Spring on the Farm – 2011 Edition

The view heading down to the farm (click to enlarge).

Things are beginning to stir in the fields at Round Earth. The weather is typical spring for our area  – stretches of warm weather, then cold,; wicked wind storms and a little precipitation. Here is a little update on whats happening this time of year on the farm, accompanied by a few photos to give you a visual.

Our relatively small, ground driven, old time manure spreader has proven to be very reliable.

In the field

Between the storms, I’ve been out in the field discing, clearing rocks, spreading manure and getting ready for planting. Field work is always highly subject to the conditions at hand. Working in windy weather is out of the question; if its rained recently the soil can be too wet, clogging and clumping in the discer or other equipment. If the soil gets too dry tilling becomes impossible. We use several pieces of machinery to prepare the fields including a discer, a spader and a rototiller – and each has an ideal condition it likes to operate in. In the spring before irrigation water arrives, timing is critical to get the work done when the soil is at the right moisture level.

In the greenhouse

A lot of the work this time of year is going on in the greenhouse – planting started at the beginning of march and continues at a steady pace according to a carefully developed schedule of planting based on what we plan to grow this year. The heated greenhouse is where all our long season and heat loving crops get their start – tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, flowers, oni0ns and more, plus lots of broccoli, cauliflower, lettucees of all types, cabbage, bok choi and other chois, chard kale and probably a few other things i forgot are all growing well. Lots of crops get sown directly in the field in late april – salad, carrots, beets, peas, spinach and more, but for now we are focused on the transplanted crops.

We are just starting to repot the tomatoes and peppers into larger ‘jumbo’packs that will house them until we get them out into the field starting in mid may. This seeding and transplanting work is time consuming but lets us grow a huge variety of crops. We already have dozens and dozens of unique varieties planted from the many peppers and tomatoes to the varied chard and kale. Its truly amazing the variety of crops available to us as growers, and we love trying out new crops, so along with the staples we know you all love like cucumbers, salad, tomatoes and corn, CSA members can be sure to expect a few unusual varieties like the delicious orange cauliflower (called cheddar), a napa cabbage, or garlic scapes.

The greenhouse is steadily filling with flats of seedlings. I cleared the center bench this year to make more room for the transplants.

What’s new in the field this year?

This year we should have a good crop of raspberries and blackberries – we hope to include these on a regular basis in the fruit box. This year we are devoting our large field hoophouse to cucumbers grown on trellises and melons. We are growing over 20 varieties of cucumbers and hope have melons for members at least once during the season.

Projects

Also new this year is a big new hoophouse we are putting in close to the harvest area, adjacent to the seeding greenhouse. this will be 30’x72′ and have a plastic sheet top that homes to the ‘hip height’ board along the sides of the greenhouse. We begin construction on this in the next week and plan to plant it with tomatoes, peppers and eggplants as soon as its complete. Other projects this spring include a small seed house, a chicken fence, and trellising for the berries.

CSA Signup Open

The 2011 CSA signup is open on the website. We have a limited number of spots available, so if you want to sign up, act now and not at the last minute. If you can pay in full before May 1st, we offer a 10% discount – otherwise you make a $150 deposit then pay the balance during the season.

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