Seeds are arriving in the mail regularly and we're getting ready to start tilling and preparing our first fields. The results of our soil test should be back from Rutgers any day now and that will give us the information we need to plan any necessary soil amendments. In the meantime we are faithfully watching over the seedlings in the greenhouse and they are doing well. We like to grow as many of our plants as possible from seed. This serves two different purposes, the first is economical (at least in theory). Seeds are less expensive than seedlings but there are costs associated with growing from seed too - such as the propane and electricity to heat the greenhouse. Also, planting mix (we use Sunshine natural and organic professional planting mix) and fertilizer. The seeds require daily watering, sometimes twice a day if the day is a warm one. The second and perhaps more important reason we grow from seed is that we have the utmost control over the plant from germination onwards.
A member recently asked me if we are an organic farm and I thought I'd use this opportunity to share our answer. Kevin and I farm organically but we are not a certified organic farm. We are interested in researching our certification options through resources listed by the National Organic Program but in the meantime, our members trust us to use organic practices in growing for our CSA. We don't just farm here, we live here and we are passionate about our role as stewards. Our own children could one day care for the very fields their great great grandparents once did and the fertility of the soil is the most important component of a farm. We also care deeply about not working with toxic pesticides or eating food that been sprayed with dangerous chemicals. If anyone ever has any questions about any of our practices, we encourage you to just ask!
If you drive by the farm, you may notice it's starting to green up - that's the rows of rye we planted last fall. The rye will be tilled into the soil and all the good organic matter will be churned into the earth. Saturday we hope to get out the tractor and start preparing our first fields for planting. The first day we start working up the fields is always an exciting one! We've taken down the fencing around the lower herb garden to allow us to expand that area this year. Ready, set, GROW! We are excited to announce we have 70 members signed up and still have some shares remaining if you or someone you know is interested.
Thank you to our members Andrew and Diane for stopping by to say hello while in the neighborhood recently and for letting us know the spring peepers were singing in the pond across the way - a welcome sound of Spring! Everyone seems hungry for the first fresh food to come out of the earth after a very long winter. I came across a list of recipes at Kitchen Garden Seeds that look delicious. It's never too early to start planning how you will enjoy your first Spring veggies. Check out these suggestions for Sugar Snap Pasta Primavera and Arugula Salad and bookmark the site for later meal planning.
I recently picked up Consumed: Food for a Finite Planet at the library and invite anyone who is interested to read along with me and share their comments online or personally.
We are building our team for the summer! If you or someone you know is interested in farm work, please contact us directly by email. See our Internship posting in ATTRA's National Sustainable Farming Internship Directory.