Happy Back-to-Winter and Farmers Always Learning...

Things look more normal out there today with snow down!

On the farm, we are heavy in planning this month—looking at everything that went well (or didn’t) from last year and retooling our systems to suit as we get all our kohlrabis in a row for summer. It honestly gets so busy some weeks in the growing season, that if it wasn’t for the helpful notes Winter Matt and Maryellen make now, frazzled Summer Matt and Maryellen would be losing running around even more like maniacs!

Kohlrabi Truck.jpg

The other big thing we do in winter is hit some farming conferences and catch up on reading all our farm magazines. This is one of the fun aspects to being in a field where you need to be such a Jack (or Jill) of all trades—there is an infinite amount to learn, and as soon as you are fluent in one area, you realize how little you know about the next thing!

We are particularly interested this year in the migration of different crops into our region (this is a good thing, because we are always looking for new things to grow) as well as pest and disease migration (not a good thing, but we need to be ready for them!). It really makes us appreciate how globally connected even rural Fenner is with the opportunities and problems of the rest of the world.

Both of us were able to catch some workshops last week covering water quality, greenhouses and high tunnels, and irrigation. With water access so strongly on our mind after last summer’s drought and our concern over new wells going in for a subdivision above our watershed, we are intensely interested in learning any new strategies to better manage ours for conservation and quality.

One surprise for us coming out of acidic NH is how alkaline our water is here (7.9!), and how much impact this has on plants—especially tender greenhouse babies. Alkaline water apparently has health benefits for people, but can keep baby plants from being able to get all the nutrients out of the soil. We’ll be adding a drop of organic citric acid to some of our irrigation water this spring and charting any plant growth differences!

If you are local and also jones-ing for some winter food for thought for your gardens, we’ll be sharing a couple cool events coming up this winter. One of these is the Small Farm and Homestead Fair over at Morrisville on Saturday, March 4th. You can learn more about it at www.smallfarmandhomestead.com/. There will also be a CSA fair there, and we’ll be talking a bit about how to get more out of your gardens.

Until later, Happy end-of-January!