Sunday, April 26, 2009

Compost, Soldiers and Gardening!

What a crazy week we had!  We spent a lot of time last week spreading compost on our fields - we do this every other year (mostly due to expense), and get 20 yards to spread on 1 acre or so.  At that time we also spread organic fertilizers like Cheep Cheep, Pro Grow, etc.   It is just such
 a great way to spread fertilizer since we already have the compost spreader hooked up.  We did this project last Sunday - a day when no other
 farmers at the Intervale really do any tractor work, and since we need both the New Holland (for the use of the bucket) and the John Deere (for the PTO for the spreader) for the task, it's just better knowing that we won't be hogging the tractors when other farmers need them.  It was a beautiful and productive day - preparing us for the task of tilling and laying the biodegradable plastic for the 
potatoes, onions and shallots - a project for 
this week.  It took us 3 hours or so - not too bad, considering we only do this every other year, and I have relative inexperience with using the bucket; that thing definitely takes some practice!  Our other major projects this week involved potting up hundreds of pots for Gardener's Supply Company - we have a growing account with them and do quite a few potted veggie starts for their retail store.  With all the beautiful growing weather coming up, it feels good to get moving on the potting up so that everything can get out of the greenhouse and sold to all those eager gardeners
 out there!  The pots all look so obedient with their colorful tags - like regimented soldiers ready to fight the good fight against conventional food! 
 I always feel so proud of all my plants when we drop them off at Gardener's Supply - I know they're going to good homes with people that will appreciate what they have to offer.  It's a nice component to our business that takes up most of our time this time of year and then it's over by Memorial Day weekend.  A short, but sweet part 
of our season.  We moved the geese and ducks out to their outside house - they were simply getting too big for their brooder!  They're only a week and a half old!  They have been growing so quickly!  I recently read that Pekin ducks can potentially be 
ready for harvest in only 6 or 7 weeks (that's faster that cornish chickens!) - and in that amount of time they'll have eaten 20+ pounds of feed!  Crazy!  I'm so glad we're supplementing with pasture (currently grass clippings - soon field
 grass) - which they love!  They descend upon any patch of grass like locusts; except they're quite cuter and make nicer sounds.  They actually
 whistle more than chirp - very cute.  We anticipate moving them out to field pasture very soon.  First, we must construct a solid home for them to live in at night after they're done ranging and also to protect them from predators.  We're planning on making them a house on top of this frame - Spencer was very proud of his medieval style wheels he fashioned out of an 

old cable spool!  They work quite well, actually.  We're also planning on a door that becomes a 
ramp for them to walk up.  This was a fun Friday project, after we deconstructed the old hay rick at our field - we needed a nice flatbed wagon for moving plants to the field, and the wood from the walls was rotten and dangerously falling apart.  So, we will be gleaning some great wood from that project for the duck house and the pig house as well.  Saturday was our first 80 degree day here in Burlington!  We were so focused on trying
 to pack so much in on this perfect day that we almost had project paralysis - but, we were able to accomplish some major gardening projects here at home (after spinning class, a great breakfast, and tuning up the bike of course)!  Don't worry, the irony is definitely not lost on us - we are farmers that leave the farm early some days to come home to garden!  It is definitely funny!  However, it makes tons of sense - we love 
gardening at home because it allows us to grow things we'd never grow at the farm; like perennials, fruit trees, flowers and fun herbs.  It was nice to see the Johnny Jump Ups doin' their thing, and to notice that our first try at asparagus seems initially successful!  The wormwood, angelica, chervil, chives, marjoram, thyme, sage and mountain mint are all up and looking great!  We spent time talking about the project for the front yard - Spencer's super fun crazy wild and huge garden!  Since we grow so many baby veggies at the farm, he thought it would be fun to grow HUGE veggies at our house.  And, after falling for the urgings of Eat the View and the White House garden, we decided it was time to do our own front garden here in suburbia!  As Spencer unloaded the tiller from our van and started to till up the front yard, I was listening to The Splendid Table, where Lynn Rosetto Kasper had a story on just that - growing a garden instead of a lawn.  

Her guest was Rosalind Creasy, who was touting her new cookbook, but she's also known for
 her book on Edible Landscaping - she grew wheat on her front lawn!  Felt good to be on the
 same page.  It felt like we were getting some support while tearing up the lawn in a block of lawns that are all perfect and manicured.  Now it looks so purposeful and industrious, and ready for the transplants of our Giant Red Celery, Mammoth Cabbage, Dill's Atlantic Giant Pumpkins, Giant watermelons, etc.  It's going to be a blast, and certain to be a conversation starter this summer!  We'll post pictures as the garden 
progresses...  There it is, the last post of April!  Hard to believe!  We're gearing up for the first downtown farmers' market, which is only 2 weekends away!  Hard to believe we've only got 1 free Saturday left for 5 months!  Gotta make some relaxation plans for next week...

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