We all caught the spring bug this week with our first dose of 70 degree days. You could see the vitamin D radiating from everyone's smile on the farm. It seems like over just a few days the earth started to wake back up and signs of new life seem to be everywhere we look.
We took advantage of the warm weather to tackle shade cloth and uncovering field rows, assess the crops, and manage the environmental conditions we grow them in. The tunnel crops look great as the first poppy pods begin to emerge and the latest anemone and ranunculus fill out the bed with lots of strong growth.
The FedEx House has us in a morning harvest routine with the ranunculus and anemone but we are taking note of crops in the next wave to appear, like nigella and bachelor buttons. It's taken a lot of hard work and troubleshooting to get these blooms to produce but we have learned so much and are pretty darn proud of what we have accomplished in our first year of winter growing.
Our first seasonal farmer returned to help this year on the farm again. We are so excited to welcome Kelsie back as we have made so many changes since she left us last summer. It's almost a running joke for returnees to the farm of what stayed the same because that list is always MUCH shorter. She jumped right in upon her return and has helped us gear up as we listen to Mother Nature stirring awake in the ground.
The spring fields are looking good with only minimal spotty die-off. It seems that with such a diversity of crops that we grow and so many that we push to the limit, we always have a few crops that just don't thrive. While each year and pattern seems to impact different crops, it's always a punch to the gut coming off a season where a specific flower was the showstopper just to turn around and find you can’t even get it to survive in the bed.
Our field larkspur looks to be one of the finest stands we have had moving into the spring along with consistent and healthy plantings of Agrostemma, bachelor buttons, and for the first time ever, Bells of Ireland. It's nice to see all that hard work in the fall start to really flourish. And if that wasn’t enough green growth for ya, you should see the seedling house. When the environment shifts to spring, even the plants in the heated seed house seem to know and start germinating and sprouting faster than any other time of the year.
Trays that are seeded seem to burst into plants in less than a day and the staged growth of green seedlings flat after flat has us all thirsty to get them in the ground. Our idle planting hands were distracted with the first round of lily crates that we staged in the FedEx House too. While we typically grow our lilies in an unheated tunnel in crates, we are taking full advantage of our heated space and continuing this crop year-round. This means these earlier-than-normal plantings for us will begin in the FedEx House until the temperature allows us to move this crop production to unheated tunnel space. We have to bounce around a lot to work all the crops we want to grow into the space we have.
I also took advantage of bored kids on a teacher workday and had them help me weeding our perennials. It lasted an hour and a half – we are going to have to build up some endurance for work ethic on the farm. That being said, I'm pretty proud of my three little farmers, Lincoln and Levon are 6, and Mary is 8, which is the right age to start helping with some of the easier tasks and roles we routinely tackle. The world of working and parenting and living is changing and we are trying to navigate a new way of doing it all. It's not perfect and it's definitely messy but that's a pretty typical spring here on the farm.
It's exciting to be on the cusp of another season as things start humming along. It's almost like a daily scavenger hunt to find what’s springing to life, from a better way of doing something, a new plant waking up, or the first harvest of a long-awaited crop. New things are happening every day.