seasonal prep

Planning

The 2016 Growing Season is already in the works. There aren’t many things as exciting in the winter time as studying seed catalogs, mapping out planting beds, and putting together seed orders.

The recent snows only got me daydreaming about this

TOMATOES!

TOMATOES!

Do you have your gardens all planned out and seed orders placed yet? Trying anything new?

Chores – last weekend of March

We had good weather and amazing help last weekend…so many thanks to our friends who came out and worked their butts off.

Task one – deer fencing taken down (going to flip it since some rodents have chewed a few holes…also plan to lay some plastic and mulch beneath the fence line to limit grass and weed access to the garden).

Deer fencing down

Deer fencing down

Deer fencing down

Deer fencing down

Task two: trim briars that have migrated in to the garden and fencing

Briars

Briars

Task three: weed whacking fence line

Weed whacking perimeter

Weed whacking perimeter

Task four: cardboard and straw mulch asparagus

Cardboard and mulch

Cardboard and mulch

Thanks everyone for an awesome day of work, food / drink and camaraderie! Go team!

All is quiet on the ridge

It has been a little while since our last post, but strong cold spells tend to put a halt to one’s outdoor efforts and ambitions.

So, while the ground is frozen and the temperatures fall…what is left to do for prepping a garden?

Planning.

Yes, this post is not at all exciting. There are no fun photos. Little actual activity. But this part of garden preparations is just as important as all the physical stuff.

Here is what is going on right now while we try to keep warm and snug inside…

1. Crop rotation. Being a visual person, I always have to sketch out what has been where and the next spot it can go. Crop rotation is an essential challenge. To help minimize accumulation of pests or depletion of soil nutrients, we try our best not to put crops from the same family in the same spot year after year. With our current setup, we should be able to perform a 4 year rotation, meaning, for instance, that it should take 4 years of moving around the garden before tomato plants make it back to the spot where we first planted them.

2. Crop plan. Once the crop rotations are smoothed out, the crop plan pretty much is developed. Another important component to developing this plan, however, is the results of the previous season. No need including something that we couldn’t grow well or that didn’t sell. All of that harvest and sales data was entered into a spreadsheet over the fall. For the tentative crop plan, again…I have to have a picture, so I map out the layout and where everything is supposed to be located in all the fields. Closely coupled with the crop plan is the seed starting schedule, the planting schedule and the succession plant. I feel pretty good about the seed starting schedule (though we will be testing a new growing area this year). The planting and succession calendars don’t always work out how I like. Still, it is always good to at least have a plan.

Snap shot

Snap shot

3. Seeds and supplies. Currently in the works are the season’s seeds and supplies orders. At this point in time, all of the information comes together to plan what we want to grow in the 2015 season. We have to consider all the seasons, all our successes and anything we want to experiment (there always has to be something new to try).

It is at this point that feedback is valuable and influential. So…with that in mind…

are there items you’d like to see us grow? Are there things we should stop growing?

What are your garden plans?

 

Making the mad dash

I am so very grateful for an understanding boss and for friends and family who love and support our farming efforts!

It was a mad mad dash today. Winter arrives…….TONIGHT! The folks came out and pulled all the pepper plants, picking off all hot and bell peppers in order to save them from the impending arctic blast. I left work early to try and get the rest of the productive beds covered with row covers to help decrease chill injury. Ideally, I also would’ve mulched the heck out of all the beds with a comfy, thick layer of straw. Of course, as is typical with my part-time farming adventure, I am usually late enacting what I want to do. No one’s fault. It is just life and how it works out.

At least these beauties are tucked in and have a better shot of withstanding the rain, snow flurries, and blustery winds that are forecasted for tonight and tomorrow. (Wind chill in the 20s? Seriously? Oh boy).

Bok choi

Bok choi

Red choy

Red choy