Fresh Roots Farm Notes for Weeks 21 – 23
…And just like that, Winter ended and Summer arrived. Spring was nowhere to be found.
Nature has decided to ‘fast-forward’ things in the past few weeks, which thankfully has meant hot days, plentiful rains, and the rapid growth of plants, grass and weeds alike. I am thankful. However, the transition was a bit abrupt.
I’ve been frantically planting the garden for the last few weeks, anxiety over being behind of schedule has mostly subsided, as the added mechanization this year lessened my bed prep work considerably, so I could just focus on seeding and transplanting. At this time of writing I am almost ‘caught up’, with tomatoes, peppers and eggplants to still go in the ground (this is my mission for today) and some other successive plantings of crops that I’ve already seeded one or two stages of, already. One of the major challenges of doing a CSA program is trying to spread the harvests of particular crops out as widely as is possible. For example, I do about 2-3 plantings of peas and beans, 2 plantings of broccoli and cabbage, 5-8 plantings of carrots and beets, and closer to 15 plantings of lettuce, throughout the season. So when people ask me “Is your garden in yet?!” [p.s. NOT my favourite question this Spring], I don’t really know how to answer, because the plantings just keep…on…going. One of my pet peeves is when people who grow personal vegetable gardens equate themselves with market gardeners. It’s not the same beast. This is one of the reasons why I encourage folks to come out and see for themselves…the size is not the only difference, the work, organization and maintenance is also a separate reality in itself.
Check out the photos below of two of our three garden areas, two weeks apart. And it’s still not finished…!
Despite the rush of wanting to ‘get the garden in, haha’, I find I have to force myself to stop some days and just have a go at the weeds (and encroaching quack grass). If you don’t get ’em when they’re small, you might not get ’em at all…
Meanwhile, outside of my little 2 acre world, much is going on and Troy is running off his feet, as well. He got the cattle moved out onto the main pasture, where they will rotate through on smaller paddocks, for a couple of days at a time, on average. This is in line with the model of Holistic Planned/Intensive Grazing, which we have been learning about for the last couple of years. They were pretty enthralled with the new grass. We have just a handful of cows yet to calve. We’re also still waiting for our first lamb to arrive, but it should be any day now… (!!!)
Troy had a big job last week with the bees…after some of the first buds provided the hives with some sustenance to strengthen and build their brood, Troy was able to go in, inspect the strong hives and ‘split’ them. To do so, you have to ‘re-queen’ (every hive has one queen, integral to provide direction and eggs for the hive). Troy just received ‘his Queens’ from California the other day. While he was completing the splits, the queens, in their tiny plastic containers, sat buzzing on our kitchen counter. I think they were likely relieved to be finally put in the hives, escaping my aimless conversations and songs serenaded to them while I cooked. Anyways, they are now placed in the hives, and with three locations, Troy has miraculously expanded 20 hives into 46! He is excited at how strong they look, and the prospects for a nice large honey harvest this season is promising! Click here to see some photos of Troy’s adventures with bee splits this week.
After a close call with some tornado and hail systems this week (narrowly missed us) and a surprise drop to +2 C overnight this weekend, we have to be on our toes. I fear that we can no longer expect consistent and ‘normal’ weather patterns. M.N.’s gonna be throwin’ more curveballs our way, and we’ll all have to find ways to adapt.