Hello fellow friends,
Wait, is winter over? No, no it’s not, even though mother nature has thrown us for a loop with this warm weather. Even though the farm team is enjoying this sunshine, it makes it hard for us to stay inside and plan for next year!! We are really hoping for some really cold weather. Why, you ask? Farmers rely on the seasons changing. It’s not only wonderful to experience, but predictable seasons also make for slightly more predictable growing patterns. We don’t typically like warm winters, because we rely on the frost to kill pests that burrow down a couple of inches into the soil or overwinter right where they had their last meals in the crops leftover from the previous season.
Snow has its own role in our winter landscape. A good layer of snow acts as insulation that can protect important early spring crops from both harshly cold days or excessively warm ones. This year we overwintered spinach and garlic, and both could use a snowy day right now.
Without the weather on our side thus far, we’ve employed some additional “layers” of farm defense wherever possible. This Winter the Powisset hens are taking up residence in one of our greenhouses. Last year our crop of ginger in our 2nd greenhouse attracted some unwanted European Corn Borers, wire worms, and cabbage worms which persisted in the soil after the crop was removed. We moved the hens in to give them the opportunity to do what they do best: worm foraging. They’ve spent several weeks hunting down the remaining corn borers, applying some much appreciated fertilizer, and enjoying the warmth and sunshine only a greenhouse can provide.
Despite our best attempts, we have managed to incorporate some office days into our schedule. Crop planning is our priority this time of year. Crop planning allows us to envision the whole season from start to finish with all our best laid plans still intact. It’s a time for dreaming of new crops, new strategies, and a season not yet sullied by whatever unpredictable eventuality may befall us. For example, we’ve added a few potato varieties back to our crop plan after a long hiatus. Sure, our great nemesis the Colorado Potato Beetle remains at large (you may remember that our eggplant succumbed to them last year), but we’re never short on optimism during crop planning season. As we build out the plan we’ll fill you in on our process and musings about vegetables generally here in the newsletter, so stay tuned!
Thanks for reading!
Diane and Andrew
Updates from our livestock team!
First of all, thank you for your continued support of the farm! We’re in the midst of breeding season right now at the piggery and look forward to having loads of little piglets running around in the spring/summer.
Aside from being wicked cute, the pigs are an incredibly valuable tool for managing pasture! They love to root around in the dense forest edges that are overgrown with invasive species. In this way, the pigs help to create a healthier ecology for the farm that can better support our other livestock programs ?
Also wanted to throw out a friendly reminder that our meat CSA is year-round, so you can sign up whenever you want! In the winter months, we’ll have some delicious roasting and stewing meats before jumping back into the grilling cuts for the warmer months. The pastured pork is my favorite part and we sure hope you’ll give it a try as well! You can find more info and sign up for shares here.