Spring Week 8—Things are Hopping!

800# of potatoes are planted! A little late, but the ground was so wet, this was the soonest we could get it ready. New potatoes should be ready in July!

800# of potatoes are planted! A little late, but the ground was so wet, this was the soonest we could get it ready. New potatoes should be ready in July!

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Baby Carrots
• Pea Shoots
• More Pea Shoots
Orach (link goes to a NY Times article with recipes!)
• Purple Salad Mustard
Green Garlic

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Green Onions, Spinach, Basil!, Peas, Fava Beans

We are sure enjoying the carrots! Sadly, they are in a greenhouse, so they will be done in a few weeks, but it’s sure a treat to have them this early. The first outdoor crop is planted, so we will only have a small gap of carrotlessness.

First Sugar Snap Pea blooms! First crop of peas will be coming in June!

First Sugar Snap Pea blooms! First crop of peas will be coming in June!

The Pea Shoots are especially bountiful now that we’ve had some warm weather—they are tender and succulent now, and delicious. Great for salad, with a lemony dressing!  Our early planting of Sugar Snap and Shelling Peas are starting to bloom, so we can look forward to counting the weeks until those sweet pods are ready to pick. Still several weeks earlier than last year.

Rainbow-colored Orach, or "Mountain Spinach". It's a nutritious, cool-weather green that is very similar to spinach.

Rainbow-colored Orach, or “Mountain Spinach”. It’s a nutritious, cool-weather green that is very similar to spinach.

Our Spinach is not quite big enough to bunch, so we started picking the Orach this week. It is very similar to spinach, and can be used raw or cooked. It’s pretty too! We were hoping that the arugula would be ready, but sadly, the dreaded flea beetles found it first and it is not very tasty at all now, and it’s full of holes. Soon a new planting will be ready.

You've seen those row cover tunnels from the outside, but this is the inside view. Harvesting purple salad mustard. Good thing we're not claustrophobic.

You’ve seen those row cover tunnels from the outside, but this is the inside view. Harvesting purple salad mustard. Good thing we’re not claustrophobic.

The extremes in weather are fine for humans, but hard on plants. Many plant families respond to both changing day length AND temperature, so when we go from cold, cloudy days that feel about 12 hours long to suddenly hot, bright days that are 16 hours long, the plants’ internal clock says, “Whoa! I gotta get my flowers on!” So they elongate, bloom, and finish their life cycles. Unfortunately, we never know when exactly this will happen. This is why Spring is the trickiest season for harvesting.

Our first rogue hatch of 2014! This hen has secretly been setting on a nest of eggs and appeared the other day with 10 chicks. Happy birthday! I'm sure there will be more new families as the weeks go by.

Our first rogue hatch of 2014! This hen has secretly been setting on a nest of eggs and appeared the other day with 10 chicks. Happy birthday! I’m sure there will be more new families as the weeks go by.

That increasing day length also tells the chickens that it’s baby making time. Around April, those hens who feel the motherly yearning start stealing away to make nests in the bushes, behind a pile of lumber, or any tucked-away, secluded place. Sometimes they collect only their own eggs, and others are really skilled at luring other hens to help by laying their eggs in the nest as well. Those are the hens who can get to setting soonest. Our first “rogue” hen just appeared this week with her clutch of hatchlings—10 of them. Very cute, and they are still wandering around and peeping. Cosmo has decided that she’s a very good mom, because she always waits for all the chicks to follow. (Some hens are not very good and keeping everyone together and lose them.)

Our first bunch of fryers finally got moved to grass! It's been too wet to make the big move—they stress easily. But the weather seems to have settled, and Mike was able to do a lot of mowing.

Our first bunch of fryers finally got moved to grass! It’s been too wet to make the big move—they stress easily. But the weather seems to have settled, and Mike was able to do a lot of mowing.

Our first batch of fryer/broiler chickens finally  made it out to pasture this week. It’s been so cold, wet and unpredictable that we didn’t want to have them make the move. But they’re outside, and happily wandering and eating greens. We still have quite a few available in both of our June harvest dates, so let us know if you’re interested. They are juicy and delicious! Click here for the reservation form. And if you’d like to read more about our poultry-raising practices, click here.

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