Spring sunshine is finally here and we are getting a chance after the rains to start preparing for the new season.
Our creek is overflowing and the wildflowers are at their peak now.
She's enjoying the spring and the the freshly filled pond.
When working she always comes to keep us company and inspect our work.
This year she's gotten much more comfortable with us touching her. She really enjoys getting her "spiritual eye" massaged.
After much uncertainty, we now know that she is a she.
Anne, our new chicken keeper, shows off Hansi's egg above. Below she's getting a lesson from Ken, one of farm managers, on driving the forklift.
A new intern, Michele, is helping spread old chicken hay on the fields to help fertilize before the spring planting.
This year we are continuing to explore methods to farm that improve the soil viability while also producing abundant crops. Spreading a tarp over the ground for a month to eliminate weeds without tilling is one method we are trying this year.
We also recently purchased some "low-till" soil-friendly, farm implements. This BCS "2-wheel, walk behind tractor" system is used by many small, organic farms. Before we would rototill the beds in the spring to get rid of weeds. The BCS has a small "power harrow" which mixes only the top 2" of the beds to control weeds without pulverizing the soil, like a rototiller does. We plan to never use the rototiller again on the growing beds.
They are for sale.
Another way to nourish our soil is we are switching our green bean production over to perennial runner beans. Last year we did a trial and planted, Scarlett Emperor Runner Beans. Everyone who sampled them preferred them to the traditional green beans we grew.
The runner beans grow large tuber roots that will resprout when it gets warm. So now we don't have to till the soil in the bean beds at all. And the beans are so vigorous they will easily outgrow weeds.
The only drawback is they don't produce as much per plant as "commercial varieties" which is why you don't see them in stores. As a small farm with lots of land, we can just plant more to make up for this.
Here's a picture of a Scarlett Emperor Runner Bean root waiting for warmer weather to sprout.
We have been busy all winter, when the rains allow, building a new high tunnel, hoop house. It will replace the one that blew down last spring. We will grow tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, basil,... in here. All the heat loving vegetables that people want.
We specifically chose a high tunnel to withstand high winds.
A racoon was getting into our chicken coop. We tried to trap him, but it didn't work out as planned. A smelly experience for everyone involved.
We've planted a lot of flowers around the pond area this last year. Here's Lisa and some volunteers planting Pink Lady Belledonnas around the pond, with Hansi in the middle supervising.
It's time to sign up for the CSA. If you are interested sign up early. We are limiting the boxes to only 75 this year, so we expect to sell out early. As a reminder what our boxes look like, here's pictures from the last week in 2016.
Joyful blessings from the entire farm team.