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Archive for the ‘Spring’ Category

Spring!

One thing you can always count on is the variable weather of spring in Oregon. It can be clear and sunny in the morning and snowing in the afternoon. It makes farming that much funner!

We’ve been chugging along here with so much to do in so little time. The greenhouses are bursting and we’ve been on a planting frenzy and will continue to do so in the coming months. The spring dash! I swear farmers should get medals for the kind of pace they have to keep up in the springtime.

We’ve got our crew coming together, which feels nice to have the BMF team coming together.

We’ve still got lots of room in the CSA. Don’t miss your spot for the season!

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We went to the first market on Tuesday in Ashland. What a great showing of support from the community, although it was quite a windy day. Despite the wind, it was a great market and we look forward to eight more months of markets!

Tomorrow is a big planting day for us–the first of many this spring. We lost the first round of asian bunching greens in the hoophouse to slugs (we need to integrate ducks!), so we’ll be replanting that as well as planting bok choys and spinach outside. A 1,000 new strawberry plants go in on Friday and Saturday. Spring has sprung!

We still have plenty of room in our CSA this year. Please download a brochure on our CSA page and spread the word. We have space for 40 members this year. The program starts up the first of June.

As well, we have a Facebook page you can now join. See the link to your right. It is fun to post updates about the farm to all our fans.

Happy spring and enjoy the warming sun and soil.

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Plants are finally growing thanks to this beautiful spring weather. Now, we’re getting somewhere.

Market should be beautiful on Tuesday and we’ll have all kinds of new veggies to bring including radishes, bok choy, broccoli raab, pea tendrils and pink petiole mustards.

There is still plenty of room in the CSA. We start up on May 18th. See our 2009csabrochure. Please email or call us if you have questions.

Here’s a picture of our April greenhouse. Full and growing!

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It is really easy to plant vegetables. Maintenance is a whole other ballgame. We’ve almost planted two full acres — another 1/4 acre or so to go and then we move into our new 2-acre leased parcel down on highway 238. We walked the field last night to do some observations and see how most of the crops were doing. We’ve been plunging forward the last few weeks and haven’t had a chance to check-in with our plants. I’d say we’ve got about 85 – 90% success in the field, although there were a few things that were big uh-ohs and stressed us out just a bit until we recooped! The broccoli raab and pink petiole mustard greens are bolting. Okay, no big deal. We’re going to try direct seeding these instead. We’ve lost a whole succession of beets to something — slugs — we’re not sure, but everything got munched and only a sad little stem is left in all three beds. We’ve always had trouble getting beets off the ground in the spring, but we’re going to go ahead and reseed those beds and hope for the best. Combined with a recently seeded succession of beets, that means we will have 2,100 feet of beets coming on all at once. We’ll see how that goes. 

We’ve also got a major slug problem. In one part of our field, we’ve left grass/clover aisles intact and while this is a good thing in the summertime when it is hot as it retains moisture and gives habitat for beneficial insects, during the cold, wet spring it is a great place for slugs to hang out. We’ve lost a whole bed of collards and radishes to the slugs. Last night, we watched them as they just moved through the radishes in a straight line. Unfortunately, I think we are going to phase out the grassy aisles this year.

In terms of pest damage, everything else looks pretty good. We have noticed a higher population of cucumber beetles this year. Maybe because of our mild winter?  The birds took out some peas. We’ve had some spotty carrot germination, although I think we’ve found our carrot  for the farm. The variety, ya-ya, is the way to go for us. It has been such an outstanding carrot in all of our trials. Unfortunately, we only seeded one bed of these and the other three beds of Mokum and Nelson are not doing as well. Everything else is doing really well — we will have beautiful bok choys very soon. Broccoli, cauliflower, kales, cabbages are all doing well — looking healthy and happy. Turnips and radishes are on the way.

We’ve realized that spring is always a hard time for us right up until the Summer Solstice. It is cold and wet. Plants don’t grow incredibly fast especially if you plant them early and they can’t grow fast enough to outcompete the bugs. There are always a million things to do. You have a lot of expenses, but not much cash flow. And this year, jumping from two acres to four acres in vegetable production is creating many growing pains, but our spirits are up and our drive is strong. It always helps to go to the farmers’ market each week and receive so much support and thanks from all of our loyal customers. It definitely keeps us going!

The new hens are beginning to lay — we should be up to our ears in eggs soon. Next task is to figure out how to move them. There are a lot of eggs at the market this year and I don’t think we’ll be able to sell all of them in Ashland, so we’re brainstorming new markets. A new market is starting at the Roxy Ann Winery in East Medford in June. We may try taking this new market on and maybe this will be a good place for eggs. If we can’t seem to sell them, then we’ll have lots of stewing hens for sale here soon! Oh, the perennial adventure of figuring out pastured poultry.

We still have CSA memberships available. We begin delivering boxes of produce the week of May 18th for 24 weeks of fresh, organic produce. Don’t forget to sign up!

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All is well on the farm. Our first harvest of the season was a bit disorganized — but that was to be expected. We were slow harvesting and didn’t quite have all our ducks in a line to make for a smooth day, but it went well anyway. We managed to pull together a small, but nice harvest of overwintered vegetables as well as the first cut on some of our greens in the hoophouse. I was out harvesting brussels sprouts with Everett all day, which was quite fun, but laborious. He was quite a helper. I would pick and he would put the sprouts in the box. Wow, did those brussels sprouts fly off the market table! Despite the slow harvest day, we pulled everything together and got to our first Ashland market on time — actually we were the first ones there to set up. That’s a first! It was great to be back at market and see all of our regular customers as well as a lot of new faces. So much support for local farmers! Thank you! It was a great day despite the frigid cold.

We are in the midst of the spring push — trying to get all the plants in the ground in a timely manner. This week, we are planting kales (a little late!), chard and dandelion greens. Soon, we will be putting in our onions and leeks at the new leased ground as well as planting pounds and pounds of potatoes. The hot weather crops are doing well in the greenhouse — growing slowly but steadily. It has been so cold around here lately, but I expect the weather to get warmer here soon.

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market33109

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We are making a big push the next couple of days crossing things off the list. And boy, the list is long! I’ll save you from our long list of tasks, but just know, we are feeling pretty productive around the farm right now. I got out and took a bunch of pictures today while the crew was planting, so enjoy! Update: We’ll be at the Ashland farmers’ market next Tuesday, March 31st, so come on out and get your veggies and eggs. We have lots of eggs, overwintered roots and other veggies and many various greens. Hope to see you there! We are really looking forward to being back at market again this year.

Plant broccoli, plant broccoli

Josh and our two new intern farmers, Jon & Cameron planting broccoli

Josh preparing beds to plant

Josh preparing beds to plant

Here's the rowmarker that Josh made to go onto our rototiller. This shot is for Jagger!

Here's the rowmarker that Josh made to go onto our rototiller

View of the farm and planted broccoli

View of the farm and planted broccoli

Future farmer

Future farmer

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With the help of neighbors, friends and family, we finally pulled the plastic on the hoophouse and got it planted with spinach, salad mix, arugula & asian bunching greens this past weekend. This is a very big accomplishment! Since we pieced it together cheaply and did not use a kit, it took longer than we expected. Nonetheless, we are so happy it is done! We’ll grow these greens in here until May and then plant our tomatoes right after. It will pay for itself this year we hope. Here is a photo.

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Josh prepared some 25 beds last week that were direct seeded with all kinds of spring crops from peas to carrots to radishes to turnips. We had great spring weather to do this. And then the rains came this weekend, which was perfect timing!

This week, we are spending time in the greenhouse seeding the beginning of our summer crops and second successions of spring crops. Our brand new apprentices, Jon & Cameron arrive this weekend, so we are really looking forward to having more energy on the farm and other people to work with. They are both experienced farmers, so it will be great to have them with us for the season.

We will continue planting like crazy this week and next getting in all our spring crops like broccoli, cauliflower, kales etc. I can’t believe it really is farming season again! It feels really good. Josh, Everett and I have been working together a lot on the farm lately and it has been so nice to spend time together as a family getting ready for the season. Everett is currently learning how to walk in the aisles and not on the plants. Here’s a photo of him helping out on the farm.

everettdirt1

We have finalized the search for leased land — and all of the sudden we will be managing 3 leased parcels this year. We just turned in the organic certification paperwork for these new additions. We will be leasing 2 acres next door to pasture our poultry and then we will be leasing up to 3 acres on Hwy 238 to expand our vegetable production this year from 2 acres to 4 acres! Oh boy! And then we also will start managing another property across the street from us that we will transition into vegetable production next year! It has been exciting to find the land and figure out the lease agreements and know we have the land and water to keep growing. Sigh of relief!

The Ashland farmers’ market starts tomorrow. We are still planning on being there the first of April or so, but we’ll update you as we get closer to that date.

Also, I added a new page to the blog for more information on our Community Supported Agriculture program. Our updated CSA brochure is on that page if you would like to download it. See the tab above. In CSA news, we decided to add a small share to the CSA for $480. We still have spots available!

Happy spring and enjoy the rain!

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