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February 4, 2018
Notes From The Field
By Derek McGeehan
A new farm family photo.
It's February, we're already past the halfway point of the Winter CSA, are embarking on harvest week #39 since last May, and are ever-so-close to beginning the physical preparations for the next growing season. According to our 2018 Crop Plan we begin seeding into flats in the greenhouse the week of February 25th, just 3 weeks away. That same week we may begin preparing beds in the tunnels for very early carrot and beet sowing. Outside soil prep probably won't begin until mid/late March, or whenever the soil is sufficiently dry/unfrozen, and planting into the ground won't begin until early April.
The Winter CSA essentially bridges the gap between two warm-and-official growing seasons in different calendar years and really makes apparent the continuity of (plant) life while we circle the sun. This is mostly due to the protective qualities of our multiple tunnels, allowing crops and plants to survive/thrive during the coldest time of year. Whereas we previously quasi-hibernated during the winter months, focusing primarily on indoor and administrative preparations for the warmer time of year, now we do that plus maintain live plants as well as a plethora of storage crops with differing temperature and moisture needs. (A long long time ago there also used to be some very nice pre-child vacations).
Winter growing was an original challenge we had in the backs of our minds in the very beginning nine years ago. Of course at that time we were primarily getting our feet under us as we took over farm operations from the previous growers, focused solely on the 25-week Main Season CSA. It's been sort of like building-blocks since then, one layer at a time, steady, a few topples and rebuild. Now that we're here we can think about the next layer, be it increased fruit production, year-round CSA harvests, grain growing, all of the above or none of the above. We'll see.
Fresh claytonia and lettuce mix in the greenhouse in January.