A New Season

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Hard to believe it’s already April 15th but as an old friend used to say: “time flies when you’re alive.” As each new season approaches we pull out the previous years’ logs and begin making plans for the upcoming year. As the daylight hours lengthen our bodies and minds go through a similar transition. One thing that happens when you spend most of your life outdoors is a true connection to the circadian rhythm – our energy level and optimism truly increase with every minute of extra daylight. It is this optimism that becomes are closest, most trusted ally for the next 9 months.

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This year, so far, we’ve been just as busy as any other. We’ve added 600 linear feet of fencing around our greenhouses to keep the deer out and our tomatoes, peppers and starts in! As many of you know, we’ve had increased deer pressure on the farm over the past 3 seasons. What started as me (Matt) chasing them around on my tractor and throwing rocks at them has progressed to fencing (a much more effective and less stressful measure I might add). In our main fields – where we do the growing of vegetables – we’ll continue using an electric fencing setup. We use a handy solar powered unit that delivers electric jolts via a hotwire tape attached to t-posts. This seems to be an effective way of deterring the deer and is more feasible considering we can remove it at the end of the growing season – living in a floodplain means the less permanent the fencing the better. You can imagine how much debris can get caught in a fence line during a high water event.

As of this writing we have 6000 row feet of vegetables planted, which includes:

Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collards, napa cabbage, pac choi, chard, lettuce, scallions, beets, carrots and fennel (and probably a few things I’m missing)

Again we’ve had some great weather from February to date with plenty of dry days to work the soil, transplant and direct seed – subsequently we seem to get the rain when we need it too. Before the end of April we’ll get our tomatoes in the ground and seed our summer squash, cucumbers and winter squash and also continue with our rotations of the items mentioned above.

As we head into another season I’ll leave you with a quote from Wendell Berry’s ‘Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front’

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.

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