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Springing into Action

Asparagus poking through

Asparagus poking through

As spring thaws the winter away, and life starts to flourish. A buzz of activity starts again on the farm in preparation of another season. Everyone has returned home and is eager to start working for the season. There is lots to be done and a few new projects to start. So far not too much is coming in from the fields but we have had several delicious meals of fresh asparagus and even a fabulous “Welcome Home” rhubard pie made by Marlene.

This year we are building a greenhouse as a new addition to Willowtree Farm. This means we will be able to grow our own seedlings for transplanting this year. Currently we have our seedling grown at a local greenhouse for us.  For many of the crops, seedlings are started indoors long before they get planted in the fields.

Building the New Greenhouse

Building the New Greenhouse

Transplanting seedlings gives a considerable advantage, especially in the cool spring and reduces the days to harvest.  It also means we know exactly how many plants we have in an area.

 Planting has began

Floating Row Cover over Broccoli and Cauliflower

Floating Row Cover over Broccoli and Cauliflower

This spring has been really cold and wet, meaning we haven’t been able to get in to the fields as early as we would have liked.  However the last few days have been nice and dried things out, enabling us to start planting. Yesterday we spent the afternoon planting almost 9000 broccoli and cauliflower plants. After planting we rolled out floating row covers which are thin blankets that help to increase to air temperature around the plants and protect from frost. The row covers are magical in the spring, protecting plants from the cold and advancing their growth. Soon enough the broccoli and cauliflower will be big enough to eat.  We have also planted our first planting of sweet corn, and are beginning to plant some of our grain crops. Soon enough we will be in full planting mode, with plants going into the ground everyday.

Chicks and Calves

Day Old Chicks

Day Old Chicks

 Each year spring brings new life to the farm. Right now we have had several new calves born. They are little bundles of energy, bouncing around the field, testing out their new legs and exploring the new world. On Wednesday we got 150 day old chicks. The chicks are tiny yellow fuzz balls, straight out of an Easter ad.  After teaching each one to drink and eat, we placed them in our incubation room to keep them warm. They will be kept here until they get their true feathers and are able to go out to pasture. For now they are basking in the heat lamps and chipping in delight.