Rhubarb Poking Up

Rhubarb Poking Up

We are happy to finally have some warm weather! The rhubarb is poking up and the spinach in Hoop House “A” has germinated under the row cover. The head lettuce and pac choi that were planted in Hoop House “B” are also growing nicely under row cover. We have moved three of the hoop houses and have only the tomato hoop house  to move. The brassicas: broccoli; cabbage; cauliflower and kohlrabi that we started in the greenhouse have grown well.  We are hoping to have sturdy transplants the beginning of May, when we will use our transplanter for the first time pulled with our Suffolk Punch horses. Although the spring seems to be getting off to a slow start I am encouraged that the seedlings are growing and look healthy. The CSA will start as soon as everything has grown enough.

Everyone here has been working hard with many different jobs. Around the edges of farm work all of our firewood for next winter has been cut and split! It makes quite a mountain of firewood. When we have a cold spring we use a lot of wood between our house, the greenhouse and the bunkhouse. Tonight is the first night that I haven’t started a fire in the greenhouse since the beginning of March, when we started the first transplants.

The ground for the main garden has mostly been ploughed and we are working on preparing the fields for spring grain. There is always more to do in a day than we can do, especially when the land dries out, but we keep plugging along and we get there eventually.

Spinach Under Row Cover Inside Hoop House

Spinach Under Row Cover Inside Hoop House

Head Lettuce Growing In Hoop House

Head Lettuce Growing In Hoop House

BrassicaTransplants Growing Well

BrassicaTransplants Growing Well

Three Hoop Houses Moved!

Three Hoop Houses Moved!

Next Year's Firewood Cut and Split!

Next Year’s Firewood Cut and Split!

We have had two draft horse workshops this April. During the first, our new apprentices joined in as an introduction to working with the draft horses. The second just finished today. Everyone was a good sport about carrying on despite the rain and cold. Ken searched for a field that was dry enough to plough today and managed to find a spot for the workshop participants to try ploughing. In the meantime, we have been transplanting in the greenhouse and managed to do the early garden seeding outside and cover it with row cover before the rain started. We are waiting for a break from the wind to put up the plastic on our third hoop house. Next week we have two more hoop houses to move and plant. It was encouraging to me today to peek under the row cover in hoop house number one and see that the spinach has germinated. It feels like a real leap of faith this year to believe that warm weather will come and the plants will grow.

Three Teams Ploughing During our First Workshop

Three Teams Ploughing During our First Workshop  –  Photo credit: Sheri Fleischauer

Workshop Participant Ploughing With our Team of Suffolk Punch Draft Horses

Workshop Participant Ploughing With our Team of Suffolk Punch Draft Horses – Photo Credit: Charlotte Scott

April 11 - 13 Workshop Participants

April 11 – 13 Workshop Participants – Photo credit: Grayden Laing

Onion Seedlings in the Greehouse

Onion Seedlings in the Greenhouse

Early spring brings a variety of activities as we gear up for the start of our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Our apprentices have been with us for a week now and have been busy with a variety of jobs. Initially, they worked in our passive solar/wood heated greenhouse. The onions and leeks are growing well. We will be planting them with a transplanter that is being retrofitted to be pulled by our Suffolk Punch draft horses (a rare breed that originated in Suffolk, England). The broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kohlrabi seeds that were planted a week ago are popping up.

Another of the first jobs that we do is to get our hoop houses up and running in order to have early lettuce, pac choi, spinach, mixed greens and green onions to accompany our early perennial crops of rhubarb and asparagus. The process began with plowing under the clover cover crop with a team of Suffolks. The clover was planted last year to prevent erosion over the winter and fix nitrogen. After spreading compost and cultivating it, the hoop house was erected and the first transplanting of the season began.

Today we worked on getting the frame ready for another hoop house and started plowing the main garden area with the horses.

Broccoli, Cabbage and Cauliflower Popping Up

Broccoli, Cabbage and Cauliflower Popping Up


Sweet Potato Slips

Sweet Potato Slips


Apprentice, Stephanie Valiquette Plowing the Ground for the Hoop House

Apprentice, Stephanie Valiquette Plowing the Ground for the Hoop House


Stephanie and Jean-Francois Langlais Measuring the Area for the Hoop House

Stephanie and Jean-Francois Langlais Measuring the Area for the Hoop House


Jean-Francois, Stephanie and Carrie Beatty Transplanting Lettuce into Newly Erected Hoop House

Jean-Francois, Stephanie and Carrie Beatty Transplanting Lettuce into Newly Erected Hoop House


Ken in the Workshop Retrofitting Transplanter to be Pulled by Horses

Ken in the Workshop Retrofitting Transplanter to be Pulled by Horses