Spring Update/First Box Date!

Greetings all,

Things are well under way out on the farm!  Although spring is stubbornly slow this year, there is still much activity.  We will be making our first CSA and restaurant deliveries Tuesday June 18th and Thursday June 20th!  CSA members please refer to your confirmation email you received after signing up on details for your drop site, day and time. Feel free to call or email if you have any questions.
As of late we’ve been planting brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower), salad greens, radishes, turnips, and prepping areas that will be the future homes of tomatoes, zucchini, melons and peppers.  The red plastic “mulch” pictured below will be home to the 1500 tomato plants going in the ground this year.  If you look hard enough you can see Heather and Brian in the way distance shoveling soil every 4 feet to keep the mulch from blowing away.  This mulch serves as a weed barrier and helps prevent soil born fungal diseases such as blight from splashing up on the tomato plants during a rain.  Its red in color because the specific wave lengths of reflected light actually encourage higher yields from the tomato plants.

Because we do not use synthetic pesticides, we will often use row cover fabric as a way of keeping unwanted insects from eating our plants.   Under the cover in the picture below are rows of Broccoli, Cauliflower and Cabbage being protected from flea beetles, a tiny black hopping beetle that that come in small swarms to chews holes in the leaves of the plants, often to the point of killing young plants or causing highly undesirable cosmetic damage.  The black items on the row cover are sandbags.  To the right of the cover in the middle you can barely make out the rows of sweet corn that are coming up!  Its an odd sight at the end of the day to have put in so much work and look out over the field and see nothing but what seems to be bare soil and large sheets of fabric with conspicuous black dots.
A view from the field looking towards the house and barn, the white line is measuring tape to mark future rows.
We are spending a lot of time fertilizing the fields right now with both composted manure and pelletized minerals as below.  We mix up quantities of minerals such as zinc, boron, copper along with granulated turkey manure.  Many of the minerals are derived from rocks, such as phosphate, and other mineral deposits in the earth and are refined into a spreadable product and tested for a minimum guaranteed amount of specific nutrients.  Its amazing to me that someday in the near future I (and you for that matter) will be eating these little mineral pebbles in a slightly different, vegetative form.  We feed the soil, the soil feeds the plants, the plants feed us.  The cycle is somewhat incomplete since we are not directly feeding the soil with our, um, by-products.  Instead it is a process of mining from one area and re-concentrating those reserves in another. The beautiful thing about matter is that it doesn’t disappear, it just rearranges and moves–the important question for nutrient cycling is where does it move to and how easy can we re-retrieve it after we carefully mine it, apply it, and eat it?
The wonderful Kubota tractor with the “cone spreader” used to spread above minerals.
Frank the dog on the onion patch sidelines–he does surprisingly well not crossing over from the field borders into the gardens and will often spend his day laying near by while we work.
Looking forward to a good start to the eating season!  
Brandon, Heather and Brian.

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