Here’s a bunch of photos from this past month. Those who follow us on the book of faces or instagrams might have seen some of these already. Lucky you. Reruns in the age of media bombardment ain’t all that bad…
May 19th we had a HIGHLY productive work day. A steady stream of CSA folks through the gates helped get lots of tasks knocked off the chore list.
I continue to be amazed by how great everything is doing this season. The plants in the ground are booming and so far the succession planning is going well. CSA members are impressed by the size of the bags they are picking up. One this past weekend asked, “This is all for us?!”
I’m going to say no more lest I jinx the whole thing. You can see the bounty for yourself. I’m proud.
This past Wednesday I sent out a call for a CSA workday this afternoon. At that time the forecast was for sunshine and temperatures the 60s. This morning, the high was forecast to be 51 with clouds. As folks started to arrive at 3pm, it was about 43 with wind. But they came!
When we first started the farm, and for the first year or two, our work days were well attended social affairs. People warned me the novelty might wear off and attendance might dwindle. Each year brought enough new members to keep everything growing and the dream of our little cooperative going, but the past year or two overall numbers have been down. If I’m being honest.
And so I was genuinely amazed when an intrepid group of folks (OTFUF veterans and new recruits) showed up to lend a hand planting, spreading compost, and doing some other general maintenance on the farm today. It felt like the good old days. I didn’t take my boots off and crack a beer until 7:30. Here’s to more days like this. If perhaps a bit warmer…
Liz, Elizabeth, and our new friend Julian (the 2nd) spread compost in the high tunnel.
Cora and a few other kids on the block who are all members of the
Clintonville Farmers’ Market Kids’ Garden Club
planted a few surprises* to welcome their friends back next month.
The girls brought their mom, not shown, who lent much appreciated help
watering in our wake.
*Thanks to Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds who provided us with a $50 credit to their online shop in support of the work we’re doing! Thanks to your generous support, we’ll be experimenting with some new varieties of corn, squash, beans, and carrots this season.
A peak under some of our caterpillars. Clockwise from top right – spinach under frost blanket (planted 2/5), potatoes under low plastic tunnel (planted 2/22: Thanks for the inspiration, Milan!), and the view inside our high tunnel panted with various herbs and greens in January).
Homeschool on the farm today included measuring and recording air and soil temperature in 5 different growing situations (high tunnel, low tunnel w/plastic, low tunnel with frost blanket, glass-topped cold-frame, and no cover.)
In keeping with the unusually mild winter weather we enjoyed this year, overnight temperatures are predicted to be above freezing for the foreseeable future. That means it’s time to get the farm back in action. Here’s what it looked like yesterday morning.
The chickens have wrecked havoc on the beds all winter, scratching and kicking straw and soil every which way. Going into our third season it was time to remark our beds anyway – some had shrunk by a couple of feet on the ends – so the girls kind of did us a favor.
With help from die-hard CSA member Melissa, we got started measuring, moving and prepping the soil, and put a few trays of greens in the ground.
These babies were hardened off and ready to embrace the cool crisp air. (clockwise from top left- radicchio, lacinato kale, buttercrunch lettuce, rainbow chard, and romaine)
Melissa pulled the plants from the trays…
…and I tucked them into their freshly (re)made beds.
Then we covered them with a frost blanket (sorry no photo), just in case Jack Frost comes back around this way.
New Year’s is all about fresh starts. For lots of people this means cleaning up what they eat. Following that tradition, Over the Fence held our first winter harvest salad party today.
After a short, finger-numbing time in the field, we shared a quick bite to eat with some of our most intrepid CSA members. We even sent them home with some goodie bags to keep them on the path to a healthy new year. Hope you find ways to be clean and green in twenty-sixteen!
There’s still a pile of compost on the driveway, but it’s less than half the size it was this morning. And it’s only there because I didn’t let folks mulch non-farm related areas. Those feel like personal responsibility. Not because we couldn’t have moved it all in a single day. So, once again, I am amazed by what a small group of people can accomplish when we come together and set our head, heart, and hands to it.
Here are a few highlights from the day.
The kids went worm hunting,
and they took the new wheelbarrow out for a roll.
Henry and Marc assembled our new farm toy – the broadfork.
Then Henry, David, and Andrew put it to work.
Cora, Melissa, Kate, Pam, Elizabeth, and I planted and transplated – leeks, cabbage, radicchio spinach, radish, kale, chard, peas, and fennel.
Then Carrie and I put them all to bed under a nice frost blanket.
And, of course, we moved about 7 yards of compost! (Go early team that didn’t get caught on film – Jess, Kathy, Damon, Emily, Mark, and Joanna, and Sarah!)
Last I posted here, the 2015 Compost Misogi was just a seed. That seed sprouted, took root, and will bloom this Sunday when CSA folks come by throughout the day to help us spread 10 yards of Price Farm Organics Zoo Brew compost all over the farm.
Everytime I talk or write about this, the voice inside my head sounds like a sports announcer, and I’m cool with that. This event has all the makings of a great test of endurance and determination – physical challenge + finite task.
Yesterday I picked up another load of burlap coffee bean sacks from Crimson Cup and laid them out in the paths between our rows. Don’t want folks sinking too deep in the early spring mud we’re sure to have. Sadly, it’s raining as I type, and we’re only 36 hours from the opening bell, but the pile is safely waiting for us under the world’s largest tarp. Thanks, Jenny! Something borrowed and blue for good luck, right?
(Like garlic which we are actively working on getting in the ground so we can reap the reward eight months from now…)
Early in the season our dear friend and CSA member Melissa suggested the idea of an x-ray machine that would allow us to see below the surface, to see the sweet potato tubers growing. I loved that idea and referenced it over and over in my mind and in conversation. Last week I broke down and pulled the soil from atop one of our 25 plants. The results were totally amazing. tubers that measured over a foot in length and weighed over 5 lbs.
Getting the rest of the crop out of the ground the past few days has been like digging for buried treasure. Now, the long wait ’til they are cured, sweetened by time (and some ambient heat and humidity in the basement next door), and ready to eat. You can be sure these will be part of our Thanksgiving feast.
Early June. Sweet potatoes were in the row to the right with the black plastic.
Pre-harvest. (Since June sweet potatoes moved north and south taking over where carrots (to the left/north) and garlic (to the right/south) were.