Winter’s descent brings snow and rain and cold outside, but it doesn’t mean farm work stops.
So what exactly goes on at the farm in December and January? This is the normal sight around here lately:
Yes, we are all crammed together in our farm office to work on the farm plans for 2017. We trade scuffle hoes for laptops and harvest checklists for excel spreadsheets. We plan the crops for our CSA in 2017, the crop rotation, and the field maps. We research crop varieties and place seed orders. Sometimes we know what works and we stick with it, but other times we look for something new that might have a better flavor or higher disease resistance or bigger yields. Next we get our calendars in order: the timing for seeding in our greenhouse, transplanting in the fields, as well as when to prep fields by mowing and spading.
Winter is also the time for data collection and summary for 2016. We total our harvests to know how much food was grown. This also helps informs our field plans and whether we had enough of every item or not. We inventory our supplies so we know what to order for the next season. There are lots of activities to keep us busy in winter!
Lastly, we still have plants to tend. What?! With snow on the ground and temps dropping far below freezing? Yes, thanks to our farm’s high tunnels, we grow some food all winter. Beets, carrots, kale, spinach, arugula… we hope that some of these crops will be showing up at our Farm Stand in the near future. However we are still in the “Persephone Period.” The Persephone Period is the time when there are less than 10 hours of sunlight each day. For our latitude, this time usually lasts from around November 18 to January 23. We are nearing the end of the period, after which plants will start to grow more readily.
I don’t know about you, but fresh greens from our high tunnels sound delicious right about now! We hope to have some on your plate real soon.