Farm Report February 2018
Spring is always a time of new beginnings around here, but it is what we do in late Winter that is the real start of future projects. Starting in January the seed catalogs begin to arrive. They are mesmerizing and start my gardener juices flowing. This year they were all powerful as they pushed my focus to make our CSA program a reality this year!
The Emails went out yesterday with reservation forms for all three programs, meat, eggs and seasonal produce and you can find a PDF of the form on our home page here on the website. I am vacillating between anxiety that no one will sign up and panic that too many will! When I determined the number of shares I wanted to make available it involved lots of spread sheets and arithmetic.
I have been gardening by divine inspiration for almost 40 years. Some years we have too much, some years we have too little, but the discrepancies could be accommodated with generosity, creativity or deprivation. After all we were only growing for our own consumption.
Looking at this from a business perspective was fascinating—like some amazing puzzle or intriguing word problem. “If one seed packet plants 50 square feet and each square foot yields .5 pounds and we need 2 lbs for each of 12 shareholders for 6 consecutive weeks, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” I’m sure you get the picture.
Many headaches later, decisions have been made, the seed orders are placed, and the planting begins. First under the lights will be spring greens and brassicas. I go to sleep with visions of cauliflower and swiss chard dancing in my head.
Then when our raised beds are warm and dry enough we will direct seed root crops, onions and potatoes.
By late march the seedlings under the lights will be ready to go in under the pup tents!
But there is more to farm life than gardening. Now is the time to start thinking ahead to MEAT! EGGS! CHICKENS! I placed an order with Mount Healthy Hatchery awhile back and we will be welcoming 150 little cheep-cheeps in mid-March. I ordered some new laying birds to increase our egg production, as well as some fast-growing meat birds and some slower growing dual-purpose heritage breeds. They will go into the breeder and stay warm and cozy till they are ready to free range in late April.
But that's not all! It's time for baby lambs, baby goats, baby pigs! It’s a regular nursery around here in the late winter. That necessitates another whole word problem—involving how much mother nature needs to send us in baby animals to end up with the happy tasty meat we need to feed everyone!
It’s an exciting time around the Farm. Can’t even imagine how excited I’ll be when it is SPRING! --Kelly Padden, Farmer