Spring Forward the Apprentice Community

Our Cup Overfloweth, extra tomato seedlings in a steamy greenhouse

A somewhat duplicated letter sent this AM to soon arriving apprentices, with info. perhaps of interest to all of our CSA community.

Farm Ladies,

We are now a group of five for the summer, with the addition of one male for the month of July.   I’m looking forward to the arrival of all of you, am happy that Kate K. will be here in a few days, and feel as though June is far away.. but know the rest of you will be here soon enough.  I’ve been meaning to write the group of you a farm update for some time.

It has been an incredibly mild Spring here in Maine.  There are still the usual bouts of odd weather; yesterday for comfort long-underwear and my wool hat were necessary through episodes of sun, snow, and hail.  All told, the ground is warmer and the grass and trees are much farther ahead in their development than the normally are this time of year.

I’ve spread a lot of compost and have been patiently plowing, discing, and tilling in cover crop plantings of rye (grown last Fall and early Spring) to help assure us good nutrients for this season’s crops.  Soil tests came back this week showing health far greater than my expectations.  Last year I really focused on improving our growing ground and that focus seems to have paid off.  Hopefully the dividends will also show themselves in healthy yields.  All told, this ground is still wet.  We have heavy soil here and it is simply it’s nature that I can do some things about, but also primarily have to accept for what it is.  A big drainage project will begin on Monday to help redirect some water flow, but clay is clay.  I daydream about a Dandelion Spring Farm line of pottery to accompany our food sales.

I am getting crops direct seeded and have slowly started transplanting out the first lettuces and other cold hearty crops.  I’ll admit, I’m a competitive person and I have to force myself to not look at other farms Facebook pages or think with envy how far ahead my friends and competition is that have other types of soil to grow on.  I like a challenge, and that is partly why I’m here, but this land affords other opportunities as well…. it just may not show itself with the earliest crop in town.

So we keep prepping, and planting, and planning, staying focused on our own farm bubble but also eagerly looking forward to sharing our work with our Community Supported Agriculture and farmers’ market communities.  For our first markets will have a good supply of arugula, spicy mix, and some of our very special micro-green blends.  Perhaps some parsnips and fiddleheads will round out the ranks.  Bok choi, too?

Keep dreaming, and stretching your mind and body.  I’m looking forward to sharing the physical work and good conversation.  Bring your favorite bug repellent too. That wet March and nice mild weather has brought a bumper crop of black flies this season.  I also suspect the mosquitoes will arrive early.

See you soon,

Beth

(ps.  Apple trees to plant and the first round of beef for farmers’ market sales will be picked-up today, and ten pink piglets will be picked-up tomorrow.)

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