Volume XXIII, Number 3 – May 2014
Weather notes: (COLD!)
Precipitation to date this year: Rain: 10.05"
What’s up on the farm?
Holy cow, where does the early spring go? While it isn't uncommon for me to miss one newsletter posting during the winter/spring, this is the first year that I managed to miss TWO! Yeesh! I promise that we are better at growing and delivering vegetables than we are at timely newsletter production!
So, what have we been up to since the last newsletter? (Hang on to your hats, here we go!)
The big early news is that we added a fancy "new" piece of equipment to the farm this year, a New Idea #17 manure spreader (circa 1950 or so). It doesn't sound very sexy, but it allowed two of us to compost all of the upper gardens (6 plots) in two afternoons. In the past it took 3-4 of us several full days to complete this work, and it was MUCH easier on the back and arm muscles! With this big task done is such quick fashion, we were able to make quick work of the tilling and other bed prep, then right on to the early sowing. At this point, we have sown or transplanted the following in the beds: kale, kohlrabi, spinach, turnips, peas (snap & snow), carrots, beets, mustard greens, radishes, salad greens, edible flowers, potatoes, onions, leeks, shallots, head lettuce, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, arugula, chard, fennel, beans, edamame and herbs. We are also done sowing our warm weather transplants and will start transitioning those to the gardens later this week, including: eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, okra, winter & summer squashes, sweet potatoes and melons.
The 2014 farm crew started in staggered fashion in April and now all are on board for the season. We've got a great crew this year including our two seasoned BGF veterans, Kelsey & Chelsea. To their experience and humor we have added the enthusiastic and motivated, Jack. They are a fun and hard-working team and between the three of them, those pesky weeds don't stand a chance!
All of the farm animals are appreciating the warmer temperatures as much as we are. The chickens and alpacas have been enjoying the lush green pastures and have already rotated through several locations to keep the pastures and critters healthy and growing well. While pleased with their grazing opportunities, the alpacas are a bit disgruntled these days, as the shearer came to visit early last week and "liberated" their fine fleeces. It is pretty funny to see them go from big fluffy animals to somewhat silly looking creatures, and I suspect it is a little hard on their self-esteem. It was fun to have the shearer confirm that Abby (the female alpaca) is indeed pregnant and will likely deliver a cria (baby alpaca) within the next month. So now the whole farm is on cria-watch!
Blue and Luci love this time of year as there is much activity and many more hands around for petting and playing. Indigo is growing ridiculously fast and becoming both a charmer and a troublemaker, as we would expect with a 13-week old puppy. He is learning lots of lessons from both human and canine teachers and finds the alpacas and the chickens simply fascinating.
The local wildlife has been doing its part to keep up well entertained while working in the fields. Wild turkey, pheasant and quail are all calling around the farm and timber and the crew exerts some humorous efforts to call back to them. We are also serenaded regularly by flocks of oriels, finches, wrens, bob-o'links, bluebirds, geese and hummingbirds.
2014 CSA Season
We anticipate the first delivery of the 2014 season will be Tuesday, June 3rd. Delivery locations include Ritual Café (13th & Locust, Des Moines), The Next Chapter (202 E Robinson St, Knoxville) and at the farm. We will be sending out an orientation letter/email the week before deliveries begin just to provide the final details and as a reminder that the deliveries will be starting. All unpaid membership invoices are overdue at this time, unless you have made other arrangements. If you can't bear to wait these next two weeks for farm-fresh produce, the Downtown Des Moines Farmer's Market is in full swing every Saturday from 7am-noon. Stop by and see us in the double blue tents at 2nd & Court.
Is a monthly newsletter not enough for you and you want to read more about our daily adventures or see pictures of the farm? You can follow us on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm
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, and Indigo)