Greetings from the veggie fields at Ffynnon, everyone!
It has been a load of work bringing the farm out of the longest, coldest, wettest and snowiest winter I've encountered in more than twenty years in Oregon, and it feels like that winter ended just last week. We have been busy renovating the mounded beds and getting new crops in, but many things have had to wait until soil and air temperatures are warm enough. We have had to push the opening of our CSA season back by two weeks, so that our first delivery will be on Thursday, June 22. Even so, many of the veggies in the first few weeks will necessarily be of the "baby" variety--small leaves of spinach, arugula, and the like. With any luck, though, our rapidly ripening strawberries will make it into the first CSA basket.
Full disclosure: these are not this season's berries; it's a picture of our second-to-last harvest from September of last year.
Speaking of berries and extended seasons, we are planning and planting not merely for this season, but for years to come. We have a passel of new raspberry plants in our nursery beds in the upper garden, which we will place in their permanent home in the lower garden as soon as their bed is prepared. We are doing the same thing with about a hundred asparagus crowns, which need to go into a bed that has been made weed-free with a fine-toothed comb. These new crops will both extend our season and add variety to our produce offerings, but they will not give us any marketable product for at least a year (in the case of the asparagus, possibly two years). It's a balancing act to get the fields ready for these long-term, legacy crops while keeping time, equipment, and labor available for this summer's veggies.
I can also report that we now have a fully deer-and-elk-proof produce field, thanks to the fence-building efforts of Michael and Neal, along with Matty Pilkington, among others. It's a comfort knowing that we are raising our produce for human beings. We have 79 out of our eighty acres that are full of food perfectly acceptable for ruminants, so I don't feel bad about denying them our broccoli. Michael and Neal also did stellar work preparing beds for this year's crops. As a matter of fact, it was while they were doing this prep work that we noticed the bee swarm and were able to coax the bees into their new home, as Michael has written about just recently. It was truly impressive to watch Michael singing the bees down out of the fir tree to their new hive.
Ffynnon's new apiary.