Spring Update from Picadilly

Picadilly Farmer Jenny Wooster writes:  “April irrigation – that would be a “first”, coming on the heels of our first March plowing ever!…In our efforts to reduce field tillage overall, we have moved away from using a traditional moldboard plow. With our light, sandy loam soils, a disk-chisel-type plow serves us well. Seven shanks run as deep as 14”, or as shallow as 6”. These chisels, in combination with two gangs of rolling disks, loosen the topsoil and break up the roots of our winter cover crops, without flipping or churning the soil excessively. The ground we plowed yesterday will fill up throughout the next month with lots of good food – the first greens and roots, then 2½ acres of potatoes, followed by an acre of onions and leeks. We’ll seed down a handful of acres to oats, to be cut in June for straw. Then we’ll use the straw to mulch pathways between beds of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, as well as to top off strawberries and garlic in the fall…Our propagating greenhouse is 90% full of seedlings already..Onions are “damping off” a bit in the flats: the tiny seedlings rot right below soil level, when the “wrong” soil fungi gain a foothold over the “right” ones. So, onions are on the TLC train, getting extra boosts of fish fertilizer and beneficial bacteria and fungi. Our planting buffer will come in handy for this crop this season. In spite of the new challenges and lessons learned every year (and perhaps because of them), I always circle back to the understanding that this whole activity of growing food is a miracle, only peripherally controllable by me. These thousands of small, hard seeds that roll through our fingertips into the soil: the life that bursts forth is an astonishing gift.”

Mark Your Calendar for the Picadilly Annual Strawberry Festival

Saturday, June 23.

Strawberry picking, walks around the farm, visits with the chickens and the pigs.  Bring a picnic and a blanket or some lawn chairs.  Join in the singing with the Family Folk Chorale in concert www.familyfolkchorale.org.  And of course, save some space for strawberry shortcake!  This is a fabulous time to visit and get to know Picadilly, one of the primary growers for Shared Harvest.