This Week at the Farm: Healthy Soil, Spring Planting, Hummingbirds
Can you believe that we got snow in some parts of the Upper Valley on Monday night? We keep saying that this the last snow, the last frost, etc. but hopefully this really was the last of it! Just in case, make sure to keep an eye on the forecast and bring your planters inside at night.
It seems we’re not in the clear just yet. To be safe, you should wait until Memorial Day to plant your gardens. You can, however, plant spring bulbs (as long as your soil isn’t too soggy), and they’ll start to grow once the soil warms up. We still have lots of dahlias, gladiolus, etc. in the farmstand for you to choose from; buy them individually, bulk, packaged, or in a pack of 50.
When it’s as cold as this May has been, everything grows a lot more slowly. One of the realities of farming in Vermont when you don’t have infinite greenhouse space is that you’re at the mercy of the weather. To give you a frame of reference: at this time last year, asparagus was at its peak, and this year we harvested our first two (!) bunches on Tuesday.
That said, things are starting to pick up and we have radishes, asparagus, and a variety of greens (skip to the end to see what other delicious things we have in the farmstand). This recipe for sautéed radishes with spring greens is a perfect one for early in the season.
Remember, to get the best deal on produce this season, sign up for a Produce Plus CSA Card.
What is soil and why does it matter?
While it’s slow growing, this is a great opportunity to talk about one of our favorite topics: soil! Although the terms “soil” and “dirt” are often used interchangeably, they’re actually fundamentally different. Soil is very much alive – it’s believed that a tablespoon of soil contains more microorganisms than there are people on the planet – and dirt is dead. Soil is the source of all life. It provides nutrients that plants need to grow, which in turn sustains life above the ground and supports biodiversity.
Throughout the season, we’ll revisit this topic and why it’s both important and relevant to you. For now, here are 7 fascinating facts about soil and a short video about why soil matters. Enjoy!
Soil, Worms, and Decomposition
Our homeschool class explored the topic of healthy soil on Wednesday, venturing out into the farm fields with Meredith to explore decomposition. It all began with a banana peel and a round of “ewwwww"s and wondering why it looked the way it did. The students fed the banana peel to the worms as they explored the worm bin, learning about worm anatomy and how to build a worm bin at home. They also talked about the Fungus, Bacteria, and Invertebrates, or FBI, who help to decompose organic matter and transform it into soil. They even took some soil samples to determine where plants on the farm would be happiest to grow!
Gardening Tips: Hummingbirds
We love hummingbirds. You’ll see them in our greenhouses, flitting from one plant to the next. What do you need to grow to attract them in your garden and keep them happy? Here’s what Michelle suggests:
Variety, variety, variety. I can’t say it enough. I know that most people say, “if it’s red, they will like it.” This may be true, but I can’t tell you how many evenings I spent in the garden and saw my busy little hummingbird friend visiting blues, yellows, oranges and purples all throughout the garden night after night.
May 18 – Norwich Farmers Market, 9-1.
May 19 – Knife sharpening at the farmstand, 10-2.
May 21 – Little Farmers drop in class for children ages 2-5, 10-11 am.
May 21 – Cooking for Middle Schoolers, 3:30-5:15 pm.
May 22 – Homeschool Farm Science, 1-3 pm.
May 23 – Lebanon Farmers Market, 4-7 pm.
June 1 – Last Day to sign up for a Produce Plus Card!
One of the new products we’re really excited about this week is the Roasted Garlic Scape Confit, made with love by our kitchen crew. Because the scapes were roasted, the flavor is mild; it has the consistency of a spread and can be used as a dip for bread, a dressing for vegetables, on your baked fish, etc.
Our freezers are filled with produce that was preserved at the height of the season last year. And if you’re looking for something easy and already prepared, you’ll also find a variety of soups – Cream of Spinach, Butternut Squash, and Southwestern Black Bean – and salads with fresh greens, all of which pair well with our focaccia of the day.
See you at the farm!
–From all of us