Now it seems like the new year on the farm has really begun with the arrival of our apprentice team for the season. We have a new group this year and they have arrived with a welcome burst of enthusiastic energy. The whole crew took a turn driving our Suffolk Punch draft horses, Gwen and Gena, as they ploughed a round in the potato plot, yesterday, with oversight from Ken and Caesar. The apprentice team and I also spent the better part of the day wrestling with row cover for the early garden planting. Row cover seems like one the necessary evils of organic farming. We are using it this time of year just to keep the soil warmer where we have tucked in the early garden seeds and it does make quite a difference in the early garden growth.
Bill van Zanten actually arrived a week earlier than planned because the weather was so warm and we were over whelmed with all the early spring work to be done. He helped us get our hoop houses ready to go and worked in the greenhouse and with the early planting. We aren’t sure what the weather is going to do from here on out. We have left the strawberries covered hoping that it will protect them from the extremely cold nights we have just had. However, we don’t want them to start growing under the mulch because that is also hard on them, so we will have to uncover them soon and hope for the best. Our early peas, spinach, carrots, beets, radishes and mesclun are planted out doors. One of our hoop houses is planted to spinach and we are going to plant more of our hoop houses later this week. It is a challenge to time it so it will all be ready at the right time to go with our perennials of rhubarb and asparagus and then be able to dovetail with the outdoor plantings so that we have a continuous supply of produce once we start the CSA pickups.
Ken’s new sawmill did arrive. Unfortunately, he hasn’t had time to do much more than try it out, because all the fields are calling to him. We are expecting to have some windows of time to do some sawing a little later after the oats are planted. The earlier you plant oats the better they do. We are hoping to get them planted before the end of March, but we are still waiting for our new seed to arrive. The early spring has everyone feeling like they are behind before we even get started!