The 2017 Farm Roller Coaster Is About to Begin!

This week, with the snow finally melted and the heater suddenly turned on full blast, is the week that always feels like that moment you are about to crest the first peak of a roller coaster. We’ve been clicking-clacking up the slope, getting all prepared for things to be underway, but there’s always that one moment when all that goes through your mind (or mine at least, since I’m a little scared of roller coasters) is “I’m not ready!” But of course, it’s too late by then!

This week is our coaster peak on the farm, where *everything* is about to take off! With just two hot days, the fields greened up, the final supply and equipment orders arrived (and are piling up in our driveway, since it’s still too wet to get a lot of it back into the fields!), the chickens are coming home to roost, the greenhouse officially overflowed with plants, and our first crew member starts Monday!

Like the peak of the roller coaster’s jittery excitement, we know spring is about to take us on a ride! Here’s some of what went on these past few weeks getting ready for it…

 We had a truly impressive amount of mud appear last week, complete with multiple boots lost to it. Fortunately, most of it dried out on Monday!

We had a truly impressive amount of mud appear last week, complete with multiple boots lost to it. Fortunately, most of it dried out on Monday!

Sunday’s beautiful sunshine decimated all those nasty snow piles (for now, we never quite trust that the snow is over until we hit the safety of May). We can’t believe that three weeks ago we were out shoveling feet of snow (we had 34" up here!) off the greenhouses.

 It got quite foggy when those 34 inches of snow melted!

It got quite foggy when those 34 inches of snow melted!

Right now we are solidly in mud season, which hopefully passes with a few more days of warm weather. In general, we need four consecutive dry days to allow the soil to dry enough for fields to be worked, or six days after the amount of rain we had last week. If the weather cooperates, we might have a chance to start preparing the ground early next week (fingers crossed on that).

Our baby greenhouse—the small one that we heat—is maxed out to its limits with its first round of seedlings! This week, we start moving some of the hardier seedlings (onions, leeks, and scallions) out to the unheated greenhouse out in the field where they will live for the next three weeks before planting time. The onions and leeks are also in need of a haircut—trimming them down helps they grow stockier and sturdier.

 Freshly re-potted tomatoes, in three weeks they'll be ready to go into the ground of the high tunnel!

Freshly re-potted tomatoes, in three weeks they'll be ready to go into the ground of the high tunnel!

Speaking of the big greenhouse, we have one last winter market coming up next Saturday, which means one last big harvest in the field high tunnel, then we’ll start flipping over those beds to be ready to plant tomatoes in early May! Stop by to say hi to us Saturday between 10 and 1 at the Legion in Cazenovia, and catch the last of the winter spinach, lettuce, kale, and more!

 Last week's spread at the winter market--we have lots more goodies for this week!

Last week's spread at the winter market--we have lots more goodies for this week!

The start of the season was a good kick for us to finalize our field maps, which is the giant puzzle of figuring out where and when every crop goes in. It's an incredibly complicated puzzle, as we want to always have a four year rotation between plant families (so nothing gets planted where it's been for at least that long), plus we have to make sure all the crops planted near each other have the same growing period and irrigation method. It's kind of like an incredibly engrossing jigsaw puzzle of hundreds of plantings that you slowly put together over the course of years.

Finally, we are still on target to start the CSA in early June (in just two months!). We do still have shares available at the farm as well as in Fayetteville, Liverpool, Manlius, and Syracuse, and would love to have you join us! You can sign up online at www.hartwoodfarm.com/csa-sign-up  or email us at info@hartwoodfarm.com with any questions or to talk more.

Have a great *real* first week of spring!