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The Crop Report Week 45 | Close-up Shop

It was bitter cold last week, which led to the hard frost we've been anticipating. The crops were tired, the land was tired, and we were tired. This arrival of frost is always a double-edged sword because although we’re ready to say goodbye, it’s still sad to see the season end. But the fields need the rest, and we need time to prepare for a spectacular next year.

While the chores never end, time spent harvesting has decreased as the tunnels provide the last blooms. We are cataloging the fields and checking the growth, germination, and survival of seedlings as we prepare them for dormancy in these final "good days". The spring bloomers will be covered with a nice, warm frost blanket suspended by row hoops and secured with sandbags. We are so excited to be trying new black fabric sandbags and hope they don’t weaken and become an explosion of compost during removal like the ones we’ve used prior. These seem more durable and even better, locally sourced and not a huge investment. Fingers crossed for a tidier spring in the row beds!

The dahlia field has also been cleaned up. Unlike many other farmers and what we’ve done previously, we will be overwintering these glorified potatoes in-ground. After lots of conversations with mentors and combing the web for results from trusted fellow growers like Jennie Love, we are preparing the dahlia tubers for a winter slumber in-ground. The support posts and corralling tape have been removed, plant matter was chopped down, and straw bedding was added on top. We will be tucking in the field (pathways and all) with tarping to insulate and hold our straw in place. We are creating a heavy blanket on top of the dahlia bed, and if they stay as warm as I do under my thick winter quilt, they will wake just fine come spring.

The tuberose bulbs are getting the same treatment. This crop lives in a high tunnel, but with extra protection like the dahlias, we feel good about our ability to lessen work and crop storage over the winter and provide a more natural dormancy.

After a sleepless week babysitting the mums during frigid night temps, there's been a break in the weather, making harvest a breeze and allowing us to plan for the final shipping weeks before Thanksgiving. There is quite a bounty of color coming out of that one house!

 Most of the fields have been cleared now of annual crops, and we will start peeling back the fabric to amend and feed the soil. The landscape of the farm reflects the beginning of that Christmas poem about a long winter nap.

We are breaking up the farm work and flexing our creative muscles by finding all kinds of uses for the dried blooms and holiday greens. As I've shared the rights to my glue gun and paddle wire, the assortment this year is unbelievable. I love seeing our team create such magical pieces for our Holiday Market and local pop-up events. It’s going to be a fun winter around here, and I’m already starting to hear Christmas music through earbuds everywhere I go.

- xoxo, Jess

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