|The new hoophouse project is almost done! Fred|
put most of the plastic on yesterday, and we just
need to get the ends of the structure covered
before we can start planting crops in there
in a few weeks!
We were also glad to see that the big drainage project we did in December was a success! If you've ever been around our farm in spring or fall (or after a heavy rain in summer), you know that our driveway and areas of the front field can get to be a muddy mess. Fred did a major drainage tile project a few months ago, and it was proved successful when the snow melt we've experienced over the last few months drained so much more effectively than it used to. This gives me high hopes for our ability to get around the farm more easily once the season starts!
Pretty soon, Fred plans to start working on a project to turn the new tiller we got for our tractor into a reverse-tine tiller, which will improve the state of the soil in our seed beds and increase yields. In the past, reverse-tine tillers have been prohibitively expensive, so we bought a much cheaper front-tine tiller that has the capability of being turned into a reverse-tine tiller with a few minor tweaks.
We've now discovered just how much snow load the caterpillar tunnels we put up in November can hold, because many of them have had portions of the tunnels collapse. The carrots inside are still looking good, even though the tunnels themselves look a little worse for wear. We'll be making structural changes to the tunnels later in March so that next year, they'll be able to handle more snow without collapsing.
Aside from structures and equipment, we're also doing work with actual plants! All of the seeds we ordered last month have arrived, and they'll be ready to plant when the weather permits. We also just got 60 new laying hens, so we're retiring our older batch, who haven't been laying as many eggs as they used to. So our new group, who are pullets now (young hens whose eggs aren't that big yet), will be laying full-sized eggs by the start of the CSA. We've given most of our older chickens to someone who wants a backyard flock and isn't super concerned about how many eggs they lay, but we've kept a few of the grannies around so we'll have enough eggs for our family until the new girls start laying more consistently.
We have started to see the first crops of the year coming out of the greenhouse! We harvested the first arugula of the year, and we brought some of it down to Argus Farm Stop in Ann Arbor last week, which was exciting! The green garlic has just started to peak out of the soil in the coldframe, and the overwintered lettuce and spinach are starting to grow again after being in "sleep mode" for the last few months. But now that we are starting to get more daylight, our overwintered greens are slowly starting to get back into growth mode. Just about everything in the hoophouses is too small to harvest just yet, but around the first week of March, we expect to have some spinach and freshly-dug carrots! It has been so nice to have the few fresh carrots we've been able to harvest throughout the winter, because their flavor has just been awesome! We're usually relying entirely on storage carrots most winters, and they start to get a little soft and spongy by March. So when our new carrots hit Argus in Ann Arbor and Greentree in Mt. Pleasant next month, you'll definitely be able to tell the flavor and texture difference between those and the storage carrots you've probably been eating all winter from the store! And a few weeks later, you'll start seeing our spring mix again in your local shops. So even though there is still more winter to go, we'll be harvesting the first of the spring veggies throughout March.
And if you haven't signed up for the CSA this season yet and you want to, now is the time! The cost for a full share is $560 and a half share is $305 at our regular drop-offs, and I can also get you a quote for home and workplace delivery if you're interested! So just send me an email, and I'll get you all signed up! We're really excited to be starting a new farm season, and we hope that you'll come along for the (probably crazy, certainly interesting, definitely delicious) ride!