This Week on the Farm 2/23
Well our season has officially begun. There are trays of seeds in both the greenhouse and the germination chamber, which means we are underway for 2015. Thank you to all of our members who have already signed up for this year. We really appreciate that you are willing to send in your money so far in advance of getting your produce. It allows us to purchase all of the seed, plug trays, media, fuel, and other supplies that we need to be able to get up and rolling.
We had some major issues with our greenhouse furnace this year. Mice had gotten into the housing and chewed on some wires (not a huge deal) and urinated on the motherboard (a huge deal as it fried the board). We also had ants get into a smaller part that then need to get replaced. We finally have consistent heat, so we felt comfortable starting all of our crops that needed to go in last week. So far we only have flowers in the greenhouse and germination chamber. We are diversifying this year and are going to have ornamental and vegetable plants for sale to the public May 1st. Last year we did a smaller plant sale for two weekends and we grew the flowers for the Rio Village planters and we decided to increase our volume this year. We learned a big lesson last year that many people want their plants to be budding/ in bloom when they purchase them so we needed to start the plants much earlier this year.
Today does mark the first day a vegetable crop is scheduled to go in the germination chamber. All of our onions and leeks will get planted this week (most likely Wednesday), as well as our first planting of scallions. Hopefully our replacement cipollini onions will arrive quickly. Our original order was back ordered and then placed out of stock because of poor germination. We had to order seed through a different company and although the seed is not certified organic, it is untreated and therefore allowed under NOP guidelines. Under the guidelines you can buy non-certified seed if you have looked at three seed suppliers and they do not have organic seeds available, but the seed must be untreated. In the past we have avoided any non-organic seed just to save on the headache the paper work creates. This year, in addition to the cipollini onions that we had to buy, we are trying one melon, one winter squash, two pumpkins (jack o’ lanterns, not eating pumpkins), and a type of lettuce that can be harvested as leaf or head lettuce that are not certified organic. All of these crops are from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, whom we trust to provide clean, non-gmo seed. We would prefer to purchase all certified organic seed, but we couldn’t find these varieties organically and we think they will add value to our CSA boxes.
Shelbi has stopped by the farm a couple of times this month to lend a hand. She helped us clean out the greenhouse and get it spick and span for the season. She also spent a couple of days putting flyers up in the Madison area. We want to make note that we have three new pick-up locations this year. One in Middleton, one in Fitchburg, and one near Hilldale Shopping Center in Madison. We are hoping these added locations will give our Madison members options that may be more convenient. We are somewhat bummed that our Main Street pick-up location had to be let go since the homeowners are selling, but we hope that those members will be able to utilize one of our other sites.
We have several open houses coming up in March and we hope that you will stop by to visit with us if you can. On March 8th from 1 to 4PM we will be at the Monona Terrace in Madison. On March 16th from 5 to 7PM we will be at Zuppa’s Cafe in Neenah. On March 18th from 4-6PM we will be at the Appleton Public Library. Please spread the word about these events to friends and family.