Root Down Farm Ramblings
We all lived through the cruel joke Spring played on us this year. The temperatures were like the ones we typically see in February and it snowed a few times during the middle of April with some accumulation. Well now that Spring has relented it's steamrolling right into June weather. So as much as we groaned about it, now we just have to shut up and work...as fast as we can because we had a late start. The first crops of the year are already getting a little more demanding and we are now starting to transition our summer crops from the greenhouse to the fields. AND I saw my first cabbage moth, flee beetle, and tarnish bug of the season last week. So even with the late Spring the bugs are right on time. Yeah!
And now for my standard disclaimer: The Spring Share is not the Summer Share. We are on Spring Share #2 of 4 and once we are at week #4 of the Spring Share, the Summer Share will start next. You will get an email with information about the Summer Share in due time (everything on an operating farm revolves around weather and seasons).
Now for the good stuff: It was so awesome to see all the familiar faces, and some new ones too, at the first Spring Share. It was a beautiful week and we were proud of the share and happy to be distributing vegetables again! This week's share is just as good and will include: lettuce, spinach, herbs, arugula, kale, radishes, bok choy, pea shoots and more!
Yeah for Spring finally arriving in time for our Spring Share start. I'm just going to say it again...the Spring Share is not the Summer Share. Everyone who has signed up for the Spring Share has been sent a couple of emails about the share, including that pick up hours are:
***from 4:00pm to 6:00pm*** here at the farm.
We are as busy as the weather allows. The last seed for the Spring Share went in the ground last week and the first crops for the Summer Share went in the field a couple weeks ago. Now the summer crops like tomatoes and peppers and eggplant are taking over the greenhouse and the first planting of zucchini and summer squash has already germinated. It's planting season on the farm and we already have our eyes on Summer.
The first week of the Spring Share is full of green and is gonna look like this: salad mix, carrots, arugula, kale, radishes, bok choy, cabbage, and more.
Yes, you are gonna hear me say this a few more times: the Spring Share is not the Summer Share. I know some of your inner monologue might include words like "duh" or "no duh", but I want to make it clear to Summer Share holders that when I talk about the Spring Share I am not talking about the Summer Share. If you are signed up for the Spring Share you should've received an email from the farm on Monday. The Spring Share will start the week of May 7th and continue for 4 weeks. If you are signed up for the Summer Share we will again be emailing all of you a couple of weeks before we set the start date for the share. The start date is weather dependent, and as we all know there is more snow in the forecast and Spring hasn't really been a thing yet. But it is tentatively set for the first full week of June.
So, naturally it's time to question whether or not we are behind because of the weather. We are a full week behind last year's schedule which I don't think is that bad considering the circumstances. On Tuesday we started transplanting our greenhouse starts into the field. On the same day there was still some snow lining the edges of the high tunnels! If after this weekend's snow the weather starts to shape up we could easily get back on track. So we all just have to shrug it off and accept what Mother Nature sends our way since we don't have a way to control it anyway(but if you do have a way to control it can you let me know? ;)
If you are getting antsy for Spring think about how we feel! The plants in the greenhouse are busting at the seems wanting to get in the ground, but Winter just isn't giving up. Today it seems like the sun never rose this morning, the wind is whipping and the imminent ice storm is weighing heavy on my shoulders. We have the generator at the ready, propane heaters at the ready, temporary extra supports in our high tunnels and blankets of sorts for the plants in the unheated tunnels. Let's collectively hope that after this winter storm we don't have to say winter storm anymore until it is Winter again and that Spring will come out of hiding along with the sun.
If you have signed up for the Spring Share and are wondering when the share will start it is set for the first full week of May, which is the week of the 7th. Once we have a better grasp on when the first vegetables of the share will be harvest-able we will email everybody in the Spring Share with more information. As we all know, the shares are all weather dependent and the Spring Share needs Spring to happen so it can, too.
Until then let's keep our finger crossed that this ice storm doesn't bring to much ice. Stay safe.
Spring is running a little late this year. It 'officially' started on the 20th of March and we got a little sneak peek, but it's snowing outside right now and another (that's right, I said another) wind storm is on it's way and scheduled to arrive this afternoon. Hopefully we won't lose power again today. On Wednesday the power went out at about 11:30 am. We weren't too worried about the greenhouse at that moment because the sun was coming out at times and keeping the temperatures around 60 degrees inside. Once NYSEG (NYS Electric and Gas) updated their outages webpage they had predicted we would get our power back just before midnight. With the sun seemingly permanently behind the clouds as we entered the evening and the winds at about 50 mph the temperature in the greenhouse started dropping below 50.
Granted at this moment with 7 more hours on tap before the electricity was scheduled to be turned back on we were just concerned about keeping it above freezing inside the greenhouse. We started prepping the generator and grabbing extension cords and setting everything up. Our plan was to turn the thermostat up higher than normal and turn on the heat using the generator, then let it heat the greenhouse to temperature and turn off the generator. We did not want to run the generator without a load on it. We were then going to time how long it took for the temperature to drop to 40 and plan on turning it on again after that timed interval. So with our grand plan in place we were all set up and almost unplugging the heater from the greenhouse to plug it into the generator when...a small hum started. I was looking around and told Steve to 'wait a minute'. The electricity had turned back on at 5:30pm, 6 hours after turning off but just in time for us not to have to take shifts throughout the night turning the generator on and off. And all the little plants waiting for their time in the sun (whenever that comes back) where no worse for wear. The freaking crazy winds continued until about 6:30 pm when it seemed like Mother Nature flipped a switch and they all but stopped.
My head was still humming, but I was relieved we wouldn't be sleeping in our winter coats and waking up every hour or two to turn on the generator and heat up the greenhouse. The farm house had only dropped to 58 and though I was mentally prepared for what was to come, I did not want to do it. I definitely take electricity for granted, even though it is an extremely fragile system and we are probably lucky it works as well and as often as it does. Solar power (and wind power on that day for crying out loud!) start to make a lot of sense after a day like that, eh?
I just have to say it: I can't stand commercials or commentary that make fun of vegetables. Kale gets it's fair share of unprovoked attacks. Kale didn't do anything but help people. Seriously.
This is the first time since last Spring I've gone without the option of eating kale whenever I wanted (we don't buy produce at the grocery store because we grow all the produce we eat) and I miss it! The winter kale is the best kale there is...it's the kale we give out in the Winter Share. It is the most tender and the sweetest and we were devouring all kinds of kale salads this winter, among other things. But alas, there is no more until next winter. I will just have to wait.
So lay off the attacks. Yes it is just as manly and cool to eat kale as it is to eat whatever else they're advertising. Remember to treat kale and all vegetables the same way you would like your food to treat you (and your body).
The weather whiplash is in full effect. My dad keeps saying things like "It must be March", which has somehow become his least favorite month. Though my anxiety starts to increase this time of year, partly due to the weather, I love March. It can be sunny and 50 and then snow a foot. It gives me energy to work and then makes me sit on the couch or behind the computer. It's also the month of our largest single seeding in the greenhouse since we start all of our vegetables in the shares from seed. So we'll be working inside the greenhouse on a sunny day in March in t-shirts sometimes. March also has the first day of Spring which is on the 20th.
So lots-o-changes in the immediate future for the farm, which is a good thing. Like I said, it's regenerative and gives me energy and excitement for the year as long as March isn't dumping 2 feet of snow on the ground at once (knock on wood).
**Don't forget to send us your second payment for your vegetable share. We're aiming for June 4th for the Summer Share and May 7th for the Spring Share. And if you want that mushroom share let Rusty Bucket Mushrooms know (link in previous post and in your inbox)
It feels like the New Year has just begun here on the farm. Now that the Winter Share is officially over we can turn our sights fully on 2018 and start revving the engines. We'll be completely excited when the first seed of the season germinates (either in the ground in the High Tunnel or in a tray in the Greenhouse). Sometimes at the end of a long season it can be hard to muster the energy to think about ever being excited about germinating seeds again, but here we are just as excited as before.
So I hope you are as excited about shares starting as we are about seeds. If you are on the payment plan please remember to send us your second payment (look for all the info in the emails we sent out yesterday). We are looking at the week of June 4th as the start week for share pick ups. Also, we are excited to add Rusty Bucket Mushrooms to our list of farm friends who will be delivering mushroom shares to the share room on your pick up days. So if you are wanting to add a mushroom share check out the email we sent out or head over to their website to sign up (remember to tell them you're with Root Down Farm)
Phew. We've reached the final distribution for the Winter Share and it also marks the final share for the 2017 growing season. Though we are pretty far into 2018 now the farm can final bid 2017 farewell and move on. We are flipping the root cellar right after the final share on Thursday and turning it into our early season propagation house where the first seeds of 2018 will be planted. Here we go again!
So we will see all of you Winter Share members for the last time this week and we won't see you again until everything is green again.
This week's share will include: carrots, beets, potatoes, parsnips, celeriac, turnips, radishes, kale, horseradish, cayenne peppers, cabbage, and hopefully some spinach from the high tunnel! Don't forget to let us know if you are planning on purchasing extra produce ahead of time.
Steve and I just returned from a brief (but jam packed) vacation to southern Florida where we enjoyed 78 degree sunny days. It was relaxing, but by the end we were ready to go home and see some snow. While we were away we mentioned Groundhog Day to a few people we met in passing and it was like they never really consider it...ever! I guess when "Winter" consists of 78 degree days and sunshine you may not pay much attention to whether or not there will be 6 more weeks of it or not. I, on the other hand, kind of view this date as the start of the long haul which is why we had to stuff in a vacation now before we are on lock down on the farm through the Summer.
Don't let all this warm weather talk get to your head. We have 2 more Winter Share pick ups including the one this week. The final share will be the week of February break for area schools so if you are traveling during this week please look at our email we sent you about it. This week's share will include: carrots, beets, onions, cabbage, kale, sweet potatoes, parsnips, celeriac, radishes, turnips, horseradish, hot peppers, and popcorn.