February 29, 2016

Spring Time

From the Fields - Thaddeus

The background of the farm now includes the distinct chatter of song birds chirping as they work to build their homes for the year. The oak trees are just begging to push their new leaves from the branches that have been bare all winter. The hills are green with grass. The weather is not predictable, blue skies and sunny one day, dark clouds and rain the next. Spring is indeed here.

The farm operations are beginning to pick up. We have seeded our third planting of spring vegetables. The lettuces from the first planting have two leaves. The spinach is about an inch tall, and the cilantro smells just like cilantro. The fields that will be the homes to our summer fruits and vegetables are ready to receive their plants. The beds have been neatly cultivated and shaped - now each bed has one line of drip tape placed right down its center.

Next week, we will begin to receive our first tomato plants from the greenhouse. Heirloom tomatoes, red slicers, yellow slicers and a mix of cherry tomatoes are all on the list. Not long after the tomato plants are pinched into the ground, the eggplant, peppers, squash and melon transplants will be ready. Watching the weather this time of year is a daily occurrence. What are the odds of it raining? How much will it rain? Do we need to adjust our plans? If the weather is nice and the soil is dry enough to work, the mentality shifts to how much we can get done today.

The stone fruit trees are beautifully decorated with bright pink and white flowers. Bees are busy buzzing from tree to tree, doing their part in ensuring a good crop will dangle from the branches this summer. Between the rows of the stone fruit trees, cover crop stands several feet tall. It will not be long until the precious organic matter of that crop is chopped and tilled back into the soil that will nurture the orchard for the summer. Next to the stone fruit trees, the fig orchards still lay dormant; their gray branches stand tall with no indication of change. It will be another month until the first fig leaves begin to poke out.