The spring abundance at the farm has started. We are now harvesting a great variety of items including many types of greens, roots, buds, and shoots. The list below provides an indication of the abundance.
We are entering into the busy portion of the spring planting season. This week we hope to get seeds started for zucchini, patty pan squash, various eggplant varieties, cucumbers and tomatillos. We already have many seeds sprouting, such as jalapenos, sinahuisa chiles, corno di toro sweet peppers, two types of tomatoes and cilantro.
If you are interested in sharing in the summer bounty, this week we will continue the sign-up for our 16-week late spring and summer CSA shares. We will have the forms at the markets starting this week and a digital version is available on our website here. We will be distributing shares in Tucson, Green Valley and Benson this summer. Only 50 shares will be available, so sign up soon to ensure that you can get a share for the summer.
We finished pruning the pomegranate trees in the North Orchard this week. We will fertilize, mulch and reconfigure the irrigation lines in the next few weeks. The protective cages around the bases of the trees will be expanded and reset as well. This fall we should have our first, small pomegranate harvest if the fates allow.
Our field is finally fully planted out if you include the winter cover crop that is on most of the East Terrace. This is pretty exciting since we have been working for 6 months to catch up from the labor shortage of last summer. We are finally caught up !! Thank you to all our volunteers, wwoofers, HelpXers, interns, CSA shareholders and customers for helping in this process. Onward !
The vernal equinox is less than two weeks away and we are well into our spring preparations. We are getting ready to plant a new asparagus bed – the trench is dug and the bottom has been picked and lined with a compost & soil mixture. We will add in some cocopeat and more soil. The new asparagus crowns are scheduled to be delivered this coming Wednesday and we hope to plant them soon after.
We will start on the spring blackberry bed maintenance in a week or so. This entails pruning the floricanes from last year, fertilizing the bed with compost,and mulching the bed. We are also planning to put a better shade structure over the bushes to protect the berries from the high heat and intense sun of June. Lots of work, but worth it for blackberries !!
Thanks for your support. We will see you at the markets!
What a week of weather – snow one day then 70 degrees and sunny the next ! Since the storm cleared out it has been really nice.
This week is Nik’s last – he is heading out for some training, vacation and then on to a summer job. We will be sad to see him leave as he has been a tireless worker since he arrived in November and a fun person to be around. Thanks for your help Nik !
Two new helpers arrived Thursday – Chris and Corey. You will undoubtedly see them at the market in the weeks to come.
This last week we have had nightly visits from a small herd of javalinas. They ate up some unprotected spineless prickly pear cacti that were waiting to be planted. They are digging up the compost pile and waking us up at night as they root around. We will have to move the perimeter fencing up on the priority list.
Thanks for your support. We will see you at the markets!
We have had some beautiful cloudy, rainy weather the last few days. The total precipitation at the farm was 1.55”. The plants are looking really healthy now and the green manure mix cover crop has all sprouted due to the plentiful soil moisture.
We planted nearly all of the ready seedlings on Wednesday morning and afternoon as the rain was moving in, so they got a nice soaking immediately after planting.
Yesterday’s harvest was a wet and cold one with lots of mud in the field that subsequently has been tracked into all the working and living spaces. We will be doing plenty of clean up once things dry out.
We continue to plant seedlings, another bed portion of broccoli and komatsuna. Additional seedlings we will plant in the coming days include more kale, more rapini, and red cabbage, among others.
This spring and summer we intend to grow more herbs. To that end, yesterday five trays of herb seeds were planted: cilantro, savory, oregano, dill and tarragon. We also transplanted some mint last week and our lemongrass is starting to green up.
This week we tilled up the bed portions that were formerly infested with bindweed. These beds have been covered with weed barrier for 3 years and keeping them covered has eradicated the bindweed. After the bed preparation, we planted a cover crop with a winter green manure seed mix consisting of winter rye, forage peas, red clover, hairy vetch, and annual ryegrass. In a couple months we will chop this cover crop down and incorporate into the soil. This will increase the soil fertility and improve its tilth.
Another project we started this week is the preparation for a new asparagus bed. This involves ripping the soil, opening up a trench with the plow and then mixing in soil amendments to create a rich soil bed for the asparagus crowns. We intend to use compost and cocopeat mixed with the field soil. We will complete the asparagus planting by the end of this month.
Thank you for supporting local, sustainable agriculture.
We have been enjoying the warm afternoons lately. The days start out pretty cold and it is shirtsleeve weather by noon. We have had a few mornings in the high teens and afternoons in the high 60s.
The long list of non-harvest tasks that built up during the labor shortage in the summer and fall is finally being addressed. One task that we worked on this week is enlarging the basins around our pomegranate trees in the north orchard. We moved the basin boundaries out beyond the drip line of the trees. Next week we will fertilize and mulch the trees and replace the protective cages that keep the rabbits and other rodents away from the trees.
We are also continuing to catch up with the planting. Another bed of lettuce and greens was planted yesterday and we also put in another bed of salad turnips. This next week we will be planting an array of herb seeds so that we can start to replace the beds of herbs that got cooked last June in the high heat. We lost the mint, sorrel and sage beds and intend to put in a few more herb varieties.
We are still seeking summer interns, so if you know of anyone who might be interested, please tell them to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The last few days we finally removed the soil cover and weed barrier from portions of our East Terrace, where we had the invasive bindweed infestation 3 years ago. We will soon find out if we successfully eradicated the bindweed from the beds where it had spread. Having these beds restored and available for planting will increase our available bed space by about 2,500 square feet. We will plant these beds as soon as we amend them with compost and prepare the soil.
Some of the beds in the high tunnel beds are finally ready to harvest – the SWF greens mix beds in particular are growing very well in the increased temperatures and humidity inside the structure. This is the first winter that we have crops in the high tunnel and we are experimenting and learning how best to use the space.
Thank you for supporting local, sustainable agriculture!
The last few days our hardworking crew planted 30 trays of seeds, including broccoli, kale, onions, cabbage, and various greens. We also planted another half-bed of romaine lettuce in the high tunnel.
This morning we finally burned the last of the huge piles of weeds that accumulated this summer. It was good to see those weed seeds go up in flames!
The row of blackberry bushes has been weeded and prepared to receive compost and mulch, which should be completed next week. We are hoping for a bountiful blackberry harvest this June.
And speaking of June, we are taking applications for summer interns if you know anyone who is interested in working long days in the heat with rattlesnakes while learning how to farm sustainably in the desert. Our internship listing is online here: https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/internships/