After a quiet winter on the farm, spring seems to have tiptoed in with little drama. I'm not used to this; there has to be at least *one* late frost or freeze for us to lose sleep over… but the 10-day forecast is mild and lovely. Can it be?…
We usually clamor to get the transplants in at the first sign that winter is probably over, but this year, Mother Nature had other ideas. It's been snowing or raining continuously for over a month, meaning we haven't been able to chop in cover crop, amend, and get fresh beds pulled. The soil just isn't workable when wet, and it has been very, very, very wet. I thought we were finally starting to dry out, but a 0% chance of rain flipped rather rudely to 100% yesterday afternoon when yet another thunderstorm blew through. Add another day or two of waiting! Weathermen. In what other job do you get to be so wrong, over and over, and keep getting paid for it?? Not that he or she could have done anything to change it, I suppose.
And so we wait. The transplants look marvelous and are being very patient. We have lettuces, greens, tomatoes, and peppers aplenty! Other crops we'll sow directly in the ground, the carrots, beets, squash, melons, and so on. We've focused our offerings a bit this year, knowing confidently now what grows well for us and what doesn't, taking us down to three great varieties of tomatoes from the two dozen we've tried, four types of squash from fourteen, etc. This will mean more food from a smaller space, which is good, because we're giving up an entire terrace for Le Big Project (stay tuned). We also converted the whole middle terrace and slopes to a twelve-row blackberry patch, increasing our successful pilot planting of 100 thornless Natchez blackberry canes to 1,600. They won't produce to their full capacity for a couple years, but the original 100 should this very June, so we're extremely excited to see how they bear. They don't look like much now, but just wait.
It's also the first year our 37 peach trees have flowered out, at the tender age of four. Barring cruel acts of nature, we should have peaches for about two months over the summer; unlike the blackberries, we chose several peach varieties that will ripen in succession. Fingers crossed our inaugural crop is a good one.
With fewer annuals to attend, we'll be able to focus on better amending a smaller plot of soil and cultivating the biodiversity therein, which will keep the pest and disease pressure down. Time to order some nematodes and trichogramma wasps! I already know one fat little ladybug who is particularly excited for her first spring.