Spring Share


Our son Eric is getting married on Saturday. The wedding is on the farm. What a great reason to get everything looking absolutely gorgeous. We spent Monday transplanting spinach, broccoli, celery and lettuce. We harvested rhubarb, turnips, radishes, scallions, spinach. Then after the work day was done and employees had gone home, eight yards of mulch (for the flower gardens) was delivered. Let the party begin. On Tuesday there was more harvest and washing of vegetables. In addition, the flower gardens around the house got weeded and mulched. We transformed one hoophouse from spring share to tomatoes. The tomatoes have been growing side by side with the greens. Once we finish harvesting the greens we tear the roots out, weed the area clean and change over the irrigation from sprinklers to drip. On Wednesday we finished the harvest, bagged the greens and got the yard looking really pretty. The decorating crew came on Wednesday night to transform the barn into a dance floor. Oh yea, we had to clean out the barn too. Best wishes to Eric and Loretta!   -Barb

The last harvest of salad mix.

The last harvest of salad mix.

Cleaning out the beds we have finished harvesting. Removing the roots of arugula as we make more room for the tomatoes.

Cleaning out the beds we have finished harvesting. Removing the roots of arugula as we make more room for the tomatoes.

Harvesting fennel. One of the last standing crops in the hoophouse.

Harvesting fennel. One of the last standing crops in the hoophouse.

And now onto wedding preparations:

Mulch pile on driveway (or is it a dog bed?)

Mulch pile on driveway (or is it a dog bed?)

Garden mulching crew.

Garden mulching crew.

Eric, the groom, getting it all in shape.

Eric, the groom, getting it all in shape.

Tom doing some fine tuning.

Tom doing some fine tuning.

And things are in full swing around here. Here’s a glimpse of our week…..Monday: Harvest salad mix, saute mix, arugula, radishes. Wash them in tubs of icy water. Band the radishes. Cut seed potatoes. Spend hours in the greenhouse planting sweet corn, lettuce, summer squash, winter squash and watermelon. Transplant broccoli, kohlrabi cabbage in the fields. Seed radishes and turnips in the field. Tuesday: Harvest spinach, dandelion greens, ramps, watercress, sorrel. Wash them in tubs of icy water. Bag salad mix. Finish cutting 25,000 pounds of seed potatoes!!!! Transplant fennel and swiss chard in the fields. Wednesday: Wash and band ramps. Bag sauté mix, spinach, sorrel, arugula, watercress. Move lots of plants out of the greenhouse to make room for more. Harvest lettuce heads and tot soi. Wash them. Weed the sauté mix and around the tomatoes in the hoophouse. Power wash over 100 seed trays so we can use them again next week to plant into. Begin to trellis the tomatoes in the hoophouse. Plant potatoes. Now it’s Thursday and we will pack the spring share boxes and deliver them. While two delivery trucks head out, the rest of the crew will stay busy on the farm. I’m sure they will find something to do. We love what we do and it brings us great joy to grow vegetables for you! Thank you.

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Washing and banding radishes in the packing shed.

Washing and banding radishes in the packing shed.

Watercress harvest. We find the watercress just behind our greenhouse growing wild in a spring fed stream.

Watercress harvest. We find the watercress just behind our greenhouse growing wild in a spring fed stream.

A harvester’s view of the watercress while standing on the board. If anyone slips off the board they sink into muck up to their knees.

A harvester’s view of the watercress while standing on the board. If anyone slips off the board they sink into muck up to their knees.

Pounding posts between the tomato plants so we can trellis them. You can see our spring share crops and interplanted with the tomatoes.

Pounding posts between the tomato plants so we can trellis them. You can see our spring share crops and interplanted with the tomatoes.

What a great time of year; everything is bursting with new life and promise. The farm is such a beautiful and vibrant place with a haze of spring green on the hills and gentle rain and loud cranes and baby plants and lots of activity. It’s been a fun week balancing greenhouse planting with the first harvest. The tractors have been busy tilling the ground in preparation for all that will be seeded and transplanted in the next week. Peas were planted today. Garlic plants are huge. Lettuce heads, broccoli, scallions and onions have been transplanted. It’s spring!

This week we bring to you vegetables that have been grown in the hoophouse along with chives grown outside and ramps foraged from the woods. It is all interesting, but the ramps seem to hold a special interest because they are so unique. Following are some pictures from Monday’s ramp harvest.

Hard at work amongst the ramps blanketing the forest floor.

Hard at work amongst the ramps blanketing the forest floor.

Eric, Becky and Abby showing off some freshly dug ramps. They will break apart the clumps and separate the ramps.

Eric, Becky and Abby showing off some freshly dug ramps. They will break apart the clumps and separate the ramps.

Becca digging up ramp clusters.

Becca digging up ramp clusters.

Now they have been separated from the earth surrounding them.

Now they have been separated from the earth surrounding them.

Leaving the forest with our ramps, all 2400 of them.

Leaving the forest with our ramps, all 2400 of them.

And now to the controlled environment of our hoophouse. Abby and Barb harvesting lettuce heads. To the left are the Bok Choy heads we harvested next.

And now to the controlled environment of our hoophouse. Abby and Barb harvesting lettuce heads. To the left are the Bok Choy heads we harvested next.

Our 1500 square foot greenhouse is full! Now what? We need to move plants out and make room for more. We are at the peak of our spring greenhouse planting season and fill the greenhouse over and over again. When the greenhouse gets full we move the plants out into our hardening off area where they are exposed to cooler temperatures in preparation for getting planted into the fields. But this time of year can be tricky. Our greenhouse is heated but the hardening off area is not. If we move plants out too soon the risk is frost, and we don’t want them to freeze. So we wait until the night time temps are above freezing before moving plants out. It has been very cold at night in our valley, hitting the low 20’s multiple times. Tonight should be the last below freezing night. That means we can move all of the onions out tomorrow, all 30,000 of them! The peppers and eggplants will happily take their place and then we will have a full house again!

A full greenhouse.

A full greenhouse.

Onions! 30,336 cells of them! And 3 to 4 per cell.

Onions! 30,336 cells of them! And 3 to 4 per cell.

This week we will also plant tomatoes into a hoophouse. We’ve been carrying them into the hardening off area during the day and back into the greenhouse at night. This helps them toughen up and also frees up greenhouse space. They rest on the floor at night. We wait for warmer evening temperatures before planting them in the hoophouse since tomatoes are so sensitive.

Crates of tomatoes ready to be planted in the hoophouse.

Crates of tomatoes ready to be planted in the hoophouse.

While all of this is happening in the greenhouse, the Spring Share plants are happily growing in one of our hoophouses. They can withstand temperatures in the 20’s. Once hardy plants are in the ground they have more ability to get through those cold nights. In just two weeks we will begin harvest and delivery of the Spring Share. So sign up for yours if you haven’t already.

A beautiful patchwork of delicious Spring Share vegetables!

A beautiful patchwork of delicious Spring Share vegetables!

The first Spring Share delivery is coming up soon – April 28th. We planted seeds on February 15th and look how big they are already. Lettuce heads, scallions, bok choy, fennel, dandelion greens and a whole list of other fast growing greens. The plants grew under lights in our basement for three weeks until we turned on the greenhouse this week. We farm in our house in early spring. It’s cozy and warm and a nice gentle way to start the season. Soon enough the farm will be humming with twenty some people each day engaged in a wide variety of activity. Winter really passed quickly, although it didn’t even begin until the end of December and ended abruptly with this amazing March warmth. For us winter ends and spring begins with the planting of seeds no matter what the weather. So even if it dares to snow again, spring is here!

Barb

Spring Share transplants

These plants grew for three weeks in the basement and were transferred to the greenhouse on Monday. Next week they will be planted into the ground in the hoophouse. Here comes some delicious food!

Becky Perkins (farm cook and packing shed staff) planting seeds for the Spring Share. This winter we remodeled our kitchen. The water isn’t hooked up yet so it’s difficult to cook but we can plant seeds on the nice new counter top. For us a kitchen is all about function!

Becky Perkins (farm cook and packing shed staff) planting seeds for the Spring Share. This winter we remodeled our kitchen. The water isn’t hooked up yet so it’s difficult to cook but we can plant seeds on the nice new counter top. For us a kitchen is all about function!

Farmer Barb Perkins putting vermiculite on top of the seeds. The vermiculite holds in the moisture and allows the seedlings to easily emerge. Under that seeding try and covered with newspaper, is a beautiful new cutting board. Can’t wait to use it, oh I guess I am.

Farmer Barb Perkins putting vermiculite on top of the seeds. The vermiculite holds in the moisture and allows the seedlings to easily emerge. Under that seeding try and covered with newspaper, is a beautiful new cutting board. Can’t wait to use it, oh I guess I am.

Eric Perkins (packing shed manager) sets up horses and pvc stretches in the basement. This cave-like room stays nice and warm. Down there it still looks like an old farm house.

Eric Perkins (packing shed manager) sets up horses and pvc stretches in the basement. This cave-like room stays nice and warm. Down there it still looks like an old farm house.

Here they all are, 5179 cells with seeds in them; soon 5179 plants to transplant into our hoophouse (unheated greenhouse) in March.

Here they all are, 5179 cells with seeds in them; soon 5179 plants to transplant into our hoophouse (unheated greenhouse) in March.

Your farmers Barb and David Perkins in the Grand Canyon. An amazing trip and something we have wanted to do for decades. We hiked down to the bottom, bunked at Phantom Ranch for two nights and then hiked up and out.

Your farmers Barb and David Perkins in the Grand Canyon. An amazing trip and something we have wanted to do for decades. We hiked down to the bottom, bunked at Phantom Ranch for two nights and then hiked up and out.

With a splash of winter for good measure. It’s 34 degrees as I write this (early Thursday morning). We tend to define spring and summer by the crops that are growing. Spring began in February with seeding for the spring share and since we are delivering our last spring share today, we declare it to be the beginning of summer. The hoophouses have totally transformed. Yesterday we planted peppers (4896 of them) and eggplants (2880 of them) into the fields. Today we will plant all of the tomatoes, summer squash (including zucchini), winter squash and cucumbers. Earlier in the week we transplanted the first sweet corn and all of the basil for the Pesto Fest. So you see, it is summer on the farm. Now the evening temperatures just need to get out of the 30s.

Barb

Transformation of the hoophouse:

Rachel planting tomatoes into the hoophouse on April 7

Rachel planting tomatoes into the hoophouse on April 7

This is what the hoophouse looks like today.

This is what the hoophouse looks like today.

The hard working people that grow your food! Here we are Wednesday afternoon after a long day of bagging and washing crops for the last spring share and transplanting lots of vegetables into the fields.

The hard working people that grow your food! Here we are Wednesday afternoon after a long day of bagging and washing crops for the last spring share and transplanting lots of vegetables into the fields. Standing: Chris Klaeser, Tom Sonnenberg,Eric Perkins, sitting: Eric (J-Mo) Friedericks, Barb Perkins, Becca Osborne

David Perkins (in tractor) and Jesse Perkins (standing). These guys prepare the fields and operate the tractors for transplanting.

David Perkins (in tractor) and Jesse Perkins (standing). These guys prepare the fields and operate the tractors for transplanting.

See you in June!

It’s a day like today that defines spring on the farm. The day starts with filling two box trucks with transplants. Celery, broccoli and Brussels sprouts into one truck; popcorn and lettuce heads into another. We then loaded up our transplanter with spinach plants and three people headed out to transplant. Three others stayed at the greenhouse to reorganize. All of the plants that headed out to the fields had been staged in the ‘harden off area’, the attachment to the greenhouse where plants go when it is soon their turn to be transplanted. In the harden off area the roof can be rolled down and the side walls lowered. The plants get to experience real world conditions. Those of us at the greenhouse moved thousands more plants out of the greenhouse into the harden off area to get them ready to be transplanted next week and to make more room in the greenhouse for the plants we continue to start. We finished doing that, bagged up the greens for today’s delivery, harvested a few more crops and called it a day. 24,400 plants had been transplanted and the Spring Share was ready to be delivered. Happy Spring.

Rachel walking out to the field behind the transplanter loaded with spinach. The two dogs are pretty excited to be part of the activity.

Rachel walking out to the field behind the transplanter loaded with spinach. The two dogs are pretty excited to be part of the activity.

Rachel and Becca transplanting lettuce heads.

Rachel and Becca transplanting lettuce heads.

Eric washing salad greens. The greens are submerged in cold water. This gives us the opportunity to mix the different varieties together while washing the greens. Eric lifts the greens out of the water and puts them into the white basket which gets placed into the tall silver salad spinner to remove excess water.

Eric washing salad greens. The greens are submerged in cold water. This gives us the opportunity to mix the different varieties together while washing the greens. Eric lifts the greens out of the water and puts them into the white basket which gets placed into the tall silver salad spinner to remove excess water.

Ching and Rancy washing and banding radishes.

Ching and Rancy washing and banding radishes.

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