March 14, 2016

Spring Crops Through the Season


The farm is cold and wet. Many of the fields lay fallow, waiting for the warmth of spring before summer crops of tomatoes, squashes, melons and peppers will be sown into them. Summer crops are
planted in spring. Fall crops are planted in the summer, and spring crops are planted in the fall and must endure winter before they can shine.

Spring is a precious time. The offspring of the local fauna enter the world. Spring crops are unique because they have endured the cold winter and are in a situation to grow and quickly give fruit at the first hint of warmth.

The roots of the asparagus grew all of last summer and lay dormant through the cold winter. The tops of the plants were mowed down in the fall and the beds cultivated clean. Now, the roots of the plants lay in their neat rows, waiting for the warmth of spring to let their shoots emerge above the sandy soil to be harvested one spear at a time until a bunch is formed.

The strawberry plants were sown in the ground last fall. They used the end of the summer’s energy to get their roots established. When the cold winter fell upon them, they hunkered down, staying alive, but not growing through the winter. During the winter, the field crews completed two passes with the hoe, cleaning the weeds from the field, leaving the strawberries. With the first warmth, the strawberry plants will quickly yield white flowers and sweet, red berries will follow.

Peas are one of the only spring crops that actually grow during the winter. Peas slowly add leaves and stems despite the cold weather. It is not until the warmer spring days when the pea plants explode with growth, their vines climbing up the trellis of stakes and string and their little white flowers turning into pea pods that will be harvested in the spring.

The peach trees end every year by letting the cold turn their leaves the colors of autumn before they fall to the ground. During the cold winter, the trees hunker down and our field crews prune the trees, shaping them to maximize next year’s performance. Now buds on the peach trees are swelling, alluding to the fact that spring is around the corner. Soon the buds will pop into flowers that will be
pollinated into microscopic pieces of fruit.

Peach flowers mean spring is here, and peach fruit represents the beginning of summer. Savor the change in seasons with these fruit and veggie milestones