Getting Ready for Spring

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Its been progressively warmer over the last several days. I’ve started to make it a habit to check the weather each week for the upcoming week and then again before the start of each day. This is helping me to plan for the week more accurately. The sun is shining right now and the snow melting!It will get to a high of 50 degrees today!

Most of our plans are complete for the beginning of the season. Its been challenging figuring out where to purchase compost from. Since we will not have any large machinery on the farm, we cannot turn our own compost pile (it’d be much too laborious). We are looking into large scale vermicompost production (we are getting our first humble pound of red worms in the mail today!) for the future. For this year though, we decided to go with composted poultry manure from Morgan Compost far, far away. We are paying top dollar for it, but with 40 yards coming our way, we should not have to order any more all year.

We still have to figure out how to put up a simple 3-season high tunnel for the raspberries we’ve ordered. We are putting in 100 plants this year–3 different varieties. If we cover them with minimal protection, we will be able to have raspberries earlier and later in the season than if they were unprotected. I’ve been reading that the varieties we are planting are supposed to have very high sugar content and will even produce this year! We haven’t figured harvesting these little gems into the plans–but we’ll figure that out as harvest time gets closer.

We’re also finalizing plans on our transplant greenhouse that we will hopefully have up in the next couple of weeks. The issue right now is whether we can get holes in the ground for the posts. Mid-Feb is not the ideal time to be digging in the ground (surprise!) Doug, Andrew’s Dad, suggested possibly using an auger to do it. We shall see. Unfortunately, there isn’t much of an alternative–we can’t fit all the transplants we need indoors.

Last week we started green and purple kohlrabi, green and purple bunching onions, radicchio, endive, escarole, tuscon, curly and red russian kale indoors. The seedlings were germinated in tight rows in trays on a light shelf in the house. This week I plan to prick them out and transplant them into soil blocks where they will do most of their growing before getting set in the ground. I’ll also start some parsley seed this week. The next round of transplants won’t start until the first week in March.

I’m also hoping the snow will melt enough so I can get quick hoops back over the spinach that was planted in the fall. The quick hoops will increase them temp underneath by 10 degrees or more and keep the spinach protected from major frost and snow–aka–sooner harvest. I’m already learning a lot about things we could have set up in the fall of last year to ensure a sooner harvest this spring. These details will be key to expanding our season and our income.

In other news, we will be participating in a national blog site called ‘Freshman Farmer’, sponsored by Peaceful Valley Farm Supply, Inc. They ask a handful of new farmers around the country to blog about their experiences for a year in order to document the process of starting a new farm. We will basically be posting the same info on both sites.  It might be interesting for folks that read our blog to read what the other freshman farmers are doing as well. We should be up and running soon: Freshman Farmer.




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