Saturday, March 30, 2019

BGF News - March 2019-Vol. XLI, No.5

Seedlings of a new shallot variety we are trialing this year.

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past month: Snow: 2.00"
                                                             Rain: 1.7"

Happy Spring from all of us at the farm! It is a time of huge changes, seasonally speaking. The impressive snows have finally melted, the mud had (temporarily) dried up a bit and the fresh green of spring is creeping across the fields. A rainy afternoon seemed like the perfect time to get caught up on our monthly newsletter before the calendar tells me I missed March. The farm calendar is a wealth of information from upcoming planting dates to past snowfall and temperatures. What I don't need the calendar to tell me is what a crazy winter it was and how glad we are to be on this side of it. This was the hardest/coldest/snowiest winter we've had since moving to the farm in 2005 and we aren't sad to have it in the rear-view mirror. Don't get me wrong, there is still plenty of opportunity to have
 winter weather, but the trend should be in our favor for warmer  temps at the very least. 
Garlic pushing through straw mulch

It isn't just the calendar giving us seasonal clues. In the past few weeks, flights of snow geese have flown overhead in huge V's and the vultures, meadowlarks and killdeer have returned to the farm from their winter homes to the south. Just this week, the spring peepers (chorus frogs) have woken from their silent winter naps and are filling the afternoon and evening hours with their song and we got our first glimpse of garlic poking up from the straw mulch.

Since last month's newsletter we have hosted a weekend retreat for our Gang of 5 farm friends, sold our wares at a fiber festival, had three VegEmail sales, sown lots of seeds, reset the packing barn, slogged around in A LOT of mud, pulled winter-ruined row cover from two gardens, chased escapee alpacas and started clearing spent crops from the big high tunnel. There's also been a fair amount of paperwork done in preparation for the upcoming season, including all of the garden maps. Here's an example of this year's map of the big high tunnel. It is the most complicated of our growing spaces as it has three rotations and multiple crops in each bed.
2019 crop map for High Tunnel 2

We are now just five short weeks from the opening of the farmers market. YIKES! And just about two months from the start of the 2019 CSA season. If you want more information, check out the CSA page on our website here: Blue Gate Farm . Ready to climb on board? The signup form is quick and easy and you can find it here: 2019 CSA Signup Form.  If you are interested, but don't think you can consume a full share of vegetables each week, let us know and we'll see if we can pair you up with someone else in your community with whom you could split your share. Questions? Shoot us an email at A bounty of farm-fresh thanks to those of you who have already signed up and especially to those who have already sent in payments!!

If you can't wait any longer for farm-fresh products, we continue to do our VegEmail deliveries all winter long. Every 2 weeks you can order from our list of available products and we will deliver them to Des Moines, Knoxville or you can pick them up on the farm. Eggs, fresh produce, popcorn and herbs all rotate through our availability list until the start of the farmers market season. If you want to receive the VegEmail announcements, just fill out the form here: Mailing List and be sure to indicate which delivery location you prefer.

Is a monthly newsletter not enough for you and you want to read more about our daily adventures or see pictures of the farm?  Follow us on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm and/or share your recipes, experiences and questions with other BGF members at Blue Gate Farm Community.

That’s about it this week, if you have any questions or comments be sure to let us know. 
Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and Luci, Indigo & Sky)