So far, potato planting has been the favourite activity for David and Chelsea. How could it not be; making sure each little circle has a potato in it and that one drops when it should (it's not necessarily as easy as it sounds, especially when the potato is too big to fit through the hole).
Planting in action!
Let it be known that rolling out brand new remay (aka floating row cover) is a glorious experience. Chelsea and David got to experience it on Monday -- the double wide remay means that for the same amount of shoveling, you cover twice the space. It's awesome!
What a delight it was to see a shadow hopping along in front of me as I walked through our packing shed to close the start greenhouse at night. I couldn't help but take it as a good sign, as frogs (okay, this is a toad) have been a symbol of prosperity, wealth, friendship and abundance in many cultures and a symbol of fertility in others. For the Romans, the frog was a mascot believed to bring good luck to one’s home. The native Aborigines of Australia believed that frogs brought the thunder and rain, to help the plants to grow (excellent on the rain front!). Given how things are going so far on the farm this season, there is much friendship and abundance to acknowledge. We have repeatedly been in awe of how much we've been seeding, singulating, and transplanting. If everything takes (and we can keep up with the weeding), we'll have a rich abundance of vegetables this season.
There has also been much gratitude for the help of Don Cavers, so that we could get a new rototiller that sets gorgeous beds, Sahaltkum Daycare for providing wonderful care for Avé (which means we have a solid day to get farm work done), our interns David & Chelsea for their keen interest in growing food and living in community, and Anne Grube for her help with cooking, window cleaning, Avé-care, weeding, tending to the currants, chicken care, and on and on. So much thankfulness for everyone who contributes to this farm!
This post is a bit later than intended. After the irrigation was turned on April 17, we were running all week -- finally have time to share all of this!
It is, shall we say, aromatic on the farm these days after the delivery of 30 tons of organic composted chicken manure. Half of the load was dropped at Golden Ears Farm, and the other half was delivered to our friends down the road: Martens Farm and Roots Up! Vegetable Farm. They are using it on hay fields and a market garden. The truck has a 'walking floor' to unload the compost -- fascinating!
With the very early, high temperatures, and little precipitation, I was starting to get worried about the crops that were seeded on April 11th. Lo and behold, I was pleasantly surprised to check up on the beets, spinach, and radishes and see that they were emerging. Here's a photo of spinach that germinated and emerged without external watering -- seeds are amazingly resilient and they remind me to have more faith in them!
Soon after the spinach photo was taken, we heard the glorious sound of the Chase irrigation system being turned on. Hallalujah -- I think you might have seen me and Tristan doing a happy dance! This meant it was time to shift into high gear and transplant alliums and kale, as well as direct seed 10 beds of veg.
Irrigation on the raspberries!
David and Chelsea transplanting onions...we're going to have so many onions this year, and shallots, and leeks. It's going to be awesome!
With all of the singulating that Chelsea and David have been doing, the start greenhouse is jam packed! Well, this was a week ago. Most of these trays are outside now, hardening up in preparation to be transplanted. We've got lots of corn that has emerged in the start greenhouse, which is exciting for us as we are trying this method for the first time this year.
Here is Tristan working his egg cauldron magic. He constructed an egg washer system that allows us to put a large basket of eggs into roiling water, mixed with egg sanitizer, where it sits for 2 - 3 minutes. Once finished, we pull the basket out and hang it to dry. This has cut down a lot on the time it takes to hand wash/dry/basket eggs. Thanks, Tristan!
Okay, you've been very patient. Here is little Astrid, born on April 15, with her mama Acorn, who is the daughter of April (can you see the naming trend here? Supposedly that's how you do it to be able to keep track of lineage). Astrid is a day old in this photo. You can't help but smile as you watch her get comfortable on her legs; wobbling around, then bursting out with a jump or a run here and there. She's something else!
Our pig pen got a second house moved into it on Tuesday, providing Peggy and/or Maggie with a place to have their piglets in May. They both seem quite happy with the new digs and we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of two drifts of piglets (we think and hope that the sows are both pregnant -- it's so hard to tell when they're already so large).
This lovely panoramic view of this segment of the farm shows our chick coop to the far left, greenhouse, cows and both pig pens (the boar was directly underneath Tristan as he was taking this picture, so you can't see him -- I guess he's shy or just too curious). What isn't visible is the millions of wildflowers on the hills. A bunch of us went up on Saturday to meander through them and it was stunning. Bluebells, shooting stars, Johnny jump ups, gaillardia, and so many more. Thanks to Anne for showing us this magical place.
In addition to loads of corn (David and Chelsea seeded a LOT so that we can experiment with transplanting early corn) and cute piglets to come, we have a nucleus of honeybees arriving on May 29. This ties in with a beekeeping seminar that will be hosted here. For full details, visit the Events page of our website. Doug Gordon is both informative and hilarious, so this learning experience will be most enjoyable. Hope you can join us to learn about these incredible creatures.
We've got so much started in the high tunnels and table top hoop houses, strawberries are getting weeded, and the irrigation gets turned on soon. This can only mean that we are going to have a TON of weeding to do shortly. Seriously, though, it means that we will have an abundance of delicious, super fresh items to include in our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) bags this year, which we still have spaces for. Program and subscription details can be found in the CSA Food Box section of our website. We would love to provide you with same-day harvested goodness from the middle of June to the third week of September (with farm pick-up, Chase delivery, and Kamloops drop-off options). Huge shout out to Kelsey for designing another fantastic CSA poster!
With the amount of seeding going on, we quickly ran out of space in the new start greenhouse that Tristan built in March. Plan B? Creating transition table-top hoop houses for the seedlings that are almost ready to be transplanted into the field (kale and onions). Chelsea and David did a fine job assembling two tables and putting new plastic on them. It feels great to have space where we can move onions, shallots, leeks, lettuce, and chard to in the next week.
Plan C? Tristan completed another shelving unit in the start greenhouse, so we have waaaay more room for additional trays. Just in the nick of time for tomatoes, peppers, some brassicas, pac choi, and the next batch of bunching onions.
Look at all of the seeding (on the right) that Chelsea and David did as soon as the new shelves went up!
With our extended farm family, as Tristan likes to call them, we have been able to prepare a new field for the market garden this year. The newest addition is a cute little rototiller that attaches to the John Deere -- what a dream. We've seeded beets and spinach, with peas being planted shortly, into the most beautiful beds. This is a huge relief to us, as we were making do with a broken rototiller last year and it made life quite difficult.
Things are rolling here and we're quite excited to see lots of new life emerging. Looking forward to a super season and CSA Program this year (still space available)!
Photo credit: Martín Bustamante