“Sprinter”—Our New Northwest Season

Cosmo, the Chick-Whisperer. 100 baby laying hens.

Cosmo, the Chick-Whisperer. 100 baby laying hens.

What a crazy-warm winter-spring we’re having! I don’t even know what to call it—maybe Sprinter is a good word to describe the sunny, 70° March days? It also describes our work ethic right now: between soggy days, we sprint out to get a bit of ground worked up, and get something planted.

Our asparagus is green, but the emerging tips are always purple.

Our asparagus is green, but the emerging tips are always purple.

Spring means Rhubarb!

Spring means Rhubarb!

We’ve been pretty successful so far. Spinach, Arugula, Mizuna, Beet Greens are all growing nicely and should be ready to harvest in 2-3 weeks—way ahead of our normal schedule. Cilantro, Chervil, Turnips, Radishes, Salad Mix, and Carrots are all planted, weeded, and growing in the greenhouses, and we’ll be picking and eating all of those things by May.

Torpedo Onions that didn't get harvested last year, are the beginning of Spring Bounty.

Torpedo Onions that didn’t get harvested last year, are the beginning of Spring Bounty.

Mint beds are freshly weeded and growing fast.

Mint beds are freshly weeded and growing fast.

It’s been a bumper year for pests—specifically, rats. So many big ones! We planted peas in a greenhouse to try and get juicy pods early (like, May) but the blasted rats dug them up and ate them! We spent two weeks trapping, discovered one of our dogs (Mario) is a born ratter, and Cosmo collected a $1 bounty per critter for every one dead. Still, there were more. I replanted and have enough for an experiment, but not as I’d hoped. Alas, we’ll have to wait for outside peas after all. We’ll try again NEXT year.

I think this is a Calfie—Teo is getting friendly with Cosmo's new heifer, Garnet.

I think this is a Calfie—Teo is getting friendly with Cosmo’s new heifer, Garnet.

Teo is really excited to start picking again. Winter is a dull, if restive, time of year. But he likes it when the farm is producing—it gives us all energy. Between cleaning up and weeding, he’s found time to sneak in a little time with Cosmo’s new calf, Garnet. I think we should call these photos “calfies”.

Cosmo and his  3-month old heifer, Garnet. He wants a milk cow that he can raise from a baby. Yes, he'll be 13 when he finally gets to milk her. That's a lifetime.

Cosmo and his 3-month old heifer, Garnet. He wants a milk cow that he can raise from a baby. Yes, he’ll be 13 when he finally gets to milk her. That’s a lifetime.

Other good news this week: We were lucky enough to receive a $6,000 hoop house grant from NRCS! We believe we can squeeze that into two more large greenhouses, which means even MORE deliciousness next spring!

40,000 onion plants have arrived, and are waiting here for their beds to be made so they can be planted.

40,000 onion plants have arrived, and are waiting here for their beds to be made so they can be planted.

We’ve got the farm stand cleaned and a new floor put in—rest assured, the skunk who made it home in January is no longer inhabiting the building, but it IS staying nearby. (I love skunks, so we will not be hunting or destroying this one, but that does not mean it was welcome in the farm stand!) We believe it’s now living under one of the shipping containers—remember, it takes a lot of warnings before they actually spray, so just don’t surprise it or make it mad and you’ll be fine.)

We start our Spring CSA season this week—and we are already at capacity for this limited season. We also start farmers markets Easter weekend—University District on Saturday (9-2) and West Seattle on Sunday (10-2). Columbia City opening day is May 9. At the beginning of the Spring Season we count on any crops that overwintered, and this year we have LOTS of Spring Onions! We’ll also have Rapini, Broccolini, a bit of Kale, Sorrel, Mint, and Cilantro. Chervil and Pea Shoots will be coming along soon…

This is how we do crop rotation planning.

This is how we do crop rotation planning.

AND, we are creeping along with our plan to purchase our farm property and the one next door. Baby steps, and waiting in between. But we’ll get there!

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