Sunday, March 28, 2010


So, tomatoes are one of the crops that differentiate us from other farms.  I seeded our tomatoes (and peppers and eggplant) yesterday, and we I did 27 varieties of heirloom tomatoes.  I'm pretty excited by this year's mix: it's about 50% old ones that are basically essential for me (like jaune flamme, eva purple ball, sungold, brandywine), and half new or returning gems, alot from Baker Creek Seeds, like Chalk's Early and Yellow Mortgage Lifter (Yes, Tomatoes have great names).  Some of them may not even look that different, I'm realizing as I look at the pics, but they all have their distinct time of the season and taste.

It sounds like it's going to warm up to the extreme, like 70 degrees later in the week.  It will be a good week for starting to prepare the ground, and probably by the beginning of the week after that we will be putting a few things in the ground.  As they say in Cote d'Ivoire, "On Va Voir."

If you are interested in getting a farm share this year, here is the brochure.  We may soon have an online payment system in place, no promises though.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Flood Part Two & Things Growing

I did get out to the field today.  Had to get through some wet patches, some two feet deep, but our fields themselves are now all dry.  I suspect that at the peak of the flood (cause by the Winooski and a really high water table if I didn't mention it before) the water was three to four inches over the field.  The garlic, I am happy to report, looks great, though it does have to be remulched (luckily, I went totally overboard gathering leaves last fall).  This picture is of the Half Pint Fields, hope you all don't mind me using it for purposes of demonstration, which is I guess just demonstrating what a big puddle of water looks like, with Spencer standing in front of it.  My boots could not keep out those puddles.

Also today, I started to ready an area for some of our plants to go out, and harden off (technical term for getting them gradually used to outdoor conditions).  Hard to believe, but I will be hardening off the onions in a week or so, beets not far behind that.  Definitely seeing the rhubarb crowns. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Weather: what does it mean for us?

You may be wondering what do two weeks of 15 degrees above average  + a return to normal or slightly below normal temps + 1 heavy rain = for the farm season ahead.  The answer is . . . probably nothing too different than the last, at least so far.  The ground seemed like it was going to be ready to break into a week or maybe two early, and things might have been a week or a week-and-a-half early, but I'm scaling back my guess (and it is totally a guess (we are still far enough out that lots of stuff can average)) to everything being the same as it always is due to the flood (that's right, those of you who have been with OHF for a while have heard about those (at this point I'm such a pro at them I just think of it as flood managment)).

And if you've been following this blog for awhile you've seen one version or another of this chart.  This one indicates a fairly substantial flood, and it seems to be accurate (I tried to look at the field today but didn't get past the gate).  What does that mean for the crops you ask? Well, only the garlic is in the ground right now, so overall I'm taking the philosophic view that we are farming on a Nile delta like thing, and this flood and others leaves lots of nutrients in the ground, especially the micro ones veggies are good at using up, so it's fine that it floods, as long as its now and not a month from now.  I do think that while it rained pretty hard for 10-12 hours, I'm surprised that that was enough to create this kind of flood, all of which probably means the ground wasn't as unfrozen as I thought.

Feel free to post any questions.  Comments won't appear immediately because I now have to mediate them, I guess spam has arrived on the blogs.

The brochure is in the post below, in case you are looking.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Onions Started, Recipe Czar, and Subscription to the CSA

That is about how close I get my face to the onions, and to most of the starts actually.  Besides seeing how well the seeds germinated (what percentage), I'm also looking to make sure the moisture level is right, so that I don't either underwater or over water (the side I am more prone to) - one thing to look for, if I over water consistently enough, is green stuff starting to form on the Vermiculite (the sparkly rock stuff sprinkled on top of all the cells).  The Vermiculite is also there to self-regulate the moisture levels a little.  This Spring has been really easy so far, the constant sun has made it impossible to overwater, and the germ has been so far great.  Yeah For Onions!

This is our first year with a recipe Czar (I won't use that word too many more times, don't worry), Carin, a member of our farm now for four years, will be sending out recipes each week, both on the blog, and to our members via email, with things to do with the vegetables that we happen to have that week (also including a list of what those veggies will be).  Very excited to have this be a little bit more regular because every week that we did manage to do it last year lots of members were excited about it.

CSA subscriptions are right about average for this time of year.  Right now is often when an uptick occurs, and there was an article in the Free Press about CSAs which might remind people, if the weather hadn't already, that we will in fact be able to grow lots of food right here in Vermont.  One thing I'd like to stress that the Freeps might have missed, "check out small family owned farms in your area."  One thing that the Organic movement has proven time and time again is that bigger isn't always better.  At Open Heart we are committed to being sustainable at a level that doesn't require us to become too big to be able to serve you personally.  That is alot of what we like about the CSA model, we really get to know our members over the years.  Speaking of which, I'm putting the link to our brochure here again.