Bringing in the harvest in May

May started out imitating the first half of April—cold and wet, and cold and wet. We snagged a warm day, then chilly and windy nights threatened early plantings. Finally, starting the second half of the month—it warmed up! I always feel like a merry-go-round in May—start seeds, transplant, plant, repeat! Cucumber plants started in April started bearing cucumbers on May 15. Tomato plants started in the high tunnel started ripening May 16. Lettuce, basil, arugula, and baby bok choy continue their cycles in the hydroponics house. Zucchini and patty pan squashes are now planted and should start harvest in just a few weeks. The chard in the high tunnel is doing great—we are getting excellent cuts for our CSA shares. The first fruit of the year started as we had hoped, just in time for Mother’s Day. And then it poured rain for the next two days. My obsession with the weather reached new highs, for rain and strawberries are not a great combination. Fortunately, the rain system seems to be wor…

Bringing in the harvest in April

April started out cold, with crops a little bit behind “normal,” (whenever normal is!), and ended up warming quickly, with crops coming earlier than “normal!” (whenever normal is!) We were able to cut lilacs for the last weekend of April, when we usually see them for the middle to end of May. The fruit trees seemed slow to start blooming and then came on all at once. We love the profusion of blossoms with their delicate fragrance and the promise of a fruit from each blossom. If all the blossoms fruited, it would be far too much weight for the tree, but it is staggering to think about all those blossoms bearing fruit. Some years, nearly every blossom does. By the end of April, we can see the baby peaches, apples, pears, and plums starting their journey from farm to table! 

All the leafy greens are doing well, and we are excited to see such beautiful lettuce, baby bok choy, and basil, among others. The basil has done particularly well in the hydro house, and we look forward to continuing …

Bringing in the harvest in March

We love that our customers want to know how does our garden grow! We had a great tour of the hydroponics house and the high tunnel on March 23, along with sunny, windy weather. People had a chance to see beautiful vegetables grown with no pesticides and no herbicides.
March is fickle---Snow on March 1, rain, some super chilly mornings, whipping winds, sunshine, a teasing day or two of warm weather, more rain and more chilly weather. March has it all!Sometimes it seems our main crop is mud.But temperatures are creeping upwards and the sun feels stronger, and everything under cover is growing very well!
The hydro house is producing an abundance of greens, enough for the CSA shares as well as the market. Watercress, bibb lettuce, leaf lettuce, romaine, arugula, cilantro, parsley, and thousands of seedlings which are transplanted into the ground or into pots. Thousands of lettuces—very exciting for us. We are learning the growth cycles of the different plants and how to space the plants fo…

In Honor of the Women in Our History

Mary Pauline Connell Webster
So many family stories are told from the father’s point of view. Particularly in farming. In my family, I am fortunate to have a long line of strong women who stood in equal partnership with the men in the family and brought highly valued skills to the family and to the business of farming. For Women’s History Month I want to turn the spotlight on Mary Pauline Connell Webster, my great-grandmother.
Born March 4, 1872, in Ashland, Delaware, to Charles Barington Connell (1846-1916) and Emma Evans Bradford (1851-1903), Mary Pauline Connell arrived in a time of great change.  The Connells were farmers and had seven children, two boys and five girls. Mary Pauline’s paternal grandparents emigrated from Ireland in the early 1840s (potato famine drove this migration).  The second oldest of seven, Mary Pauline worked from a young age on her family’s farm.
The year she was born, the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened its doors and Yellowstone became the first nationa…

Bringing in the harvest in February 2019

February 1 started with a brisk 5 degrees in the morning and a high of 18 degrees. And an unexpected, unpredicted all-day snow flurry that made everything just a little slick. Just to make sure that we knew winter was really here.
February brings us noticeably longer days, and we are back in the magic 10-hours of daylight days (10 hours being the minimum that vegetable plants need to keep growing). And we are getting our January thaw in February, with 50 degree days on the 3rd and 4th. Sunshine and moderate temperatures make everyone, including the plants, a little happier around here.
And while it is windy, cold, snowy, or other weather quirks outside, we are able to harvest lots of greens inside. We are learning A LOT about hydroponic growing, and expect to continue learning the ins and outs of hydro growing for a few years. We have harvested most of the first seeding and a lot of the second planting, with the third round of harvesting coming up quickly. Some of the plants are “one an…

Bringing in the harvest in January

(A few - ok 7 - days late, but here's January's post).
We have been expanding our winter growing over the past 20 years, trying to keep up with the demand for fresh vegetables in the six months of the year that are not famous for producing much. At all. We have found that people enjoy eating all year, and our customers, accustomed to eating really fresh produce all summer, do not want to give up great taste in the winter. As a small farm, we scramble to grow as much as we possibly can during the standard growing months.
First we added row covers. Then low tunnels. Then high tunnels. Then a heated high tunnel. Then two heated high tunnels. And all of these helped, and we grew more winter produce than ever before. I have spent a lot of time studying daylight hours and nighttime and daytime temperatures needed for different crops to keep them growing and what crops grow best in protected winter conditions. And still the demand was ahead of us. Learning to grow in the winter has …

December—An End and a Beginning

December is the month of dwindling daylight. I understand why so many animals hibernate or semi-hibernate. It feels as if everything is coming to an end. The growing season is ending; the world is ending. Okay, an exaggeration. But dark at 4:30? The rainy and gray days take a toll on everyone. The plants outside just sit there…not dying, not growing.Our calendar year is ending, which is a natural time to look back over the year and assess what went as planned, what did not, what was successful, what was not, what do we want to do differently?
And then--what a relief to get past the Winter Solstice and start increasing our daylight, minute by precious minute. And because growing is what I like most of all, we look at ways to circumvent nature and winter weather. The trees and fruit bushes will stay dormant, but growing vegetables in the high tunnels and heated greenhouses is rewarding.The greenhouses are warmed with passive solar heat, and on a sunny day can be 80 degrees. Night time …