Yummy, Warm Spring!
Normally, the winter chill is the signal we need to slow down and allow our bodies to relax, rebuild and begin again renewed, but Jack Frost seemed to skip daintily around us the whole season. At first we felt it only made good sense to take advantage of the “last nice days of winter” before the cold hit, but after months of playing into that mindset we realized it just wasn’t going to happen. We don’t know whether to feel cheated of our “down time” or grateful for the chance to catch up on projects that will help make our summer growing more relaxed.
Discerning as it may have felt at times, we have thoroughly enjoyed 2012’s early warmth! Eleven week old Freeda went on her first tractor ride with her papa, Forrest recruited (unwillingly, no doubt) 20 frogs and 2 painted turtles simultaneously to volunteer for his 48 hour personal observation, and the herbs are growing back after the turkeys took them for every polyphenolic compound they could get during their winter free roaming extravaganza . The chicken tractor has been moved to this year’s plot of cover crop, which is sown in rye shining so lusciously green that we felt compelled to buy a refractometer to measure its sugar content. A hundred tomato seedlings were transplanted into the hoophouse complete with trellising string above, heat holding milk jug beside, drip tape irrigation below and warmth and water filled black pipe around. Thankfully, the turkeys fence has undergone serious improvements so that the winter herb garden is never again (hopefully) devoured in a day.
Here are some pictures from our current beautiful week of warmth.
We never would have thought it'd be short-sleeved onesie weather in Mid-March!
More healthy, new life on the farm with these cucumber seedlings that will be planted in the hoophouse for early cucumber treats.
With propagation benches already full, onions will need to be relocated to make room for newly seeded tomatoes, eggplant and peppers.
June tomatoes? Oh please say yes.
Pardoned by mild winter weather, swiss chard in the tunnels thrived and sugared deeply to bring added excitement to our green addicted lives (above). Field spinach even survived with the help of a simple thin blanket or row cover as it's commonly called (below).
Moving pastures space week to week will provide fresh grubs and greens for the laying hens to enjoy. The green pastures seen vertical to the movable chicken tractor is all cover crop field for this year. Not only will this be a time to build a "green manure," but also the chicken manure will add organic matter as well as nitrogen back into the soil. Check out how much green the chickens ate in one week in the picture below.
RIP Jefferson. The victim of a neighbor dog attack, this rooster will be remembered for his upstanding posture and consistently fertilized eggs (right).