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News and Views from Circle A Garden

Posted 1/26/2014 6:00pm by Betsy Austin.

Happy New Year everyone!!

Here we are in 2014!! Time marches on..seems like it marches a bit faster each year!! So far this year {all 26 days of it} have been pretty much sunny and fairly warm..for January. Our highs have been ranging in the high 30's early in the month to about mid 40's or warmer the last couple weeks. Our lows have been pretty much in the teens most of the month. What a difference from this time last season when our highs were barely above freezing and our lows were Cold..cold..cold.{11 below was our coldest night last January!!}. While Della, Mom, and I have been thoroughly enjoying all this sunshine, we desperatly need to see some precipitation..Here on the farm it has been over a month since we have seen more than a light skiff of snow and much of our snow cover we got in Dec. is gone. I think the mountains have gotten a bit more than we have, but drought conditions persist in much of Colorado.

2013 was another challenging year for farmers across the nation. Here at Circle A..well some of our challenges were a bit different from 2012. We started the year out with much colder and snowier conditions than we have had for a few years..it warmed up a bit in Febuary..almost all our snow was gone until that last week..then got a good storm and continued to get about a snow storm a week through much of March. Most of our fruit got frosted as it was blooming. April, May, and June were about average for us..not much rain but didn't have the high temperatures that we did in 2012. Our "monsoon" started kicking in during July with heavy thunder showers instead of those nice overnight soaking rains that I like. Many of our summer goodies were not happy with so much moisture all at once..we had tomatoes cracking as we picked them and melons soaking up excess water and cracking before they were even ripe!! At least we had crops to harvest unlike many farmers on the front range who were flooded out!! We had a mild fall..our first frost of the season was later than we were expecting and not as cold as it has been the last few..I think we were mid to high 20 instead of teens to low 20. Our fall greens in the tunnel just loved the weather up until the week before Thankgiving when we had this weird inversion thing going. Cooler temperatures, fog, and little sunshine..then some nice snowfall{we got a good foot here on the farm} and some sub zero temps..8 below was our lowest. By mid December though the inversion was a not so fond memory..the sun shone brightly, temperatures were a bit higher, and unfortunatly the snow fall did not continue. In spite of it all, we had a pretty good season..harvested over 12,000 lbs of produce from our 3 acres!! Down a bit from 2012 but a good bit of the difference came from the lack of fruit and way too many melons that went to our little birdie freinds. Our CSA membership was just about full..we ended the season with 48 members.

Our birdie freinds are doing well. The chickens are a layin', the geese should be old enough to lay come spring, some of the ducks have been laying since fall and the rest should be starting soon. The guineas are just waiting for the real spring to get here. Mom and Della want to get a few more guineas. They also have plans for baby chicks, geese, and ducks from our own birds..They can't wait for spring!!

note: we do have chicken and duck eggs for sale here at the farm..chicken eggs are $4.00 and Duck eggs are $6.00. Just give us a call..249-9725..to pick some up.

After a short break we are getting back into the swing of things. I have been working on seed and supply orders, and garden plans. Most of the seed orders have come in and I am finalizing the garden plans..just have to figure out where to put a few oddball things. We have the high tunnel just about ready to plant..on my calendar I have it written down that I was going to start planting in mid-Feb. again this year, but I am getting antsy and the weather has been great..the beds are just about warm enough now so unless it gets real cold in the next week I am going to go ahead and seed carrots, beets, and favas. I have all sorts of early greens up and growing in the prophouse already..chard, kales, mustards, asian greens. They will be just about big enough to plant in about 2 weeks!! Onions and leeks are seeded in trays but not quite up yet..I am impatient!!
2014 is going to be a great season!! We have found some new things to try..a few new tomatoes {in addition to the 20-30 varieties we already love to grow!!}..I have to admit that one of them I chose because of its name..pink bumblebee..some new varieties of greens..a puple daikon radish, 3 varieties of potatoes to go with the 7 or so we already grow..and we are finally going to try growing ginger{we ran into problems finding seed stock when we wanted to try it before}. We also plan on growing 4 colors of beets, 4 or 5 colors of carrots, about 20 varieties of peppers, I think we are up to about 30  varieties of winter squash, about 20 varieties of melons, 4 colors of turnips, many colors and shapes of radishes, a dozen or so varieties of lettuces, as well as brocolli, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi, parsnips, rutabaga, artichokes, summer squash, peas, favas, green beans, celery and celeriac, sweet potatoes, garlic, leeks, onion, shallots, and many more garden delights!!

work days for January and Feb will be every Saturday 9:00-noon. I can set up special days during the week for those folks that are unable to do Sat. Please let me know when you plan on being here.

Member sign up for 2014 season is up and running. We did have to raise our prices this year..it has been 3 years since we've done that..our costs to grow your food just keep going up.

So..member sign up for returning members .please go to the website  www.circleagarden.com and sign up!! Look for the box on the left side of the page that says membership actions and click on sign up now!! it will take you to the sign up page. click on returning member..it will ask for your e-mail address and will send you a link to verify you are who you are. Then just follow the directions.

have a mini share looking for a share partner..let me know if you are interested and I will get you her contact info.

For New members..same instructions for returning members except click on new member and follow the directions. For more information about our CSA please read about it under the heading OUR PRODUCTS. If you have any questions or would like a farm tour please feel free to contact us. I can start doing farm tours fairly soon unless we get a lot more snow here this next month.

We also have several work shares available and our search for interns is on. Any one interested in either a work share or an internship, please contact me for more information.

Looking forward to a great season!!

All of us at Circle A Garden