Full Diet CSA families, regular on farm pick-up folks, and readers..
(posting this as an open letter to our customers. if you’d like to be added to our email list for on-line order forms, please email your request to : email@example.com)
All of the animals and farm crew are warm and toasty.. as best as we can tell. Negative twenty degrees yesterday morning is the coldest ambient air temperature I remember it being in about ten years. Sometimes I think it feels too on the surface to talk about the weather, but when I acknowledge that the air around us is what we feel on our skin, and breathe in our lungs every moment of the day, it seems like nothing is more important. When it gets especially cold, or hot, this every day air flow can feel a bit stressful. We are all doing the best we can.
Today’s mission is to move some of the drifts (8’ high in places) away from the greenhouses before tomorrow’s rain arrives. Wacky weather.
Our plans for 2014 are coming along well. Matt and Marcy are picking out lots of new crop varieties. Third year is a charm, as I was able to get on an early order list for ginger planting stock. We will fill all of our 17’ x 98’ greenhouse with ginger this coming year. Exciting! We’ll grow more sweet potatoes, and following the example of fellow farmers in VT, try growing them outside without the benefit of a greenhouse. Fewer tomato plants are on the list, but I’ve graduated to putting them all in greenhouses, which should equal a higher yield and better quality than our outside plantings.
As for the winter greens in the greenhouses…. it has been really cold. Below 20 F they start to be compromised. With all of their coverings it can get close to zero outside and they’ll be fine, but this weather has been a big challenge for them. Most of the greenhouses are currently iced closed, and I’ve let them stay that way, not wanting to peek until we get slightly warmer weather. I briefly considered heating one greenhouse to keep a supply going for us, but heating a plastic bubble in this kind of cold and wind would be very expensive – perhaps $275 a night by my best estimate. I couldn’t do that. So – season extension has it’s limits. Our climate tells us that this is the time of year for turnip, carrot, potato, and hearty meat dishes anyway.
A related, positive note, is that our low tunnels – mini greenhouses built over beds in the field, are picture perfect. We planted them to carrots, onions, beets, chard, and other crops through the fall. Tucked in, insulated by polyester, plastic, and snow, they aren’t getting light, but hopefully are staying warm enough to keep the plants growing points alive. We’ll open them up starting in March and see what we’ve got!
Best New Year’s wishes to you – from the snow covered field, and our chairs by the woodstove,
Beth and Lee and crew