Thursday, February 27, 2020

BGF News - February 2020 - Vol. XLIII, No. 4

What's up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past month: Rain: 0.00"
                                                            Snow: 3.00"

While it is only the end of February, Spring is definitely in the air around the farm. We are seeing and hearing flights of geese and swans moving north, there is a softness to the air on certain afternoons and then there is this, the sound of moving water as the snows melt and the frost comes out of the ground. Turn up your speaker volume for the full effect.

We are also seeing the first hints of green in some of the hardier plants outside, including this parsley plant growing in a sheltered area of the herb garden.

But for us, the real harbinger of Spring is seed starting for our seasons's transplants. It starts slowly, with onions, leeks, shallots, celery, edible flowers, long season herbs and chard & kale (photo left) for the high tunnels. These crops are all sown and most are germinated and growing. In the next couple of weeks, things will start getting serious on the seed front with sowings of broccoli, cabbage, chard, kale, collards & head lettuce.

Besides sowing seeds, we have been catching up on lots of inside work including cataloging seeds, test germinating older seed, completing the garden maps and planting charts and stocking up on our yarn & wool roving inventory. We continue to make slow but steady progress on the storm damage to the house with the bedroom & living room nearly done and the office well underway. It will be such a relief when everything can go back to where it belongs (we are currently "office-ing" in our dining room).There are some outdoor activities that are getting done as well including starting to clear spent high tunnel crops, pruning fruit trees & bushes and on those bitterly cold days,  gathering eggs every 2 hours so they don't freeze. 

We've also been managing orders and harvesting for our VegEmail deliveries and working on planning, communications and record keeping for the 2020 CSA season. Speaking of the CSA, our veterans have had a chance to sign up and we are now releasing any available slots to new members. If you are a veteran CSA member and haven't yet signed up, please do so soon to ensure your spot. With the recent, heartbreaking news of our friends at Grinnell Heritage Farm retiring their CSA this season we are seeing a higher number of new member signups and we anticipate filling all our available slots. If you are a new member and are considering joining us for the 2020 season, now is the time to act. You can get all the details and sign-up form here: Blue Gate Farm CSA 2020

Upcoming dates of note:
March 21: Heartland Fiberpalooza - Winterset, IA
mid-April: CSA invoices go out
May 1: CSA  balance payments due
May 2: opening Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market
June 2: 1st CSA delivery

Remember if you can't wait until spring for farm-fresh products, you can place a VegEmail order every two weeks and we will deliver them to Des Moines, Knoxville or you can pick them up on the farm. Eggs, fresh produce, popcorn, jam and herbs all rotate through the availability list until the start of the farmers market season in early May.

Is a weekly newsletter not enough for you? Do you want to read more about our life on the farm and see more pictures? Follow us on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm or on Instagram at bluegatefarmfresh. CSA members can also connect with other BGF members to share recipes or ask questions on our FB community page at Blue Gate Farm Community.

That's about it for now. If you have any questions or comments, be sure to let us know.
Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and the whole BGF crew)

Indigo, Luci & Sky