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Sunday, April 20, 2014

A week of many seasons

Garlic is looking good!
Weather has monopolized the forefront of my thoughts this week.  I am probably the first farmer ever to be vexed by this particular concern.  I spent the beginning of the week in July and the middle of the week in January and the end of the week back in April.  In spite of the curve balls coming our way from the weather we are slowly but surely catching up on field work.  With a lot of work and a lot of luck next week will include planting potatoes and preparing for the big onion planting push.

One advantage of the wacky weather is that we have been forced to go to the one place where we can control the climate.  Our greenhouse seeding is actually ahead of schedule as a result.  We are moving seedlings out to the cold frames as quickly as possible but it is beginning to look like weekend hours at the DMV: lines of fennel, scallions and napa cabbage impatiently waiting for their chance at the front of the queue.  Cold frames aren't the most comfortable place for our transplants so we are hoping to get them in the ground soon.

Our strawberries, snug under their blanket of mulch came through the winter just fine.  Even our experimental beds of fall planted berries look pretty good in spite of a spat of rodent related vandalism.  We have high hopes that this new technique will drastically cut down on strawberry maintenance and free up much needed field space through the spring and early summer.  Garlic has also begun to push up through the mulch and it looks fantastic.  Many of you have been curious about the long caterpillar tunnel in our underhill field.  We experimented with fall planting onions last season for the purpose of extra early onions this year.   Although there is some chance that these onions will bolt and go to seed rather than bulbing up, the first part of the experiment was a success.  I’m hoping that fall planting techniques such as these will help to balance out the planting delays caused by extra cold and wet springs like the one we’ve been having.

Monday, April 7, 2014

New Beginnings

Ginger! A new experiment we are trying in the greenhouse this year.

Greetings CSA members and blogging enthusiast, It is beginning to feel the tiniest bit like spring this week and speaking of unassuming beginnings I have now officially started as the new CSA manager.  Lise Holdorf left some big and extraordinarily muddy boots to fill but, with the help of our fantastic crew and the support of our invaluable membership (you), we are hoping to make this season just as fruitful as the last.

With our fields muddied by the thaw and spring rains, we haven’t yet been able to do any plowing this season.  This is a little discouraging because, according to both our records and our planting calendar, this puts us a little behind schedule.  Fortunately, all it takes to lift our spirits is a trip to the greenhouse where spring has come early.  We have now run out of table space and have been putting seed trays on makeshift benches in order to stay on schedule in the greenhouse.  Thanks to our wonderful greenhouse volunteers who helped us seed 48 trays of cabbage, 36 trays of kohlrabi, 40 trays of lettuce and 18 trays of snap dragons this past Monday for a grand total of 142 trays seeded.  Fantastic work everyone! 

In other CSA news our new apprentices will be starting this Monday.  They are excited, energetic and very eager to learn.   I am very pleased to welcome Rachel Kessler, Sean Cubbins, and Rachel Dennison and welcome back Ryan Donnelly to the Appleton Farms community.  Jon Berube and I can’t wait to begin working with these exceptional individuals.  Look for updates to our staff bios page in the next few weeks. 

Stay tuned for more exciting updates from the field!

-Ryan Wood