Crop & Field Notes: Getting Ready for Winter

Crop & Field Notes: Getting Ready for Winter

“This food comes from the Earth and the Sky,
it’s the gift of the entire universe
and the fruit of much hard work;
I vow to live a life which is worthy to receive it.”
~ Grace of the Bodhisattva Buddists

The first frost of the season is descending upon us and I hope with more needed rain to follow. With the shortest day only a few weeks away on December 21, marking the Winter Solstice, we have been busy transitioning the farm into winter mode.

Dec 2013 Fields

Last week we finished planting next season’s strawberry crop, the fava beans, garlic and onions planted in November responded with a nice growth spurt due to all the warm weather we’ve had recently, the beds for January’s raspberry plantings are prepared, the apple orchards have received their amendments and are cover-cropped, hedgerows are mulched, the last tomato stakes have been pulled and stored away, drainage ditches are cleaned and in place along the edges of fields, equipment is being serviced… the list goes on and we are all grateful for mother nature to let us slow down a bit … soon!

Dec Fields 2013-1

One becomes aware that crops we took for granted as plentiful a mere few weeks ago – tomatoes, summer squash, strawberries – are now out of season. With shorter days and colder temperatures our important allies, the soil microorganisms, key players in supplying nutrients to our crops, will hibernate and as a consequence slow plant growth way down over the next 3-4 months.

Dec Fields 2013-4

We have done our best to plan for a bountiful harvest throughout the cooler winter months. Most of our winter crops were purposefully planted on a staggered schedule, so as to mature at different times. Crops such as Carrots, Leeks, Parsnips, Celery Root, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Beets, Broccoli and Brussels sprouts, as well as many of our leafy greens are mature enough now to be ready for harvest. These crops will store in the fields growing only very slowly, supplying us with a steady harvest over the next few months.

Dec Fields 2013-2

A heartfelt thanks to all who signed up for the 2013-14 Winter Season, which is almost sold out; we are grateful for your commitment.

This may seem a bit early, but I encourage everyone to reserve their Live Earth Farm subscription for next year now.  Of the choice shares, only a couple dozen are left and this is also a good time to take advantage of our 2014 season discounts. Your early registration always helps pay for salaries during the slower months ahead, for early spring purchases such as planting stock and seeds, for equipment repair and maintenance, and for investments in improved tools and equipment.

Dec Fields 2013-3

The white fabric covering the rows is called “remay”, and it helps prevent frost burn on delicate crops like lettuce and chard.

Brussels Sprouts in the field. The lower leaves are removed to help the Sprouts grow and to discourage aphids from infesting the plants.

By | 2013-12-05T14:41:25+00:00 December 3rd, 2013|Crop & Field Notes|Comments Off on Crop & Field Notes: Getting Ready for Winter