Farmer Alex’s First Blog of the 2016 Season!!
Spring is here! Compared to years past, we are enjoying a head start. This time last year we were feeling stressed, waiting and hoping for warmer and drier weather. This year we were able to get in the field two weeks ago already; mowing down cover crops and getting our first tillage done of the season. In fact, we’ve already seeded the first carrots! That’s a month ahead of what we were able to accomplish last season, and easily the earliest planting since our inception five years ago. Needless to say we are elated!
It’s almost as if we skipped winter all together. A 70 degree Christmas and only one major snow event were a stark contrast to previous winters. The extremely warm weather did create some questions about the upcoming growing season. How will the disease and pest pressure be this year without the hard, sustained freeze that we’ve experienced previously? How will the strawberries do if they flower too early and get hit with a heavy frost? Will our garlic yield be affected by sprouting back in November, and having to endure a week or two of near zero temperatures in January? I’ve never seen garlic half a foot tall by Christmas. It seems to be growing again nicely so far though!
With every season, we’ve experienced new and different cultural conditions, and with each passing season we learn more about their effects and consequences. Building that knowledge base is essential to making educated decisions in order to take preventative action and put ourselves in the best possible position to be successful farmers.
Despite the unknowns, we are exceedingly grateful for the early spring. This week we seeded lettuce, beets, and snap peas in the greenhouse. The onion seedlings are standing up straight now like little soldiers, and kale and cabbage babies are starting to take on some personality. For some reason, I hold my breath after those first few seedlings each year, as if I am trying to impart my will on them to sprout; nervous that they won’t. I scan the potting soil multiple times a day, just waiting for that first sign of green. This of course dissipates as we seed more and more of the season’s crops. Maybe I need to be reassured that nature will do its thing, but I think it’s more that I don’t have the time to watch and wait as we get deeper and deeper into the growing season. Regardless, I love this time of year. A chance for new beginnings. That means I am a little nervous about what lies ahead, but mostly excited. 🙂
Baby kale leaves taking shape.