Thursday, January 19, 2012

New Stats to look for

As most of you have looked at the blog for a few years know, I regularly check the river page to see what level the Winooski is at, this year, I, and surely lots of other farmers, are looking at these numbers, particularly the snowfall for the season and month.  The numbers tell a good deal, but not all of the story.  They tell us that we have 29 inches less snow than last year this time, which is more than 50% less, or probably more importantly, even if it started snowing at the record rates of last year, we would have still 25% less than last year, and hence signigantly less flooding.  If we hang out at average or the  even less than average that we are getting so far we could even be looking at some early starts, like we had in the 2010 season.  Some of this number crunching is just too much time in the winter, but still, a good way to plan how much one should try to get on the highest ground one has, and to look ahead and say, maybe we will be in the greenhouses a week earlier than last year, so get ready.

heres the link in case you want to watch along with me:

 Burlington International, Vermont (KBTV)

Weather Almanac for January 19, 2012
  Actual Normal Record Last Year
Max Temperature 44° 27° 53° (1996) 31°
Min Temperature 10° -24° (1974) 11°
Precipitation 0.00 " 0.07 " 1.61 " ( 2006 ) 0.21 "
Month-to-date precip. 0.93 " 1.19 " -- 1.19 "
Year-to-date precip. 0.93 " 1.19 " -- 1.19 "
Snowfall 0.0 " 0.6 " 9.7 " ( 1978 ) 2.1 "
Month-to-date snowfall 8.1 " 12.2 " -- 21.0 "
Season-to-date snowfall 20.1 " 35.5 " -- 49.3 "
Heating degree days 38 47 -- 44
Month-to-date heating degree days 754 831 -- 785
Since 1 July heating degree days 3010 3590 -- 3569
Since 1 Jan cooling degree days -- -- -- --
Maximum humidity: 86%, Minimum humidity: 45%, Average humidity: 66%                             P.S. for those looking for the brochure I will be getting it ready for the end of January beginning of Feb.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Seeds are coming in

As with most years I start ordering seeds with the new year, which seems appropriate.  Well, they are already coming in, probably mostly in by the end of the week, which means the next step will be organizing them. (Reminds me of another thing I like about farming, one step seems to so naturally lead you to the next.  You take care of a plant for a while, then you harvest from said plant for awhile.  It's probably just as natural in other jobs but I couldn't always figure it out).  After that I will get on to making this years brochure . . . before you know it greenhouses.

But to savor the moment a little, there are some seeds I am excited about this year.  Mostly tomatoes.  Because I have access to hoophouses this year I was able to bring back a few I had given up on.  Pinapple, above, is one of those striped ones that I love but are just too darn big and cracky to get reliably in the field.  Most of these striped ones (like gold medal) are pretty sweet but large enough to have some nice complex tomato flavors as well.  Dad's Sunset was just too nice looking and such a great name couldn't pass it up.  I have one other orange tomato, Valencia, that is pretty, but I've never been one hunred percent satisfied with it's flavor.  Other tomatoes I'm bringing back for a run in the hoophouses are Cherokee Purple, which in the field always had a week or two of nice early ones but then were worthless, and Brandywine, which I was truly contemplating giving up before I secured our land at South Village (where our hoophouses are and a chunk of higher ground, the need for which, see earlier posts).  Brandywines really are as awesome as their reputation but I was getting two usable tomatoes a plant, maybe.  Even for field tomatoes I am going back to my old regime of using Serenade for a few weeks in the beginning, probably up until the time they set fruit.  It is an organic spray that I think can add about two or three weeks of life to the plants, and when you are talking tomatoes every week is worth it.  They're here and then they're gone.

Other veggies that I'm excited about: I just can't stop thinking of the peas.  I'll probably be dreaming about them tonight!