Tuesday, April 23, 2013

BGF News April 2013

Weather notes:
Precipitation to date this month: Rain: 6.7”
Snow: trace

What’s up on the farm?

Well, here we are in April and I'm pretty sure that I am not going to get the February and March newsletters done. Not sure how that happened, just suddenly, here it April! I'm fairly certain that every year since we moved to the farm (now 8 years ago) that the month of March has gotten shorter, to the extent that I'm convinced this year we skipped it altogether!

So a little review of what we've been up to here since that long ago last newsletter…

Much transplant sowing has happened in the sunroom (our plant nursery). To date the following plants have been started on the heat mats, germinated and moved to the sunny southern windows and some have even graduated out to the high tunnels: onions, leeks, shallots, edible flowers, herbs, garden huckleberries, ground cherries, broccoli, cabbage, peppers, eggplant, basil, tomatoes, head lettuce, cucumbers, okra, summer squash & zucchini. Whew!

In the high tunnels, all the beds have been prepped for spring crops and in the big tunnel, the sown crops are all up and growing, including: radishes, chard, arugula, salad mix, spinach, choi & snow peas. The smaller tunnel is currently serving as the "hardening off" house and is awaiting warmer weather for the first planting of tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.

We were able to get a fair amount of bed prep (composting and tilling) done before the rains started this week. And before that we even got the earliest field crops sown, including: kale, kohlrabi, spinach, turnips, peas, carrots, beets, mustard greens, radishes and the first field sowing of salad mix. In a normal year, we would have already planted potatoes and transplanted all the onion/leek/shallot crops, but the extra cool temps have slowed us down there.

In addition to garden work, we've also continued with our woodcutting chores from the winter. Jill has continued to do lots of fiber/yarn work and Sean continues his work with PFI (Practical Farmers of Iowa) in Ames. Spring chores have included trimming the orchards, burning the asparagus field and ordering lots of supplies for the upcoming season.

The hens have been appreciating the recent rains, for though they aren't big fans of mud, they do love the current profusion of earthworms in the pasture. We acquired about 50 younger birds about a month ago to help our older hens with egg production and suddenly we were flush with 10-12 dozen eggs a day. They add up fast at that rate!

The "new girls aren't our only addition to the farm this spring. At the beginning of March, Jill's grandfather moved in with us, so there are now three generations of Beebouts living on the farm. That is a high concentration of ice cream eaters all in one place, but we seem to be making out just fine.

The bees haven't made too much of an appearance this spring. The cool, windy conditions aren't prime bee weather, but on the milder days, the buzzing between the pollinating trees and the hives is pretty much nonstop. The weather has delayed delivery of our new bees, coming from California. They were supposed to arrive last week, but we hope to see them sometime in the next week or so.

2013 CSA Season
We are full for the 2013 CSA season. We have received most of the member deposits and just a reminder that any remaining balances are due by May 1st. Thanks to those of you who sent in your payments early.
We anticipate the first delivery of the 2013 season to be the first week of June, weather-depending.

That’s about it this month, if you have any questions or comments be sure to let us know. 

Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and Blue & Luci)

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