News from the Farm | February 28, 2022

What has been going on for the last week or so?

1 – First it was too warm, and then last week it got too cold. We went from highs in the mid 70s with nightly temperatures around 40 degrees to maximum temperatures in the mid/low 50s with nighttime temperatures mid-20s at night. That’s cold and we’re still assessing the damage. One of our biggest concerns were the post-bloom fruit and almond trees. Their flowers are gone, replaced with very small, and very vulnerable almonds and fruits. We used water and row cover to protect a number of vulnerable trees, flowers, and vegetables and time will tell how successful we were. And unfortunately, no rain, except for a few minutes on Monday night. It looks like we’re back to warmer weather. A downside of the heat is that it causes a lot of plants to go to flower sooner than we’d like and also creates favorable conditions for aphids.

2 – This is a key time for our fruit and nut trees. We’ve finished pruning the fruit trees, most are in bloom or have recently bloomed, and we’re applying nutrient sprays. With the dry weather, we haven’t needed to manage our orchards for many normal spring issues caused by pathogens that thrive in moist conditions but there is still plenty of work to do. 

3 – We’ve been busy sowing seeds and filling up the greenhouses. The first summer tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants have been sewn and have germinated!

4 – We need a place to put all those transplants and seeds so our tractor drivers have busily been preparing beds for seeds and transplants. They mow cover crops, spread compost, and create a nice surface for planting.

5 – Then comes planting. Almost all of our spring crops are in the ground, including 25,000 pounds of potatoes (a bit more than 10 acres). Each “seed potato” planted will eventually turn into 10-25 potatoes when we start harvesting them in late spring/early summer. That’s a lot of potatoes! Once the seeds and transplants are in, we weed regularly (we call it cultivating) with tractors when we can and by hand when necessary, especially when we need to get between the plants in a row, spots that our tractor can’t access. This picture shows Jonas on a close cultivator – the blades on the cultivator will get about an inch from the plant, requiring careful driving.

6 – And on Sunday, we celebrated the 107th Almond Festival. We were stationed up in Rumsey with pizzas and a small market stand. We had the honor of making pizzas for this year’s Almond Queen and other recent winners.

Elaine Swiedler, CSA Manager