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Notes from the farm...
Wow – the sun is out, the weather is warm, the fields are dry...I can’t help but feel like the other shoe is soon going to drop. A warm winter and an early spring? Well, I’m not complaining!
Things aren’t quite “busy” on the farm yet, but the excitement is building! Today I planted all our onions in the field (from bulbs or “sets”) and we also have kohlrabi, pac choi, lettuce, green onion, eggplant, pepper and tomato seedlings growing indoors. Germination has been good, but we’ve already had problems from a pesky pest: mice! Believe it or not, mice came along one night and nipped the tops off my kohlrabi and lettuce seedlings. Fortunately they didn’t eat them all, but still a surprise for me that they were interested in such healthy green fare.
We’ll be getting quite a few crops planted in the ground inside the greenhouse this coming week, and peas are next on the list for our outdoor crops. There is still lots of ploughing to do as well.
The chickens are outside now during the day in their fall/spring “woodland retreat” beside the barn. The pasture is not quite ready yet for them – we need to wait until the grass is better established and the night-time temperatures are warmer so our hoses won’t freeze! But they are happy right now digging holes in the dirt for a “dust bath” and then spreading out their wings and soaking up the sun. Dust baths are important for natural pest control, as chicken flocks are really susceptible to lice and mites (don’t worry, these pests are not contagious to humans!).
The ducks had the option of going outside in their covered hoop house all winter (and still do), but they are really enjoying the warmer water temperatures in their buckets for dunking their heads and splashing around! We’re going through triple the amount of water we were in the winter months.
We expect everyone to be out on pasture (and eating their greens) by May.
Interested in receiving a weekly-supply of fresh, in-season, ecologically-grown vegetables from Rowantree Farms? We will be expanding on our veggie box program this year to do a full 19-week subscription from the last week of June to the last week of October. Veggie box prices include a 7% discount off our regular veggie prices at the market, plus egg club members will receive free delivery for eggs (a $20 value!) during the summer months. Boxes are delivered once a week on Wednesdays from 5:30-6:00pm to the parking lot at Market Square. Please see the attached flyer for more information, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 705-694-0165. We have limited memberships available, so if you’re interested, let us know ASAP!
The Soil Blocker
This is a neat little tool that we picked up last year
from Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Maine. Basically, it compresses wet soil into blocks, so there is no need for plastic seedling cells. We have two sizes, a mini-blocker that makes 20 blocks at a time (picture on the right) and is great for starting small seeds like tomatoes, eggplant, etc. The next size up makes 4 blocks at a time – and has a small depression in each block that fits a mini-block. So once your seeds have sprouted in the mini-blocks, you can pop them right into the next size up to give them room to grow!
Happy Hen Club Memberships Still Available – spread the word!
- Double Membership (2 doz eggs per week)
- Single Membership (1 doz eggs per week)
- Half Membership (1/2 doz eggs per week)
- Quarter Membership (1 doz eggs per month)
Our happy hens are inside a cozy barn for the winter months, but are out on pasture during the summer. They eat a grain diet that is 100% GMO-free and contains no antibiotics or medications.
*Please send us an email for more details or call 705-694-0165.
That’s all for now!