Thunder in February = Frosts in May

I’ve been asked how this warmer than usual Spring has affected our schedules on the farm.  No, we didn’t put tomatoes in the ground during the 80-degree temperatures in March, and we didn’t seed lettuce 4 weeks earlier than usual.  With some wise words of wisdom from a long-time farmer: “When there is thunder in February, it frosts in May,” we’ve tried to keep the activities on the farm mostly seasonal.

Field production is right on schedule and even with the light frosts in the early morning this week, the plants are tolerant and have stuck it out so far.  Here’s a few pictures of our first spring transplant in the fields.  These plants were seeded in late February and were transplanted this past Monday.  The plants in the mix include broccoli, cabbage, kale, collards, lettuce, green onions and chard.

What might seem out of season is the harvest we have been offering.  But the food we’ve been harvesting hasn’t necessarily been due to the warmer than usual weather but rather because we are seeing the benefits that high tunnel production brings–season extension for crops that otherwise wouldn’t mature until a later date.  Here are a couple of pictures from the early Spring harvest, it sure is nice to be eating farm-fresh strawberries in April!  We hope many of you have taken advantage of the Flex Share offerings, like kale, chard, carrots, beets and now spinach and strawberries.

What is significantly different is the cover crop growth.  Usually the cover crop grasses are only knee-high at this time of year, but this year the rye was 5 feet tall, producing seed heads and beginning to senesce weeks earlier than normal.  With this in mind, the maturing grasses got flail-mowed this week in preparation to perhaps squeeze in a second cover crop like buckwheat before using the field for crop production later this summer.  Here are a few pictures of the process:

mature rye

mowing using two passes

a view of the farm after many fields had been mowed.

But as I look to Summer, I cross my fingers and hope the summer will be more seasonal than both this past Winter and Spring have been.  As with any year though, there is always something to throw us off guard, or maybe that’s just the way it always is-unpredictable!  So can a frost be predicted for May?  Well, I sure hope not but as we plan to put tomatoes in the ground as early as this coming week and again by the first of May and then the temperatures drop, you bet we’ll be covering them with row cover because what would a CSA be without tomatoes!!!


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