In a twist of irony, I have spent much of this winter daydreaming of ice and snow while travelling through the sweatstuck mosquito fever of a northeastern Brasilian summer. I thought I was pulling quite the trick by keeping myself in a perpetual summer groove, but by the end of my trip I found myself longing for the cyclic changing of the seasons. Give me snow, sweaters, mittens- I want to be able to appreciate warmth again!
From what I gather though, this winter has been less.. dramatic than usual. Upon returning to the States and preparing myself for the upcoming farming season, the occasional glance at Minnesotan temperatures haven’t quite corroborated my memories of the midwestern icebox. An average temp of 40 degrees in January and February? What a long and lovely fall ya’ll must be enjoying!
The USDA has recently released the long awaited updated plant hardiness zone maps (last time it was updated was in 1990) promoting us from 4a (average annual min temp between-30 to -25) to 4b (-25 to -20). For plant geeks and farmers- and especially us plant geek farmers- these changes are exciting, though tempered a bit by the in-your-face implications of our warming earthball. Though if this winter is any indication of a long growing season heading our way, we are primed to make the best of it, trying out some longer season and intense heat loving crops such as sweet potatoes and okra, as well as experimenting with some unusual varieties that we anticipate might be useful if this trend indeed continues (like the andean tuber crop Yacon, which, if it works this year, members may see in their boxes in the next growing season!)
Things are heating up in our notebooks and computers as well, as this year’s planting schedule and work plans are being formulated while Brandon awaits the coming of the seeds and the beginning of greenhouse work. It’s an exciting time at Sleepy Root- the potential energy is high, and we can’t wait to get out there and start turning it kinetic! We’ll keep you all posted as this spring unfolds and as we get a better idea of when the first box might be ready.