We have now passed the halfway point between the winter solstice and the vernal spring equinox. This is called the Cross Quarter Days. The year is split into 4 major divisions called Quarter Days and are the solstices and equinoxes of the year. The halfway point in the Quarter Day is the Cross Quarter Day. This time of year it is usually on Groundhog Day. It is all about estimating how soon spring-like weather will arrive and when to plant the crops. For us this season, spring-like weather may have arrived early as we have been enjoying some very nice weather. This is really unusual for us as it is typically raining, foggy and cold or some combination of all them. But it is nice, comfortably warm in the mid to high 50s and not much rain in the forecast. Nobody here is complaining, just busy working and taking advantage of the great weather and hoping there is not a big old shoe that is going to drop on us and jinx this whole thing. It is staying lighter longer and is encouraging us to get off our butts and get various jobs done.
Our early planting of anemones is paying off as I pick a couple of buckets of these beauties every other day or so. So glad that they are blooming now and I can stop worrying about having flowers for Valentine's Day. We have tulips starting to color up too.
More of our seedlings are germinating. We have 3 trays of larkspur that finally germinated after about 20 days. I guess the trick to these flowers is to chill the seed in the fridge, sow them and cover them with vermiculite, and place them on the lower shelves of the germination house covered with a towel. No heat, very cool temp and darkness and lots of patience. Really excited for these in our mix this year.
We have 6 trays of 1.5 inch blocks of lupines that have finally popped. We have not grown lupines in several years and are giving them a whirl again for the fun of it. Don't know how popular they will be, so we will find out.
Propagation house is filling up and the seedlings seem to be growing. One thing we need to figure out is how to stop the algae growth on our miniblocks. Any non-chemical suggestions are always appreciated!
On my plate this week and the next week beside picking and seeding is weeding. Weeding, weeding and more weeding. We are no-till and the overwinter flowers of dianthus, yarrow, columbines and others need a thorough weeding. Not exciting or picture worthy but the weather will be okay and I will have tunes and will be one with nature.
We finally were able to get back to our hoophouse construction. We started this project almost 2 months ago but put finishing it on hold while we took on other on Farm Projects. We have the ends construction finished as well as the ground anchor system for the guide wires that pull the ends to vertical after we put on the plastic. We'll do a video this week of how we made these ends and anchor them. The neat thing about this whole caterpillar hoophouse system is that it can be moved to a new location if needed as there is no permanent foundation to it. This house is 16' wide by 80' long. We spaced the ribs at 4' to provide extra strength for snow load. We are going to finish this project this week by putting on the skin(plastic). We plan on doing a video on this too to complete the series on our hoophouse build.
Farmer Tony took a field trip on Friday to friends of ours who run an organic berry farm outside of Corvallis. Our friends are transitioning some of their blackberries into Aronia berries and graciously allowed us to re-purpose some of these beautiful thorn less blackberries on the Farm to use as greens foliage. It will take a bit of time for the plants to establish but these should be great additions to the Farm. There wasn't much to see in the field as the canes were all cut flush to the ground but we were able to dig up enough plants to give us a good 100 foot row.
We got the big clumps home cleaned them up and divided them and then temporarily healed them into these crates until we can plant them in a couple of weeks.
As a side note, right now the Aronia berries are dormant and they kind of look like any other dormant shrub, but in the Fall they can have really brilliant colored foliage.
So we got a bunch of cuttings that we are going to root and try these guys out for Fall foliage. These plants can get quite tall so we think these too have great potential as a woodie.
Well that's pretty much this week on the Farm. Until next week keep Farming On!