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Week of May 22

This week the focus continues to be on seeding and transplanting crops out into the fields. We also rescued some very weedy sugar snap peas before they were swallowed whole. We added an extra early pea planting this summer, so hopefully some of those will be ready a couple of weeks earlier in June than usual (the early ones are just starting to flower). The tomatoes have all had their first round of trellising (pruning and tying up tomatoes will be a weekly task for the rest of the summer) … and we just spotted the first green tomatoes starting to form! The propagation greenhouse is finally starting to empty out, and we just have two weekends left in our spring plant sale – the final weekend will be June 4/5. We’ll be bringing out fresh rounds of tomatoes, cukes, zucchini, and summer squash plants in time for this weekend, and the farmstand will be staffed Saturday from 10am-4pm.

The combination of the mini-heatwave over the weekend plus cool nights this week has made some of our spring crops act a little unpredictably, making it harder than usual to estimate what will be available this weekend. So there will be some extra items in the farm stand that weren’t up on the online store for pre-orders. This week we’ll have:

  • curly green kale
  • spinach
  • arugula–this week it’s a little more mature than in the past few weeks, so it will have a stronger arugula flavor! There’ll be more mild (baby) arugula next week
  • baby bok choy
  • cilantro
  • green garlic–pulled fresh before the garlic has started to flower and form a bulb. You can chop and use the whole thing. We pull the smallest plants, and leave the bigger ones to form bulbs. The flavor is a little more mild than mature garlic cloves, but still definitely garlicky!
  • fresh onions
  • green-stemmed cauliflower (this mini-cauliflower is sweeter, more tender, and faster-growing than the more traditional white-stemmed varieties, which are usually grown as a fall crop)
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Strawberry Harvest Update

I don’t normally like to share bad news on here—there’s always plenty of news to share, and I try to focus on celebrating the successes instead. But I know a lot of people look forward to our strawberries—we’ve had people asking for them already—so here goes. Over the winter, we lost the majority of our strawberry plants to voles. The plants looked great last fall, but when we uncovered them this spring, entire rows were missing, with vole tunnels cruising right down the middle of the beds and every single plant eaten. There are still some plants left, but it’s a pretty massive loss.

On top of that, we got hit by a frost in the middle of May that damaged many of the remaining flowers.

All this to say, we won’t have much of a strawberry harvest this spring. I’m still planning to pick every last berry (the first few are nearly ripe!) but there’s just not much out there. The good news is that most other farms probably weren’t affected by these issues—this is by no means a regional crop failure, so there should still be plenty of local strawberries to get your fix! But I feel like I should apologize up front—we just aren’t going to have many this year.

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Week of May 15

Weather has been all over the place this past week, but the rain showers have been very welcome, and the plants seem to be thriving. Here’s hoping the hot Saturday that’s forecast doesn’t stress them out too much! If you pick up plants at the farm stand this weekend, I’d recommend holding off a day or two to plant them, or at least planting in the late afternoon and watering well so they get a chance to settle in before they have to face the heat. This week’s big excitement at the farm has been our summer employees starting back to work, which has made a world of difference. Tomato plants are being pruned and tied up in the high tunnel as I write this, which feels like a miracle!

Our spring plant sale continues this Saturday. The stand will be staffed from 10am-4pm, and open self-serve the rest of the time. We’ll be restocking basil, cilantro, dill, parsley, watermelon, cucumbers, and zucchini in time for the weekend as well (currently they’re sold out). We are starting to sell out of some of the perennial herbs, so if you want any of those, I’d recommend picking them up soon. We still have lots of flowers to attract pollinators and beneficial insects to your gardens (including tithonia/ Mexican sunflower, which wasn’t quite ready in time for last weekend). And we’ll be bringing out more peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes in time for the weekend as well.

Saturday at the farmstand we’ll also have ranunculus and snapdragon bouquets, plus lots of spring veggies (mostly the same selection as last week, with the addition of some very nice scallions). This week’s veggies at the farm stand will be: beautiful spring scallions, spinach (first harvest of outdoor spinach this spring, and it’s looking great!), salad mix, baby kale mix, mizuna, arugula, bok choy, cilantro & dill.

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Week of May 8

It’s planting season! Here on the farm, it’s been a big week of transplanting, with more tomatoes going into the high tunnels, and potatoes, lettuce, bok choy, napa cabbage, and more going out into the fields. Feel free to walk around the farm Saturday while the farm stand is open to see the transition from the high tunnels out into the fields (although, mostly what you’ll see is a lot of white row cover, which we use to protect tender seedlings from frost and insect damage).

If you’re ready to get going on your own garden, we’ll have lots of plants available at the farm stand Saturday (extended hours, 10-4, for the month of May). Plants are also available self-serve the rest of the week. Sometimes the weather does turn around and throw us a few cold nights in late May (or, even worse, cold rain like we got last Memorial Day weekend!) so it’s a bit of a gamble putting basil, tomatoes, and cucurbits (cukes, squash, and melons) out this early. But if you’re feeling lucky, we’ve got them! **We won’t have summer squash and zucchini seedlings ready until next weekend.

Saturday at the farmstand we’ll also have tulip and ranunculus bouquets, and lots of spring greens to eat. This week’s veggies at the farm stand will be: spinach, salad mix, baby kale mix, mizuna, arugula, bok choy, broccoli rabe, Swiss chard, curly kale, cilantro & dill.

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Week of May 1

This delightfully drizzly gray day is perfect weather for transplanting seedlings, which is just what we need after a couple of relatively dry weeks (less than half an inch of rain in the past two weeks, according to our rain gauge)! Things have been quite busy around here–the usual spring mix of seeding in the greenhouse, bumping seedlings up into bigger pots, prepping beds for planting outside, and transplanting. Fortunately at this time of year most of the weeds aren’t doing much. Our high tunnel tomatoes are almost all in the ground now (but we recommend waiting at LEAST until the middle of the month to plant tomatoes outside). Hoping to start harvesting tomatoes a few weeks earlier this year–it’s never early enough! They’re interplanted with scallions and some fast-growing flowers to maximize the use of the coveted high tunnel space.

This week at the farm stand we’ll have lots of fresh spring greens spinach, salad mix, baby kale mix, arugula (lots!), baby bok choy, full-sized bok choy, broccoli rabe (finally lots!), Swiss chard, curly kale, cilantro & dill. Plus bouquets of tulips and the first of the ranunculus (including some exciting new colors this year). PLUS, our plant sale will take place every Saturday this month (with self-serve availability during daylight hours the rest of the week). This week’s plants will include a wide variety of culinary herbs and cold-hardy leafy greens, as well as some flowers to attract pollinators and beneficial insects to your gardens. Heat-loving plants like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and cukes will be available starting May 14 (but honestly, they will probably do better if you can wait until May 21 or 28 to plant them outside).

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Week of April 17

This past week has brought almost two inches of rain, some glorious sunshine, and one chilly night (had to cover up the strawberries to protect the flowers from freezing). There still isn’t too much growing out in the fields, but inside the high tunnels it definitely looks (and feels!) like spring.

The farm stand will be open this Saturday from 10-2 with the first harvests from some of our spring plantings! You’ll notice that they’re more tender and the flavors tend to be milder than they would be on more mature greens–especially noticeable with things like arugula. Next Saturday (April 30), we’ll be selling seedlings up at the annual Plow Day at the Wilbraham Community Gardens (unless it’s raining–can’t plow when it gets too wet). It’s always a treat watching the teams of draft horses plow the garden–stop by if you can! Then, starting May 7, the farm stand will be open every Saturday with fresh veggies and seedlings to fill your gardens. We’ve got lots of herb, veggie, and flower seedlings started…. including 15+ varieties of tomatoes!

This week at the farm stand we’ll have: spinach (lots!), salad mix (lots!), arugula (lots!), nice chunky bok choy, broccoli rabe, cilantro, flat leaf parsley, Swiss chard, curly kale (first harvest of the spring–not as tightly curled as it’ll be later in the season).

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Week of April 3

Spring peepers are peeping, buds are swelling on the trees, and new growth is starting to appear on perennials growing outside. Thanks to the regular rain that we’ve had this spring, most of our fields are still too wet to plow, but we’ve been able to start planting outside anyway as a result of beginning to transition towards no-till growing. In the short time that we’ve been farming this land in Wilbraham (this is year 8!), we’ve seen both extreme drought and record-setting rainfalls, both of which were devastating to many of our crops. No-till farming practices can help to build a more resilient soil structure that absorbs water during rainstorms, is more resistant to erosion, and retains more water during dry periods. Instead of plowing each field at the beginning of the season, we are establishing permanent beds that are heavily amended with compost. Whatever weather 2022 throws at us, we are hopeful that the changes we are making will help!

This week we’ve planted spinach, sugar snap peas, carrots, salad turnips, and radishes outside, and other spring crops are progressing nicely inside the high tunnels. The ranunculus are juuuust starting to bloom (not enough to make a bouquet yet, but they sure are beautiful!), and we’re even seeing a few buds on the tulips, so spring flowers are not far off. Our propagation greenhouse is getting into full swing, filling up with seedlings for our fields and for our plant sale, which will start at the end of the month.

This week at the farm stand we’ll have: spinach, curly kale (small leaves, but mature kale texture), Swiss chard, baby bok choy, cilantro & flat-leaf parsley, purple & green daikon radishes