This Week on the Farm 4/2
It is getting to be that time of year where we are so busy that blog posts tend to get put on the back burner, so sorry for the delay! Since we last updated our website we have been to two Open House events, one at the Monona Terrace in Madison and on at the Appleton Public Library. If you stopped by at either of those events we would like to thank you! Both events were very successful and Tyler really enjoyed talking to everyone!
You may have seen our post on our Facebook page that we got new farm shirts this year. If you are interested in ordering one, please let us know. I am really excited at how well they turned out and would like to thank Rhonda Corning for all of her help!
Our large greenhouse is almost full! As of tonight we have onions, leeks, scallions, celery, parsley, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, kale, collards, lettuce, and eggplant that are all in the greenhouse. All of these crops, except for the lettuce, were started in our germination chamber and we have been very pleased how well it has worked. It has sped up germination times considerably. For example, any of the Brassica crops germinate in two days!! We have to check the chamber multiple times a day and get the trays over to the greenhouse right away to prevent the seedlings from becoming too leggy as they search for light. The germination chamber is almost full tonight as well. We have four types of cabbage, a variety of pac choy, and twelve types of peppers all hanging out in the germ chamber.
Earlier this week Tyler finished up the repairs on our heated hoop house. Tomorrow we will clean it out and sterilize it with a bleach and water solution (3/4 of bleach/gallon of water). We spray all of the surfaces down with the bleach and water solution, let it dry in the sunshine, and then rinse everything down. This is to kill off any pathogens that may have overwintered in the hoop house. This solution is the only chemical that we use on the farm and it is never in direct contact with our plants. By the end of the week the heated hoop house will be full of trays of peppers!
On Monday Tyler and I went for a walk and checked out the garlic. The garlic is up and is starting to peak through the straw mulch. The turkeys seem to have left the plants alone, but they did bother the marker flags. Because of that we have a little bit of sorting out to do later this spring to get all of the varieties straight. In a couple of days we will go back and check on the garlic. Once they are three to six inches tall, we need to start fertilizing.
We have a small patch of raspberries, mostly for our own use, here on the farm. The record drought in 2012 did a number on the canes, but they are starting to bounce back. I got them cleaned up this afternoon and they look pretty great. There are even a few areas where there are enough canes that we can start transplanting them to a new area.
Speaking of transplanting, this year we ordered blueberries and some black raspberries from a company in Michigan. We are planting these, along with some apple and pear trees out back on a slope that is unworkable for veggie production. The plan is to have an area where people can go and sit at picnic tables and do some light pick-your-own, but not have so many that they will be in the CSA boxes. We have found in the past that picking blueberries and raspberries is too labor intensive to be cost effective. When we ordered them we asked that they be shipped May 1st. Well, there was a mix up and they got shipped March 1. We tried to keep them from budding out, but we don’t have the right storage facilities for that. Instead of letting them die and then sending them back for a refund, we potted them up and they are now out in our greenhouse. We will just have to wait a little bit longer to plant them outside than we had initially planned on.
After rereading what I have written so far, it seems like I am bouncing around a lot. I could go back and try to make everything flow nicely, but to be honest, we have been bouncing from one task to another. In addition to the seeding, watering, weeding, repair work that is involved with all of the above tasks, we have spent time cutting down box elder trees to make room for a new high tunnel, fixing the tractors, working on the packing shed, doing paperwork, washing our dog who keeps finding new things to roll in, readjusting our budget, double checking seed orders to make sure everything has arrived, and lots of other small tasks. Just another Spring on the farm for us I guess!