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News and Views from Circle A

Posted 3/5/2019 4:06pm by Betsy Austin.

Happy Almost Spring {we hope}!!

Well, so far 2019 has started out much better than 2018!! At least moisture  wise … so far we gave had more snow and some rain December, January and February  than we did pretty much all year last year!! By the end of December the San Juans were nice and white...much whiter than they were the whole winter last year. And the snow just keeps a comin'!! We've been ready for the snow to melt back and for our nice gentle overnight rains to start for over a month now. The first couple of weeks in February we thought it was going to start happening… on groundhog day we had some nice gentle rains in between periods of sunshine … even saw our first robin...on valentines day it was pretty much cloudy all day with showers starting in the afternoon and lasting most of the night … temperatures were rising a bit and snow was melting … all was well in our world. Then the third week of February happened!! Temperatures dropped, clouds rolled in, white stuff started falling, and we ended up with another 8 or so inches of snow!! The sun started coming out, the snow was melting back rapidly, it was looking promising that we might be able to get some stuff done outdoors... but then the clouds rolled in the other day...we had lots of rain most of the afternoon but sometime during the night we got another 3 inches of snow!! Most of that snow had melted off by the next day, along with some more from previous snows so maybe we are going to be able to get going outdoors soon. Welcome to MUD season!!!!

2018 was a very challenging year for us here on the farm. We started out with very little winter... didn't even really have good snow cover for the garlic. By the end of January, it was already starting to warm up... with very little rainfall or moisture … did have some but not nearly enough to make up for what moisture didn't happen earlier in the winter. {we were able to get the shrubs and trees pruned fairly early!!} By April everything was getting pretty dry .. we usually have a least some rain to help germinate seedbeds but Mother Nature was definatly not helping so we had to run the overhead sprinkler much more than we wanted before we could turn the drip on... moving hoses is one of our least favorite things to do!! By mid- May we were already heating up into the high 80's and above with out much rain. By June, still not much rain, temps climbing to almost 100 degrees and single digit humidity... we were getting crops planted but it was taking time and it hard to keep little baby plants watered. Once the plants got a bit more established and the drip was going it was easier to keep everybody alive.  We had problems with bugs… mostly flea beetles..even in the high tunnel. Between the lack of humidity, heat,  and the bugs many of our crops did not do well. In the tunnels we had issues with heat, flea beetles, and water/humidity issues, many things were mot happy; many of our early greens were very damaged by the flea beetles and the heat made them want to bolt early, lettuces got bitter or bolted early, we had a very hard time getting sweet potatoes established{once they got roots going well the ones that lived did well}. {tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers in the tunnel did VERY well!!} Outdoors greens and lettuces were not happy .. between the heat and flea beetles, I would say that we had crop failure with most of them. Peas and favas started out well, but shut down as soon as the temps got too high. Had a tough time getting fennel and parsnips to germinate well. Green beans started out gangbusters... came up, grew well, set lots of beans for about 2 weeks, then just limped along...harvest totals dropped to less than 1/2 from the first to the third week of harvest. Outdoor tomatoes bloomed but didn't set much fruit until the monsoon came so most of the tomatoes we harvested up until September came from the tunnel, melons were a bust, winter squash did ok but we had a lot that just wouldn't cure out so we could store it. Most everything else did fairly well. And even though the season was tough on plants we still ended up harvesting close to 10,000 lbs of produce...thankfully much of the fruit did ok.

So far except for a lack of nice sunny days, 2019 is looking much better!! In the prop house plants are really starting to take off!! Some of our seedling started out growing very slowly..i  think a lot of them have just been waiting for sunshine!! It is getting full in there ...thankfully many of them have been transplanted in the tunnel...and it should be almost warm enough to kick alliums, kohlrabi, and cabbages out to the honey house. This week I think we are starting broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant for the high tunnel, starting sweet potato slips and more!

In the tunnels, Alex has been busy planting all sorts of goodies; seeding beets, carrots, turnips, radishes, baby pac choi, salad greens, arugula, peas and favas....transplanting lots of different greens and lettuces...it is just about full!!

Outdoors... well, we haven't gotten a really good start yet. Mostly shoveling snow and slogging around in our wonderful mud!! Way back around valentines day we did get a few currents pruned and a big burdock patch taken care of...we are hoping to be able to get out there soon .. seems like I'm really late an getting started with pruning .. maybe its just been a few years since we've had winter hanging on into March!!

Time to sign up for our CSA!! It looks like we will be starting veggie pickup the second week of April this year. Please get signed up so you can enjoy a season of many different farm fresh veggies every week April-November. Please go to www.circleagarden.com   If you have any questions or concerns please call me of an evening{970-249-9725} or shoot me an e-mail,, circlea@skybeam.com

Fun happenings  The snow is melting!! and the maple may be just about ready to bloom.

 

Work days ...our main pushes for March will be getting the trees pruned and getting beds ready for early spring crops

give me a call 970-249-9725 to set up a day and time!!

 

Hope you are all ready to enjoy spring!!

Looking forward to seeing all of you on Saturday!!!

Betsy, Terry, Alex, Jeanne, and all of us here at Circle A