Thursday, March 31, 2011

What's New at the Farm? Spring slow to arrive

I'd like to show a picture that has drastically changed from last week but I can't. Nothing's really changed since last week. The cold temps have slowed the melting of the snow so not much hasn't changed around the farm. I did drive down to the compost area yesterday and found out where the turkeys have been all winter. They've been hanging around the compost piles, picking squash parts and seed out of the raw materials pile. What a great way to spend the winter!

Little signs of spring are around this week: Woodchucks, a few are out; sap is still running strong; lots of ducks in the patches of open water; and lots and lots of frost heaves. Our ducks are laying eggs and everyone in the henhouse is broody. It's time to think about spring chicks and ordering seed for the garden. Yes, I know I said no garden again this year, but I've just got to have a few things. New potatoes for one and summer squash for another I can't wait to get them both on the grill. Add some sweet onions, green beans and our usual planting of Brussels sprouts and you have our garden in a nutshell.

Of course we must add space for the gladiolas, storage onions, a few cucumbers, beets and fall carrots. Hmmm, it's getting bigger. That's OK. I'll just plant enough for the two of us and what we need to put in the freezer and call it good. Right. I'll put some extra summer squash and zucchini in for the hens, radishes in for me and peppers and tomatoes for Peggy. That's it. And maybe a few more blueberries.

An April Fool's Day snow storm is looming as I write this. Yippee. We haven't had much precipitation lately so it's not totally unexpected. Unwanted perhaps but not unexpected. I've seen a few people out raking their lawns -- something I actually enjoy doing. It's kind of a spring ritual.

Some years back we planted a hedge of Rosa rugosa roses here at the farm, and I liked them so much we planted them at home too. Our house is right on the road and the hedge blocks some of the noise, and keeps the critters from getting into the road too often. The rose bushes took a beating this year with all the snow being plowed on top of them so I think I'll trim them back and give them a shot of compost this year. They seem to thrive on the abuse the snow plow gives them and they don't mind the road salt so they do well in this application. They do tend to spread; so what we don't dig up and transplant somewhere else we simply mow with the lawn mower.

Planting in the greenhouse continues with micromixes and more tomatoes this week and peppers next week. Lots of peppers -- peppers for breeding, trials, seed production and growouts.

What's a grow out? A grow out is a quality check of seed we had produced off the farm. We "grow out" a certain number of plants and make certain these plants are what they should be before we sell them. A grow out usually consists of at least 150 plants so we get a good feel for how the crop looks and performs.

We have lots of crops this year so it looks like all our field will be full this year. Next year we'll add another field for our crops so that will help ease the land crunch. Adding 16 acres will allow us to plant some cover crops and do some rock picking and other projects I'd really like to see getting done. That's hard to do when every field is planted.

Until next week, Brian.

P.S. From last week, Peg corrected me that's not Pearl, that's Wilma.


Jerry said...

Hiya. I finally got my order in. Though I don't check the blog very often, I'm glad you're doing it.

I've been a seed customer for many years, off and on, more so over the past several years. I like your products, and I like doing business with you in my small-potatoes way.

I often shop at a local farm that, I think, is a decent customer of your - Verrill Farm in Concord, MA.

Anyway, keep 'em growing.

Many thanks, Jerry

Joshua Smith said...
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