Farm Happenings, 2015 Week 49

Everything still looks great in the fields, albeit growing slowly due to the shortened days. We are at risk that many of the crops will get bitten back, maybe even killed, by a hard freeze soon as we haven’t had many cold nights yet. The weather may not slowly acclimate the plants to freezing temperatures – so be sure to enjoy these veggies while you can!!

We harvested a massive amount of delicious broccoli on Monday afternoon, come get yours at the farm stand on Tuesday – we usually sell out quickly, but this week there should be enough for everyone!
One of our fields is resting this winter as we work on rebuilding our perimeter fencing that will make this one completely deer-proof (we can’t grow any food crops with certain unwelcome visitors who recently discovered and breached the 4′-tall section we are now replacing).

However, though we aren’t growing greens here this winter, we are actively improving the soil and suppressing weed pressure by growing crimson clover (on the left) and annual ryegrass. Both of these cover crops add organic matter to the soil in the spring when they are tilled in and the ground is prepped for spring planting. Another benefit is that both crops have dense root systems that increase water infiltration into our soil and loosen up the clay. Clover “fixes” nitrogen from the atmosphere and puts it into the soil which will greatly decrease our need for organic fertilizers on our spring-planted vegetables. Beneficial insects are also attracted to crimson clover’s April blooms, and our thousands of honeybees absolutely love them!

We sell the seeds for both at Renfrow Hardware, in large bags and also by the pound – even if you have a small raised bed garden that you’re letting rest for the winter, there’s still time to sow now and later reap the benefits with improved spring and summer crops. Another great option are our mixed greens – an edible cover crop blend comprised of kale, mustard, turnips, rape, and radishes. Food for thought!