The weather has warmed up and April has brought a huge amount of activity to the farm. Our first big field plantings go in during late April and all my time up till now has been devoted to preparing the fields – spreading manure, disking, clearing rock etc. Now everything has been disked and its time to start spading! The spader is our main bed preparing machine, using a series of heavy spades that follow an oval path as the tractor creeps along – mimicking the technique of double digging beds. When completed at the right moisture conditions in healthy soil, the spader breaks up the soil down to around 12-14 inches, leaving a fine seedbed on the top.
Here is a video I took of the spader in action – thats me running the spader while i left the camera rolling in the grass, then theres a close up of the bed i just made. in the background you can see several more beds:
In the Greenhouse
This month wever also been very busy planting and transplanting in the greenhouse. We’re busy seeding almost everything now, including summer crops like cucumbers, squash, and annual flowers. Meanwhile we are transplanting our earlier plantings of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and other crops – its still too early for those crops to go out. Even with the protection of a hoop house, i’ve learned not to rush my spring plantings – although we are beginning to put out our early cold weather transplants like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, kale onions and chard.
Projects, Projects, Projects
Last week we had uber-traders Gary and Kiki on the farm, working off their season of produce in one power-packed week of farm projects. The big project this spring is the construction of the trellising for the berries we planted last spring. The trellis was started last year, but needed posts pounded in and end posts needed to be set in concrete to support the tensioned wires that form the trellis.
The berries did great last summer and this year we expect some serious production. Although its possible to grow blackberries and raspberries without trellises, you wind up with a giant berry patch thats hard to sort thru and hard to pick. Our T shaped trellis system will allow us to separate the second year, fruit producing canes, from the first year ‘primocanes’ that will produce next year’s crop. The trellis also makes harvest much easier to harvest the berries! Fruit members this year should get some farm raspberries and you can all track the progress of the berry research project at http://berries.roundearth.com.
A New Hoop House!
This year we applied for and received an NRCS grant to construct a field high tunnel. This new plastic covered structure is 30’x72′ and will be planted primarily with tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and a few flowers and other items. Our existing field house (20’x200′) will be full of trellised cucumbers and melons. The hoops and anchor posts are in place and the new hoop house should be up soon. I will post pictures here or to Facebook when I have them. Speaking of facebook – If you use facebook, don’t forget to ‘Like’ Round Earth/Turkey Hill CSA there – go to this address and click ‘Like’ – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Round-Earth-Turkey-Hill-CSA/55540219189 – once you do this you will see any new messages and photos I post on your Facebook wall.
In the Field
This week Gary and Kiki did the first big weeding of the season, cleaning up the garlic (see picture in the slideshow below). We also planted our potato crop this week and i finished up with the field discing. As soon as I have the beds ready we will begin transplanting and seeding our earliest crops. The first transplants are itching to get in the ground and its time for our 1st direct seeding of salads, spinach, beets, carrots etc. It looks like we will wait until after the current cold front clears our area before planting – the temperature is predicted to drop into the 20s for the next two nights
Time to Sign Up, Last Chance for a Discount
Remember that paying in full before May 1st gets you a 10% discount on the membership and really helps the farm with our spring expenses before we have any produce to sell. Even if you aren’t paying in full, please send your $150 deposit to reserve a spot if you plan to join the CSA this summer. We do have limited spots and it helps us to know how many people have signed up, although I do know that many of you will wait until the last minute. If you are interested in work trade for part of your membership fee – we are happy to work with you, email or call for details. Tell your friends about the CSA, will give you a thank you bundle of flowers (tell them to mention you when signing up!).
Sign up for the CSA now at http://www.turkeyhillcsa.com.php53-27.dfw1-2.websitetestlink.com/2011-turkey-hill-csa-signup-start
Click any image to enlarge!
Click any image to enlarge!