Ups and Downs and Ups of Early Spring...


Well, it's not really early spring anymore, but since it was so cold late into April, it still feels pretty early!  Last week was our last semi-quiet week on the farm, and now we are in full steam mode until the fourth of July.  So far in the field, we have peas, lettuce, spinach, beets, carrots, chard, kale, collards, cabbage, broccoli, radishes, turnips, and tons of greens in the ground.  Waiting their turn in the greenhouse and garage are potatoes, onions, leeks, scallions, shallots, and tons more lettuce, broccoli, and all sorts of greens.  Whew... you can get tired just thinking of it all!  Fortunately, the weather, while a bit dry, is certainly pleasant enough to be working in! Matt laying down anchors for row cover.  Last year we had terrible flea beetle issues in our brassicas, so this year everything's going under row cover!

The finished field... this cover will keep off the bugs and provide a few degrees of cold protection.

The big challenge we faced this week is that the 4 acres of pasture and aisles we so carefully seeded completely failed to germinate, which is weird and quite frustrating.  All the areas in the field that should be coming in nice and green are sad and brown-looking.  This led us to a big rush to track down seed to replant these areas and means we are going to be extra busy during an already busy week.  Let's keep our fingers crossed the seed we are replanting has better luck and we get some rain in the next few weeks so these grasses can get a good start!

Some of the rye that did germinate... it's doing well (and is 4" higher already!).

This also means our chickens won't be grazing inside the electric fence, but will be out in the larger pastures, which gives them a shade less protection than we planned for, so we are working out how to do a bit more fortification.  Fortunately, the hens have really settled into being good outside birds and are grazing and digging up a storm.  We've kept them in the yard to acclimatize these first few weeks, but they are making the big trip out to the back field tomorrow!

The ladies have overcome their initial fear of the sky, sun, and grass, and are loving life now.  More eggs come each day!

Greenhouse seeding is coming along well--we have some pictures below of some of the process.  As of this weekend, the greenhouse was over half empty, but we've repopulated it pretty quickly with more eggplant and peppers, tomatoes, and early fall plantings of leeks, chard, and kale!

Our almost empty greenhouse Sunday.

This afternoon's project--seed 60 flats!  (Mission accomplished!)

Maryellen repotting peppers into larger containers

Carefully lifting by the leaves...

Starting to plant apples!  We are putting in a few trees each year and slowly building towards an orchard.  Look for apples in those 2018 CSA boxes! :)

We had a midnight visitor... anyone recognize the bite marks?  We almost think it was a bunny standing on their hind legs...


Cleaning House!

It was a busy weekend on the farm as the weather starts breaking.  Yesterday, we headed over to NOFA-NY's Syracuse CSA fair and got to meet a lot of great folks.  We love seeing how more and more people are getting interested in CSA.  We might be biased, but it really is a great way to connect with your local farms and enjoy delicious seasonal food! With today's beautiful days, a bit of the fields are starting to poke out through the snow.  (Since we are at 1400 feet elevation, we have a bit longer a thaw than everyone living down in tropical Syracuse or Utica.)  Matt used the break in the weather to finish cleaning the greenhouse in preparation for firing it up this week.  We have all our trays, seeds, and soil ready--we just have a few more heating system tweaks and we are good to go!  I'm working hard to control myself from starting seeds too early.  Last year we had such good early growth the plants were ready before the weather was!  This year we are waiting an extra 5 to 10 days on our first seeding round.

Greenhouse spring cleaning!

While Matt played in the greenhouse, I finalized (for the sixth time) our irrigation order (I definitely got the bum end of the deal).  Each year I tell myself I'm going to pawn off irrigation planning to a high school algebra class, but each year I forget to do it until midway through the process.

We survived last season with our existing irrigation system, but the severity of the drought definitely made us realize that even though we have a pond, we need to be more frugal with water (since the pond is not limitless).  This means changing around our set-up quite a bit, and each change involves solving for a range of variables (flow rates, water pressure, length of the lines, and more).  Hopefully we have perfect weather this summer (3 days of sun followed by 1 day with a gentle 3/4" of rain) and don't need all this irrigation, but we want to be prepared just in case!

Early Fall Photo Tour

Fall seems to have snuck up on us.  We had our first frost (it was a light one, fortunately), we are starting on the winter squash harvest, and crops are switching places (the eggplant are giving up and the spinach is growing faster by the day).  The weather seems to be getting more normal--it's actually TOO wet now to work up the fields (which is giving us some time to get the tractor repaired).  Here's some October 1 photos to share what's going on around the fields!

Early June

We are all over the place now!  This time of year, it's all about keeping as many balls up into the air at one time as you can.  For example, this week we:  direct seeded, ordered more seed, transplanted, started more transplants, blended more potting soil, weeded by hoe, weeded by tractor, changed around the tractor, roto-tilled, laid out beds, rock-picked, harvested, and... ...well a whole lot more.  Hence, the somewhat random photo montage of today's blog!

This weekend will see us at the Cazenovia market with a whole bunch of crops, and next week are our FIRST CSA distributions!!!

Click on any pictures below if you want to see them close up...