It looks like spring …..

It looks like spring in my basement. Thirty trays of alliums have germinated in the lasts two days. A couple of trays of parsely are contemplating germination. Celeriac seeds are basking in 80 degree soil and I expect they will soon pop. I plan to seed another 90 trays with lettuce, bok choy, napa, kale, spinach, scallions and pearl onions this week. No room in the basement for these. They will live in the hoop house on the farm, protected from freezing nights by layers of agricultural fabric and a small space heater under the benches. I’ve never used the hoop house to start seedlings this early in the season and I’m a bit nervous about it. In theory, everything should be fine.

This year I’m growing a number of new-to-me veggies and varieties: fava beans, garlic, cantelope, pole beans, Japanese black trifele tomato, French filet beans (Haricot vert), cauliflower, Asian greens tatsoi and senposal and dry beans. I’ve been advised to exercise caution and restraint when trying out new veggies and varieties. Try a little first and if it grows well, grow more next year; avoid filling my tiny field with new, untested varieties.

Critter update No fox sightings on the farm yet this year. I do hope they return. Lots of Candian geese fertilizing the fields, though.

Summer CSA This year I’ll be growing 40 CSA shares. I hope to begin distribution the second or third week of May. Of course, what I hope for and what nature allows may not coincide.

Preservation CSA Fifteen adventurous eaters signed up for a Preservation Share this year. The produce in this share will come in bulk quantities and is meant to be preserved for winter or early spring eating. Snap peas (June), green beans (July), cucumbers (August), tomatoes (August), dried beans (September), and cabbage (October) are planned. NOFA is offering a Putting Food By workshop in September that might be helpful to folks wanting to learn how to preserve veggies: http://www.nofamass.org/programs/skills.php#putting

Winter CSA I’m really excited about the 2008 multi-farm winter share. The planned content of the ’08 share has been adjusted to reflect many of the suggestions received by ’07 shareholders. Weather and pests permitting, the share will include more variety, including celery, broccoli, more leafy greens, leeks and hakurei turnips. I’d really like to include 5 to 10 pounds of storage apples, but I’ve no luck yet finding an orchard willing to commit. Lettuce mix would also be an awesome addition, as would honey and maple syrup. As of today, one hundred winter shares have been sold or reserved. I’ll be growing kale, collard greens, lettuce, escarole for the winter share. Bruce and Jenny (Picadilly Farm) will be growing beets, broccoli or cauliflower, Brussels’ sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celeriac, celery, leeks, onions, parsnips, potatoes, rutabaga, shallots, winter squash, sweet potatoes and turnips. Chris (Vanguarden CSA) will supply popcorn, onions, hakurei turnips, and a number of leafy greens, like napa cabbage and bok choy. These are the plans. As always, it’ll be interesting to see what mother nature allows.

There are more winter shares available. It’d be great to sell them all before April 1. It’s hard to do administrative work related to the CSA during the growing season. Plus, it’d be great to get the money to the farmers to ease the early season financial crunch.

Belmont CSA Shareholders join me on Thursday, March 20 at 4:00 for a tour of the farm and an introduction to plans for the season.

Helpers wanted, please contact me if you are interested in helping with either of these tasks.
Saturday morning, March 15 I’ll pick up the bulk ag. supply order at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln. I’d love some help lifting the tomato stakes and 50# bags of organic fertilizer into and out of my truck that day.

Saturday, March 8 I may be seeding in the hoop house. Might be a lot of seeding to be done – up to 50 trays. Space will be tight in the hoop house, and the seeds will be tiny, so this might not be a task for small children.

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