Sunday, May 29, 2011

May Farm Updates

Its hard to believe that its been nearly a month since our last update, but oh what progress we've made around the farm. Nearly all the spring transplants are in as are the first and part of the second rounds of crop sowing. The earliest crops in the high tunnel are already phasing out and we are in the process of transitioning over to mid-season crops there.

Work on the new building continues, but at a slower pace now as Jill's dad is mostly stuck working alone since Sean's knee (though much improved) is still not up to climbing ladders and the gardens require most of Jill's attentions.
 Looking great with 3/4 of the roofing and the east lean-to steel in place
There are no words to express how thankful we are for all of Dad's efforts and for the huge help provided by Sean C during his time here this past week!

The gardens are progressing very nicely, due mostly to the efforts of our this year's crack farm crew. The crops are looking the most promising that they have in many seasons. We wouldn't mind a little break from the rain now though!

The fruit trees are also looking exceptionally productive this year. Even the ancient apricot tree that only bears every 10 years or so is loaded with young fruit as are most of the peach trees and the apples and pears as well.

With so many things changing and growing, there was still one outstanding element that was causing a little deep-seated discomfort...until this weekend, that is...

 It may not look like much, but this is exactly what we've been waiting for, the appearance of the first, immature growth of our newly planting acre of asparagus crowns. So far it looks like we've got a pretty good preliminary survival/growth rate. Not very happy to see the standing water in parts of the patch, but hopefully the soil will drain fairly well since it was so recently worked. I was a little surprised at the immense feeling of relief that washed over me as I stood surveying the plot yesterday. Guess I was a little more worried about it than I realized.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Age of Asparagus

I have been rather neglectful of the blog recently, but things are really hopping around the farm, Sean included. Actually Sean is doing better and is slowly moving around the farm with a soft knee brace, a big improvement over the immobilizer.

The progress on the new building has continued, though on a much slower pace, as other spring chores have taken precedence. The biggest of these was the delivery of 6,500 asparagus crowns, which finally arrived after weeks of rain.
Two bundles of crowns, 30-50 crowns in each
Unfortunately, the weather eliminated our ability to host a work-day for the big planting project so we were left to our own devices. This included borrowing a furrowing implement from our friends at Grinnell Heritage Farm (HUGE thanks to Andy & Melissa!), and then hand placing all 6,500 crowns.

And finally, tucking each crown into its new bed. Luckily for us, this was made ever so much easier by my inventive Dad and his ingenious row-covering device.

Yep, that would be a 3-point bale stabber bracketed to two seat planks from my Grandpa Henderson's old picnic table, pulled by Dad's JD 2020...worked like a dream! We started Sunday afternoon and finished today before noon. A feat only accomplished with some amazing help. Huge thanks to Dad, Mom, Kristin & Uncle Dean for all their hard work, creative thinking, patience & restorative meals!

So now all we have to do is wait two years, and then we hope to have asparagus is abundance!