing some outside siding and trim. We are looking forward to an even more comforable home to cook and rest in at the end of a long farm day.

Planning. design and maintenance for the season will continue too, as we work to keep Rebecca's grandfather's tractor going into it's 50 year, look at long term building improvements, ready ourselves for more sheep, and try to stay on top of the latest happenings in the world of sustainable agriculture. We also are continuing our intern interviews and working with the Core Group to prepare for the March 21st sign-up meeting.

Lettuce seedling

Onion starts

Over the years we have spent much time in our newsletters and blogs talking about the many four legged pests that damage our crops. The addition of Rocky has slowed down and even helped stop crop losses from deer, racoons and opossums. But these animals number only in the hundreds. Our challenge this year (and in the future) is managing voles. These ground dwelling mammals are quite literally everywhere on the farm, burrowing just below the surface, and eating many of our vegetables that grow in or on top of the ground---like carrots, beets, sweet potatoes and fennel. While it is hard to estimate, I would guess their population in and around our fields is certainly in the thousands. More on these pesky varmits as the year progresses.

Vole burrows near the strawberry patch (typical)

They are bigger than a mouse and smaller than a rat (yeck).

Tracks in the Snow
While walking Rocky this morning it was hard not to notice the many animal tracks in the snow. The slushiness darkens the tracks and accentuates their shape. Below is a sampling of what is roaming the farm.




Wild Turkey

Rocky and some small critter (?)

Find the dog in this picture.