September and October 2014
We bought a farm! It has been an incredibly busy couple of months. Between paperwork for purchasing our new farm, picking during peak harvest time, taking down and moving farm structures, driving school buses, parenting, and sleeping, we have had little time for much else. We did enjoy celebrating Edith's first birthday with a trip to Como Zoo. Now, we look forward to moving into our new home and planning for our fourth season as Sweet Top Farm. Interested in becoming a CSA member of Sweet Top Farm (or know someone who would--shares make fantastic gifts)? Sign up for 2015 by preregistering here.
August marks a time of year when a little bit of everything is happening on the farm. The last of the fall crops--broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, kohlrabi, spinach, arugula, beets--get planted into the ground. This is always a celebratory time for us as we finish planting and shift to keeping rows free of weeds, well-watered, and harvested on a regular basis. The bounty of the summer arrives towards the end of the month as tomatoes and peppers start to ripen and green beans hang heavy on their bushes. Before we know it, fall harvest will be here, and hints of the changing season occur as sunlight softens and autumn crops ripen.
With the weather a bit more cooperative this month, plants have been able to put on some good growth and get closer to where they should be this time of year. We are starting to see the first of the summer produce ripening--tomatoes, eggplant, summer squash, and zucchini--and have spotted many cantaloupes that we hope will be ready at the end of August. With more work to do during this time of year, we have been grateful for some extra help from our parents (who are happy to play with cheery Edith while we take care of the farm work) and farm members Grace, Jeanne, and Cecelia, who helped wash cucumbers and weigh and distribute potatoes into boxes. At the end of the month, we harvested all three varieties of garlic and are thrilled with the results. It was a bountiful and rewarding harvest, and we will have plenty to share and lots of quality seed to plant this fall.
It's been a very wet month to say the least! Some days we walk out to the field and turn right back around because it is just too wet to do anything. Other days, we find ourselves rushing to get as much work done as possible before the next rainstorm, hoping that our efforts aren't in vain. Most of the vegetables are hanging in there and fighting the saturated soil as best they can. A few of our early direct seeded crops--carrots being one of them--failed to germinate after multiple heavy downpours, but as the soil dries out, we will replant them as soon as we can. Now, we need some warmer temperatures and a period of sunshine so all the summertime favorites--tomatoes, squash, cucumbers--can catch up. In the meantime, we are eating lots of greens and introducing Edith to farm fresh vegetables. Her favorite so far makes the biggest mess and stains everything from her hair to her clothes. Can you guess what it is?
The month of May always seems to fly by, keeping us busy with work in the greenhouse and the field. With frequent heavy rains throughout the month, the work in the field alternated between waiting for the soil to dry out enough to take the tractor out and hurrying to get as much done as possible before the next rainstorm. With assistance from our new Farm Manager Edith (along with her Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle Tony), we were able to spend three sunny weekends in a row planting thousands of plants from onions, peppers, and tomatoes to watermelons, cantaloupes, cucumbers, and winter squash. Megan even got to spend an entire afternoon putting in all the flowers for the season. Thankfully, we caught up and got a little bit ahead of our planting schedule before Mother Nature dumped four inches of rain on us on May 31 and June 1. Although a little water-logged, the plants seem to have pulled through the rains just fine. Now it is time for some sunshine so all the little plants can grow, grow, grow (Edith's hungry!).
This time of year, we are itching to get into the fields. Snowflakes and raindrops tend to keep us out longer than we would like. In the meantime, we take care of projects: repairing the rototiller, changing the fluids in the tractor, putting up the deer fence for the season, and taking the mulch off the garlic. Megan and Edith were able to fly to North Carolina to visit Edith's great grandparents and celebrate her 6 month birthday. She even got to help plant her first garden and play outside in short sleeves and bare feet (as did her mama). Despite the rainy end to the month, Adam was able to squeeze in some field work and plant the first succession of sugar snap peas. With a cold frame full of transplants ready to go in the ground, let's hope for some warm, dry weather to start out the month of May.
After a cold winter, nothing breaks a bout of cabin fever like a sunny afternoon in the greenhouse planting seeds for a new farming season. While we enjoyed time at home over the past several months getting to know our little farmer Edith, we are happy to be getting our hands dirty once again. Edith has been helping us get in shape to work in the field with baby bench-presses and lots of crawling on the ground. She even assisted with the seed order this year, flipping through pages of colorful photos deciding what will be the best vegetable for her plate come summertime. It turns out that Edith is as excited about carrots as the rest of our supporters, so there will be no shortage of those going into the ground this season. In the meantime, we will all have sweet dreams of warm spring days with hopes that lettuce and sugar snap peas fresh from the field will be here before we know it.