We are really excited that Spring is HERE in full force. CSA memberships are coming in, seeds are being planted, the ground is thawed and is drying up. It’s brown town on the farm right now, but little buds are forming on the trees and the grass will be up before we know it. The greenhouse is going full force already. Have a look!
We have half of the greenhouse filled! Onions, herbs, kale, collards, chard, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, and cauliflower are up already. The bulbs of garlic are peeking out of the still cold ground. It’s still very tiny under the mulch. Also getting an early start this season is the GIANT PUMPKIN. You’ll wanna make it out to the harvest party to see what is sure to be an impressive first attempt at a GIANT PUMPKIN.
We are surely having a spring for the record books. In the past 6 years of growing vegetables commercially here in MN/WI the earliest we have been in the field has been April 5th to plant peas and Spinach. I know there are some folks on lighter soil that are already planting. It’s really hard to say what the weather will bring, I’m over being the first ones in the field and getting seeds in the ground early. I know we can have some cold spells early in April, and seeds rot.
I’m a bit worried about the dry weather pattern that has been setting up. But I won’t make any predictions as to what kind of summer it will be. In other El Nino years everything has been backwards, hot and dry spring and cool and damp summer, and an early frost in the fall. At least that is what my memory serves. But you never know.
The one thing we are doing this year that really sets my mind at ease and, should too yours, is investing $20,000 in an irrigation system. This will allow us to irrigate easily. The operative word being EASILY. Many times we cross our fingers and let the plants tough it out. This will allow us to do both drip irrigation and overhead sprinkling from a main line that runs the entire property East to West.
The other thing that this should tell you about us and about our farm, is that we are FULLY committed to this career. We won’t back out when it get’s tough, we’ve been through tough. This is our home and where we plan to stay. So if you’re a member of ours or thinking about being a member, keep that in mind. We want to grow the best food for your family and ours and we need your continued support over the years. As a wiser man than me once said, ‘we only want people who love us’. We work hard and put a lot of ourselves into this and the best feeling is to have people come back year after year.
We haven’t yet developed a large enough CORE membership (members that are loyal and sign up right away without shopping around) to stop advertising and find those who are willing to take us on as their sole vegetable farmers, but eventually we will get there. We have about half of our membership in now, around the first of April. Last year we were a far cry from that. It grows slowly but every year we have more and more people commit to this way of getting food. We like to compare it to having a Plumber or a Mechanic that you call every time when you need them. Your farmer could be someone who you trust and go to every spring for your delicious local produce (and pork).
The other big thing we decided to do this winter was to buy a rock picker. We did hire Randy, a neighboring farmer to pick rock for us last season. But unfortunately he couldn’t make it out here until most of our plating was done already, so we ended up picking near 11 acres all by hand. One loader bucket at a time. This became hard on the tractor, and also hard on our backs. This hunk of steel pictured will give us the ability to pick rock when we need it picked without relying on someone else to get it done, when they already have their own fields to plant and pick rock from.
Every farm has their ‘quirks’ ours just happens to be rocks. Some people have deer pressure, some have horrible weed pressure, some have no access to good water, or hilly ground, or very windy. Considering the options, rocks are a unique problem, but not unsolvable.
Thanks to all those that have signed up so far. You’ve allowed us to get this far, if you still want to sign up but haven’t done so yet, hurry we could fill up in May. We have multiple events where we will be promoting our farm, and April and May have been in the past our busiest months for memberships! Happy Spring, everyone! Enjoy the show!