Thank Goodness for the Rain!

It’s almost as if I can hear the fields breathing a sigh of relief…  When the sun comes out again, it will be madness out there! The crops, the weeds–everything will take off.  Right now we get a little respite from weeding.  Just enough time to catch our breath.

We have finally added chickens to our little farm.  Last night we picked them up from farmer friends of ours.  They spent the night in the back of my truck and were excited to get out of it in the morning.  They’ve laid some eggs, which Justin has ‘reserved’ for the farmstand, even though I’m dying to eat one!  The hens are big and gorgeous ladies.  The eggs will not be certified organic but we will feed them primarily on veggies, bugs and organic layer pellets.  It’s lots of fun to have more animals on the farm, especially ones that are so completely different than the rabbits.  I have to be careful that I don’t let these entertaining creatures distract me too much from growing vegetables!

003One of the exciting developments in the past two weeks is the appearance of flowers on our tomatoes.  We had such a terrible tomato crop last year that the health and beautiful of our current plants seems miraculous.  Everything growing on the plastic mulch is doing so well, partially because of the increase heat under there but also because we’ve been able to irrigate them regularly.  The greens in the field have had to rely on their root systems to get to moisture under the hot dust.  Last week we finished planting the melons and the long-season brassicas (storage cabbage and broccoli).  When I think of all the tender roots we put into hot soil I’m even more thankful for this rain!

Tomorrow we open our farmstand at noon!  We’ll have salad mix and mustard greens, fresh eggs, radish, and plant starts for all you procrastinating gardeners.  If you’ve planted your garden and found you just need a couple more zucchinis or maybe a hollyhock next to your front door, we’ve got you covered.  We have limited supply of plants and we’re only offering them tomorrow and Saturday, so don’t miss out!  For the adventurous, we even have some popcorn plants!

Last year's hollyhocks at the farm.  We have a small number of hollyhock plants available for sale!

Last year’s hollyhocks at the farm. We have a small number of hollyhock plants available for sale!

 

 

Sunny Days and Thaws

Sunny days mean the snow is melting.  Two feet of slushy mess makes the walk to the greenhouse a bit treacherous, one mis-step off the path lands you in the snow.  It means we’re replacing our socks multiple times a day but that’s a small price to pay for sunshine.  Everyday more soggy, brown grass shows up along the edge of the greenhouse or the wash and pack shed.  It’s messy but fabulous!

Our greenhouse is up and going, with the heat mat keeping our plants at a nice 77 degrees.  The onions and shallots have been seeded as well as a whole host of herbs.  At night, when it’s 40 degrees, we cover everything up with plastic and a blanket and during the day we open the doors when it’s 90 degrees.  With the greenhouse up and going we begin months of constant monitoring: Running to open windows when a cloudy day suddenly becomes sunny or running to close the windows when a cold wind blows in.  The trials and mishaps of monitoring the greenhouse reminds me of the first coldframe we built.  We found these two 4′ x 4′ windows for free and decided to build a base for them.  They were incredible heavy and curved, so they weren’t the best windows for what we were doing.  When we finally finished our coldframe we were so excited that we immediately put our tender celeriac and onion seedlings inside.  That day turned out to be sunny and cold.  Justin and I were threshing beans and freezing in the shade of the barn.  When I went to check on the seedlings after a couple of hours, I found our plants melted inside a coldframe that had gotten to over 130 degrees inside.  Thinking it was such a cold day, we hadn’t opened the windows at all.  That night I tried to save the onions by meticulously separating them with tweezers.

As long as we make sure not to cook our plants, the heat that the greenhouse can offer is great for growing.  It allows us to grow tomatoes, eggplants and peppers and it’s not a bad place to hang out when we’re cold and missing those summer days.  Today I carried a lawn chair down and made a space for myself to sit and relax.  Now all I have to do is find my sunglasses.

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Hey-Zeus prefers to sit outside in the sun while we work in the greenhouse.