Spring has arrived here at Madison Creek Farms…Our May tulips are all blooming early but they light up the farm with colors only Mother Nature can create.
We have been busy planting up a great spring and early summer season in last few weeks. Now we are getting ready to move into planting our summer crops that need warm soil and even warmer days to produce in the coming weeks of summer. This week we are setting out our first crop of tomatoes. It is still risky yet with our expected last frost date still a couple of weeks away…April 15th. With that again for tomatoes, peppers and other warm season plants they need warm soil to set good deep roots in. So it is important to give them the environment they require to ensure a good bountiful season. Nice warm days….heating up the soil…all this can be done even in these cool days with nothing more than a few large empty milk jugs or empty water bottles.
This is recycling at its best…I think. By placing these bottles over the small tomato plants it not protects the young seedling from hard rains and wind…like yesterday…but it also creates a mini greenhouse around the plant. These are easy to use and you can save them year after year. All you need is a large plastic milk or water bottle. You will need to remove their bottoms by punching a hole to get a good sharp pair of shears to snip the end of the bottle away. I keep the caps on but I punch a couple of small holes to allow for ventilation. I place the bottle over the plant digging it down into the soil to hold it in place. Once the plant begins to out grow the bottles in a couple of weeks or so ….the weather is warm enough outside anyway. This system gives me a couple of weeks jump start on planting without the work of setting up low tunnels and it works…which I like anything simple that works.
This little lady happens to be a Japanese Truffle heirloom tomato. Doesn’t she look happy as can be under that bottle. Heirloom tomatoes take a longer growing season then their F1 breed counter parts so getting a early start helps get these tasty girls into the market and CSA a couple of weeks earlier then our later without protection plantings. Right now we have most of the field planted with everything from Broccoli to spinach to sweet tender lettuce mixes. If you will scroll down through the last few blog posts I have included our spring planting list. This will give you a good idea of what to expect this spring and early summer season from the farm CSA and market. Now let’s just hope the weather will comply.
CSA News & Updates
Everyday we head out to our chicken coop to gather our farm eggs….Our hens are restricted to the coop most of the day right now while the field is being planted. They will in fact stroll right behind you digging whatever you have planted right backup scratching around looking for bugs in the freshly turned over planting beds. So they get to free-range right now only for about 4 or 5 hours in the evening time. Late afternoon the chicken won’t stray too far from the protection of their coop…well, kinda. They will venture out into the field but they don’t tend to stay too long to do much damage. Once the plants have set a good and are strong enough to withstand a bit a scratching around them the hens will be once again free to move about the entire farm. That is until the tomatoes begin to come on…they will eat everyone of them right off the vine if allowed near the field.
We are just around the corner of our first CSA gathering and pickup this spring. Mark and I are very excited to see everyone. We have a big day planned getting you all ready for your CSA season. There will be plenty of food and time to get acquainted with the farm and how the program works for those of you that are new to our CSA. You are more then welcome to bring you family with you and if you want bring your friends…we are going to have a great time. This is a very important part of starting off our CSA season. Last year our spring gathering was cancelled due to the flood and I think because of that it took a lot longer for folks to get an idea of how the program works and much more about where everything is and how to take full advantage of what there is to offer here on the farm. So please mark your calendars and plan to spend a few hours meeting all your fellow CSA shareholder and hanging with Mark and I here on the farm. Here is the info:
April 16th. 10:30am-1:30pm ( please try and get here around 10:30am…you can of course leave when you want but you won’t want to miss our overview and finer points about the program…we won’t lock you in the chicken coop)
Location: Madison Creek Farms
We will be serving lunch….hotdogs and pasta salad with chips and Lemonade
Farm tour, We will be going over all the ins and outs of the CSA program as well as answering your questions.
You will be leaving the farm with your 1st. spring basket of fresh vegetables.
Make sure you keep up with the farm newsletters via this blog ….and this is very important as we near our CSA season…if you are a facebook user you can get the very latest updates…such as weather postponements of CSA pickups and or if we need to close the farm due to weather. It may save you a trip to the farm….so look for us on facebook .
See you all very soon!