So February came and went, the snow fell and melted, fell and melted again. Our high tunnel survived some decent snow fall as we watched how the temperatures would fluctuate inside the tunnel as the temperatures outside plummeted. It’s going to take some time before we really have a good record of monthly data on it. On days when the temperatures outside have been below freezing, it has been tempting to get a lawn chair and go sit in the high tunnel to absorb some heat. The first night the high tunnel was up with the plastic on, we had some of our highest wind gusts. It was a relief to wake up the next morning and not go looking for it in Oakland, MD.
Spring fever hit early and we started a few lettuce seeds, some kale, and some spinach to see if we could start putting some hardy cold tolerant crops in the high tunnel.
We needed to get the soil prepped and get all four of us together on the farm once again. We have been enjoying our hiatus, but we have still been planning and laying out the field and the new crops.
We have committed to putting out 8,750 strawberry plants this year resulting in a one acre area for a You-Pick strawberry operation. We certainly can’t pick that many strawberries by ourselves, so we are relying on all the people who have been asking us to go back into growing strawberries. Debbie and Darla grew up growing them on this land, so it is a natural progression in our quest to deepen Vested Heirs roots. We are excited, but are anxious about how to care for them during times of late frost, pests, and weeds. The experience of the past will come into play, but we will be trying new techniques too. Years ago the farm utilized geese to weed the strawberry patch, which isn’t part of good agricultural practices today because of the waste products.
BJ was able to get the area inside the tunnel ready with the help of our new tiller, one less item we have to borrow or rent.
As our little seedlings started to sprout, we watched the high tunnel temperatures and decided it was time to say a little prayer and put them in the high tunnel.
It felt good to get our hands in the dirt again and we know that our season will be in full swing soon. We will once again be teaching our Wee Farmers who have now graduated to being Junior Farmers.
There will still be days of snow here on the farm, Debbie was born on May 11th, David and Delores traveling to the hospital in the biggest storms of that year-more on that in the May blog…stay tuned.
Until then we will watch our greens continue to grow and the tomatoes we have started turn into the promise of our first high tunnel crop.