Goodbye lazy month of January, Hello February.... Welcome to 2011. Yesterday was Imbolc, half way between winter slostice and the spring equinox, the celtic beginning of spring. I consider it at least that but also it's the end of the that 12 week period in which not much happens. If you will notice, things are just beginning to grow again, albeit slowly, but this changes rapidly as the suns intensity increases. Imbolc signals the time when we tie up loose ends. We welcome the coming light in anticipation of another growing season. Soon the real spring begins and we'll be sideways busy. So in real terms... sharpen your tools now boy.
Ahh tools, the quest continues. Finally found the cultivating tools I've bee searching for that fit on my old Farmall Super A. Great news, this stuff is getting hard to find and the tractor is worthless to me without it. So we'll finally have a second cultivating tractor in the field this year. Also finally purchasing a tine weeder. This ones been on my list for awhile now. We'll be able to cultivate "in row" between the plants with this one if it works properly. Also a great tool for stale bed farming, where we prep the beds prior to planting and let them set for a few days then run a tine weeder, rotary hoe or flame weeder through prior to planting. We can wipe out the first flush of weeds that way. We can also blind cultivate with the same tool. Blind cultivating is hitting the bed just before the seeded crop comes up. These are techiniques that can save us vast amounts of time and labor if done properly at the right time. My tool wish list is long and always getting longer. Alot of things we can find used but some things are either very specific or in high demand and therefore sell quick when they do come up. You have to be quick on the draw and having a pocket full of cash does'nt hurt either. Some tools on the list now are a manure/compost spreader, potato harvester, disc harrow, basket weeder and my big rotovator is on it's last leg and needs to be replaced as well. We need a van too.
We're just starting to sow this week. The freezing temps set us back a couple of days but nothing worth noting. Very soon we'll have the hoophouse's full of starts destined for the field. Lots of other projects getting ready to happen as well and we have some system uprgrades and maintenance as always. So really for us, winter is over and we are firmly on the road to another year of growing. I'm pretty fired up about it and looking forward to big year. I have some lofty goals set for the farm this year, perhaps a little too lofty but I'm hopeful to hit the mark. As long as we do our best, grow nice produce, pay our bills, and put a little in the bank I'll be happy.
The weather is looking like it's going to gives us a break here. We should be dry enough in a few days to at least work our dry spots and get some beds prepped to plant out our earliest crops of peas, favas and hardy greens. Usually you're better off to wait a bit but we'll see what it looks like. Regardless, I can't wait to drag some steel through the fields. Can't ever get enough of that.
Thank you to those of you whom have renewed your CSA memberships. We really appreciate and need your support. Please keep them coming, it's our only source of farm income until we start the market in May.
Thanks all and keep well,