Sunday, April 22, 2012

Spring already?!

I'm not sure what happened to winter. I feel like I blinked, and suddenly it's planting season again. Our to do list, and our seedlings are growing fast. 
The picture from our last post had summer squash and peppers in it, so I know it's been quite a while since we last wrote.
So where did winter go?
We've been juggling many different projects. A good amount of time was spent doing office work. Planning for our 2012 crops and markets, as well as completing all the paperwork to be certified a organic (we should get the official certification any week now).  Also sourcing equipment, thanks to the MEGA grant that is helping us with capital improvements this year. We recently bought a used fertilizer spreader and are in the process of buying a used walk in cooler! more improvements to come...
On the farm we've been maintaining equipment. (here covered in grease after greasing the many fittings on our spader)
We spent a significant amount of time burning brush piles. We are very pleased to finally be done with the enormous brush pile that was created at the north end of the farm before we signed our lease on the property. I wish I had "before" shots of how huge and ugly it was. It was a mountain of vines, stumps, mud and rocks.  I'm happy to report that it is now cleaned up and the whole area is cover cropped. 
It's been such a mild spring that we started planting in the field earlier than planned, and are about to harvest our first spring salad greens. We just made a big push on Friday and planted over 1/4 acre of potatoes. The big planting push next week will be onions.
This spring has also been extremely dry. The good news is that we put in a well (with help from an NRCS grant), and will soon be set up to irrigate. 
The bad news is that we had to drill 2 wells... the first was dry, ugh! But the second was not too deep, and seems to be very productive. The site of water pouring out of the ground from well number 2 sure was a relief! I'm sure we will soon become intimate with the headaches associated with irrigating... but for now, after essentially dry farming for the past 6 years, we are excited that we will soon be able to irrigate!

The other reason our winter was so busy is that we bought a house in Little Compton, RI (13 minutes from the farm). The process of buying it, and moving, as well as beginning to do some work on the house has taken a lot of time. Buying a house has been equally exciting and terrifying. The most exciting part about our new house is that it is on 2.5 acres of flat open land that the USGS soil maps tell us is prime agricultural soil. In the next week or so we'll be plowing up as much of the lawn as possible and planting cover crops, with the intention of growing crops on our own land beginning this winter. We'll keep leasing the farm in Westport and growing there too, but it's exciting to be land owners! We'll be able to put up greenhouses on our property too, which we hope will simplify springtime for us beginning next year. This spring we are very grateful to be borrowing greenhouse space from Northstar Farm again.