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Friday, April 13, 2007

Difficult Spring So Far

So far spring has sucked. It got way too warm way too early so we lost a lot of lettuce and spinach to bolting during the warm period. Than it got very cold and we got quite a bit of damage to the raspberries and maybe the grapes. We won't know for a few weeks if these crops will be alright.

Fortunately we are very very good at growing in cold conditions and have a lot of know how and paraphernalia to keep our crops alive when it freezes. That and we did not transplant the tender crops like tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchinis into the hoophouses the first week of April as planned.

Still, despite not losing much and finding that the strawberries in the hoophouse had not only survived the week of subfreezing conditions but are making berries, it was a very difficult week of not being able to do anything much in the garden because of all the snow, wind and rain and not knowing if we had done enough to save most of the crops. This has translated into big time stress. If enough damage was done to certain crops we lose a lot a of money and over a year of work establishing them.

Now the weather is a bit better, not much, but some. Yesterday we worked in high winds and snow/rain trying to keep row covers from bashing tender young plants which was a futile effort. We go out and tighten hem up and put more weight to keep them down and than turn around to see some of them flying again. We did get a hoophouse all ready for the cukes and squash that are getting way too big. We put down drip tape and landscape fabric. Now we have to wait for the black fabric to heat up the soil for 5 days or so and we can put the seedlings in the hoophouse.

Today has been quite nice, sunny and about 55˚F with light winds. This allowed me to folier feed most everything in the ground. Folier feeding is one way we fertilize crops. We use a combination of powdered, water soluble kelp and powdered fish emulsion with a dash of Dr Bronner's peppermint soap as a sticker. We were able to move the chicks to clean ground as well. They seemed to enjoy getting onto new ground with uneaten clover. If the weather were dryer we would move the birds daily but because it has been both wet and cold we have been forced to leave them be and have resorted to thickly bedding them to keep them cleanish and dry. The upside to this is we have some good material for the compost pile.


winedeb said...

Oh Lucy I have been following your plight and many other with your weather. Global warming? It has been crazy everywhere. I am not looking forward to hurricane season here (never am) as I am afriad it will be a lu-lu.
Meantime get those chicks raised and keep the lettuce and greens going. I will see you next month at the Oxford Market and I want to visit you at your farm!

Chandira said...

Sorry your weather has sucked so much.. Wow. I hope everything's ok and you make a good recovery. It must be pretty hard to see all that work threatened.

I've had rain rain and still more rain here, and haven't really been able to get out and dig my clay/rock soil, for fear of ending up with 50lbs shoes on each foot, and no soil left in the garden. Ack. I can only imagine what it must be like to care for so much more land and veggies than I have.. You always impress me no end.