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We are several weeks into our greenhouse season here on the farm. Most of the seeds that have popped are flower seeds, but our leeks and onions are also up and growing. This week marks the start of broccoli planting. We are trying smaller, more frequent plantings of broccoli this year. We are hoping this will allow for a continuous supply of broccoli for most of the summer months.
Other than watering two to three times a day and seeding twice a week, it is a pretty quite time on the farm. We will be working on our new crop rotation since we are downsizing this year and are hoping to have all of our veggies in our back fields. Last fall we signed up for a wildlife abatement program which offered us fencing to keep the deer out. We had a large amount of deer damage last year, especially to our greens and broccoli plantings and we want to keep those crops safe. We are only able to utilize this program on the land we own, not the parcels we rent, so we are trying to keep our high value crops on the land we own. The rented land will have several acres of sunflowers and dried beans on them this year, as well as a field of pumpkins and winter squashes.
Once we finalize our crop rotation we will be able to fill out our Organic Certification paperwork that is due at the end of the month. That is one of two paperwork projects that Tyler usually takes care of. I do all of the rest of the paperwork, but the certification paperwork and the annual USDA survey that they send out Tyler takes care of. This year may be different however and I may end up working on the forms in the evenings after our kids go to bed.
We have ordered a few more queen bees for this season. I checked on our hives in January and it looked like we had lost both of them. In the middle of winter you check to see if they are alive by knocking on the side of the hive. If they are still alive they will start buzzing/humming. I don’t have the greatest hearing, so sometimes I can’t hear the buzz even if they are still alive. Tyler checked on them last week though and he said that one of the hives was still kicking. I checked on it this past weekend and it seems like there should be enough honey in the hive to get them through the rest of winter and the early part of spring until it warms up enough to start feeding them again. I am looking forward to getting out there again. For me, taking care of bees is a way to meditate and calm myself because you have to be calm and focused or the bees will go after you.
Our retail greenhouse will be open in less than two months and by the end of this month I should be able to get into the fields to do the last bit of clean up that we were unable to do before the snow starting flying last fall. I can’t wait for Spring!