Our first crops of broccoli, cauliflower, onions and cabbage have been started in the greenhouse. Now if the ground would just start warming up we can get ready for planting.
As we finalize our planting schedule for the year, I am petitioning for baby beets, dandelion greens and mini decorative pumpkins. I am also urging restraint in the area of summer squash - reminding Kevin there actually is such a thing as too much of a good thing. We're planning to have more pickling cucumbers and hope conditions are right to plant Brussels Sprouts earlier. Also new this year, dill!
Seed deliveries are always exciting, especially when other signs of spring are slow coming. Curly leaf kale seeds are once again in low supply. Seed companies are blaming a "crop failure" for their inability to stock the popular winterbor variety but we're determined to keep searching. Unfortunately, the cost of seeds continue to rise year over year. We try to save any unused seeds from one year to the next but mice got into them this year and rather rudely enjoyed an expensive snack.
Last week, Rutgers Cooperative Extension specialists and agents of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) hosted a meeting to discuss organic agriculture in New Jersey and talk about the resources available to support organic farmers. It was a nice opportunity to see some other local farmers, talk briefly about the year ahead and exchange information. For instance, the basil downy mildew that has been affecting crops on local farms over the past few years does not yet have an organic answer. The solution for organic farms is to plant and harvest their basil earlier in the season, before the plants have a chance to be affected. Another solution that was mentioned was growing the basil crop in pots and moving them inside at night. Interestingly, lemon basil does not seem to be affected.
We love the farm but taking a day away every now and then is nice. Last Saturday we drove to Lancaster to attend our first Mud Sale, an Amish auction of farm equipment, horses, tools and antiques. We didn't purchase any equipment but we did bring home two picnic tables that are just perfect for the farm. The event lived up to it's name - the "aisle" in the photo below was one of the more passable ones. A lot of the equipment for auction was fitted with steel wheels and made to be pulled by horses but it was still interesting to know what certain pieces of second-hand equipment sold for since we may be looking to buy similar items in the future. It was cold and raining but fun and we can honestly say the steaming hot chicken corn chowder was some of the best we've ever tasted!