Friday, April 17, 2009

What's New At The Farm? 4/15/09

Hard to believe April is half over. Spring seems to creep up faster every year. Seems like just yesterday I was fussing about the ponds still locked in ice and today I could take my boat out. The birds are pretty much all back; swallows should be here this week and I saw my first turkey vulture last week; looking for a winter killed lunch. Raptors, ducks, geese, killdeer, robins and blackbirds are showing up in droves now. About the only thing I haven't seen yet are woodchucks but I expect they'll be out this week. Lots of deer moving around now; I see them most mornings on my drive into work.

The planting continues in the greenhouses. Monday we ground up what was left in the polytunnel and will replant shortly. We've time to get some greens growing before tomatoes go out there. Last week we planted lettuce, leeks and lots of flowers in greenhouse number 3 and this week will see more peppers, lettuce and still more flowers.

For field work we start those projects we didn't get done last fall like pulling plastic. We also are starting compost application and ground prep on some of our earlier fields. The fields have dried out really nice this spring and field work starts as I write this. Last years' crops are still in the field but they are dead, drying and generally look bad. Once called surface trash; now referred to as crop residue or surface residue these spent crops will be turned under to start the process all over again.

The cover crops that we planted last year, the ones that died, become organic matter turned under to feed our soils. The covers that we planted, that are now regrowing in anticipation of warmer temps and adequate rainfall, do not perceive the ever looming plow and will give their lives to further enrich ours soils and feed our crops.

Probably the saddest looking crops are last year's cabbages. Not only did they freeze and die, they smell like it; I'll be glad to turn them under. The onions don't small very good either. The best smell will be the newly turned soil; that's the best thing about spring.

The fields are filling up fast here this year. Fields 9 (where the peppers were last season) and field 13 (pumpkins in '08) will be all tomatoes this year. Field 11 (tomatoes in '08) will be the pumpkins and melons will go up across the road, along with some of the flowers. The field that is outside my office window will not get sweet corn; too high, I can't see out from mid-summer on. Although I'm sure the farm crew appreciates that.

The sweet corn can go in field 5 which is right in Rob and Janika's back yard. It will be interesting to see if the new deer fence alters the behavior of the sweet corn predators. Probably not but it might anyways.

Until next week, enjoy the spring. Brian

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