Colvin Family Farm

  (Pikeville (serving Knoxville, Chattanooga, Franklin, Maryville, Farragut, And Crossville), Tennessee)
A Community Supported Agriculture
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This Week At Colvin Family Farm

Howdy everybody!

I hope that you all will forgive me for putting all of these pictures in here, but I "got happy" with this new DSL Internet connection, and I really wanted you all to be able to "see" how the farm looks right now! Because of all of the pictures, I have less wording (or more like the same amount just spread out)--in this newsletter. I hope that you'll be able to get a good idea of how things are going with this update!

We are having a great early Spring season! We're pretty sure that we are past any damaging cold weather--which is one of Springs two major weather concerns--the other seems to be cooperating better than usual as well--the soil moisture--It's been allowing us enough time for planting, weeding and harvesting! Our produce is mirroring the great weather with lots of new growth--see below for details!

Thanks to all of you for supporting our farm--we hope that you enjoy the Spring--and our produce!

Adam Colvin
Colvin Family Farm (CNG)
www.ColvinFamilyFarm.com


This Week In Pictures!

Getting Ready To Plant!

Here we are getting ready to plant a BUNCH of our Brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, kale etc...) by getting the flats outside near the field. In the background the tractor has a 55 gallon barrel drum full of water to "water in" the plants.

Spinach Bed Coming Up!

After several months of waiting we finally have Spinach coming up (and in great abundance)! Altogether we have more than 300 feet of three foot wide raised bed!

Cabbage and 
Green Onion Beds

A picture of some Broccoli in the foreground, and Green Onions in the background.

Chard Bed

Our Chard is doing pretty well--we hope to have it in our CSA share boxes this weekend!

Mustard

The Mustard greens are doing wonderful!

Lettuce Mix Bed

Our lettuce mix is always a hit at the farmers' market--here is a picture of a 120 foot long bed of it.

Lettuce Mix 
Close-up

And a close-up shot of it (I love our new DSL connection!)

Turnip Greens

Turnip Greens in a bed.

Kale Close-up

Kale close-up

Kale Bed

Our main bed of kale

Beet Greens

Our Beet Greens are almost ready to harvest!

Arugula Bed

The bed of Arugula!


Arugula 
Close-up

And a closeup of the Arugula.

Vetch Blossom

Vetch--this little fellow is one of the best cover crops available! He adds nitrogen and "green manure" to soils which gives a great boost to vegetable crops!


Squash 
Coming Up!

Summer Squashes coming up!

Beans Coming Up!

Snap Beans are coming up too!

Potato Patch!

This patch of ground is full of Potatoes! Right at 3/4 of an acre, it is the largest patch of potatoes we've raised to date!

Blackberries Blooming!

With the blackberries blooming we are almost certainly done with our cold weather! We are tickled as it has been one of the best Springs for vegetable production in years!

Cool Delivery Truck!

This is our new Maryville Farmers' Market vegetable hauler! When you see it it will most likely have lost the pin striping and wacky looking running boards! The only reason we bought it is that it gets 20 miles a gallon and Astros are dependable and roomy.

Better Looking Delivery Vehicle

Practically another Astro, we also bought this little GMC Safari for hauling produce--this one will be used for the Market Square Farmers' Market and restaurant/grocery store deliveries.

Kale In Some Raised Beds

In our raised beds we have some kale growing--it is almost full size!

Cilantro

Also, we have Cilantro coming along!

Dill

As well as dill--hopefully within another week or two we will have these herbs at market!

Chive Blossoms

Our chives are blooming! These are one of the prettiest little herbs that there are! Hopefully we will be able to put these in our CSA shares soon.

Baby Butterhead
 Lettuce

Baby Butterhead is coming along!

Asparagus Popping Out!

It is really neat to watch asparagus poke its head through the ground! This stuff grows fast! These will probably be 4-6 inches (harvestable size) in another day or two!

Garlic Beds

Our garlic beds--we've never raised garlic before, so it is exciting to see them grow! They are already almost calf high! We are watching for the little "scapes" to show up, and will be having them at market when they do!


Market Update:


This week we will be at:

Knoxville--Market Square Farmers' Market (9:00AM-2:00PM)
Maryville--Maryville Farmers' Market (9:00AM-12:00PM)
Farragut--Dixie Lee Farmers' Market (9:00AM-12:00PM)

We will be bringing:

Our Mixed Steaming Greens!
Baby Lettuce Mix
Arugula
Kale
Radishes
Green Onions
Turnip Greens
Mustard Greens
Lemon Balm

We hope to see you at the markets!
 
 

Late April Update


A Blue Heron in front of our pond

I was tickled early one morning last week to be able to catch this picture of a Blue Heron wading through the edge of our pond! We don't normally have waterbirds land in our small pond, although we've had wild ducks, Canadian geese etc.. before. This picture also has a good view of the different colors of Spring showing through--the white of dogwood, red of maple, different shades of green from willow, poplar, walnut, and grass accented by the blue and white of the sky (also reflected off of the pond), but it still shows the drab shades of Winter gray and brown that the Spring colors are slowly covering--it is a beautiful time of year!

Close-up of Dogwood

A close-up of a dogwood blossom--they are a lot whiter and larger than usual this year! The background of this picture is the water from our pond--I liked how it accentuated the whole dogwood branch!

Apple Blossom w/ Bee

This close-up shows an apple blossom with a bee in it. This tree right here was one of the six that we found in an abandoned orchard when we moved to the farm ten years ago.

Apple Blossom #2

I asked momma to judge between this picture and the last one and see which one she liked best--she didn't choose the one I liked--so since I am making this newsletter (mwaahaahaahaa...the power)--I thought that I'd put "mine" in too--notice how there is a leaf centered on the little group of blossoms--how it and those other leaves sticking up and out frame it against the beautiful background of blossoms etc... If it hadn't been for that sentimental bee in the last picture you'd of only seen this picture!



We got our boxes in! The biggest order we've ever made for boxes--collapsed flat they stacked up to fill a full-size pallet five feet high! The order consisted of:
Single Layer Tomato Boxes      100
1 1/9 Bushel Boxes 100
1/2 Bushel Boxes 100
Produce Bags on a Roll 4 rolls of 1,000
Pint Pulp Cups 600
Quart Pulp Cups 250
Quart Master Trays 30
Pint Master Trays 50

 

Making Beds


Getting our field ready to plant is far more than just running through it with a tiller! This shot shows us as we shovel compost from the tractor's scoop into a marked out bed! The boys with rakes come behind and spread it evenly over the width of the bed.

The Beds Look Like This


The beds look like this when they have been marked and compost has been spread over them.

Beds Being Planted


Then they are tilled back in--mixing the compost in and crumbling up the clumps--creating a smooth clean seedbed. You can see in this bed that it has been planted about twenty-five feet in, the rest is blank, to the right is fully planted, and to the left is ready to be tilled in when we need more bed space!

Onion Patch


Our onions have really greened up! When we first planted them they were little brown sticks--they have taken off, and hopefully within a few months will have grown into baseball to softball sized sweet slicing onions!

Watering


It is extremely important on several crops that you keep the top of the soil moist if you want to get even germination--carrots, spinach, lettuce, and beets are very finicky about coming up if they have to try to bust through dry dirt. So, we mist the top of the dirt with watering cans (we have fourteen of them) with water that we pump from our pond. Just this past week we purchased a 8.5 hp gas engine water pump. It will pump water through a 2 inch pipe fast! Dad timed us as we filled two 55 gallon drums and it did it in less than 1 minute! That is a handy time saver!

 
 

April At Colvin Family Farm


Turning Ground

Over the past month we've just about got all of our tillable land worked over for the first time! It is necessary to work in your cover crop well enough in advance of putting in your main crop so that it will compost and add all of the nutrients that give it the name of "green manure".

Turning Sod!

We are loving our new PTO tiller as it cuts the amount of times that we have to pass over the field up to 75%! It works all of the cover crop (and other organic matter) into the soil and leaves a perfectly smooth fluffy seed bed in one pass!

Turning Ground (up close)

Turning ground...you can feel the powerful throb of the tractor, you can smell the indescribably good smell of fresh turned soil, you feel the sun's delicious warmth--with the wind gently blowing around you--you have dust constantly blown into your eyes, you get sun burnt for the first time, when you're finished you are a dusty, sun-crispened, uh "saddlesore" farmer. In short it is one of the most enjoyable chores on the farm!

Planting Onions #1

Another major chore last month was putting in our onions! First we unrolled mulch over a prepared four foot wide bed

Onion Planting #2

Next we piled dirt onto the sides to hold the mulch down

Onion Planting #3

Then we came along with onion plants and slid them through their hole and stabilized them in the dirt.
The benefits of planting intensively in a bed are neat! In four 100' long beds (including paths) we took up 6/100's of an acre. If we had planted in conventional rows we would have covered a full quarter acre--that's over three times more efficient! Watering conservancy, weeding time, and many other things are similarly made more efficient.

Daffodils

Spring flowers are blooming on the farm--tulips, jonquils, quince, forsythia...

Blue Violet

...blue violets, and many other flowers are blooming!

Seedlings

The greenhouse is almost overflowing with young seedlings, as soon as it dries out somewhat outside, we will be able to put out Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Boc Choi, Lettuce, and more!

Momma--& her B'day Cake

Many are the "interesting" things that I've witnessed around our breakfast table, but this Wednesday I got to see something very (very) "interesting". We have a tradition of when somebody has a birthday we'll have a cake & party in the evening, but in the morning we put one candle in a biscuit, piece of toast, or bowl of oatmeal (whatever comes handy) and sing "Happy Birthday". Dad (Mom calls him a big kid) enjoys a joke (I've got a good excuse) and decided we'd use all...all...lets say all of the "several" candles instead of just one! He enlisted Caleb and me (Adam) and we poked candles into biscuits for several hours (just kidding) anyhow when we finally finished lighting them all we sang "Happy Birthday" as we watched the huge conflagration on the table--upon Mom trying to blow them out, we learned that (honest injun' we had no idea before) they were relighting, sparkling candles! After several, several tries (including her dumping a pitcher of water on it) we ended up throwing it out in the yard! Ahh...the joys of farming as a family.

 

I hope you all have had a great month, and we look forward to seeing all of you at the Farmers' Market, or Earth Fest in Knoxville soon!

 

Adam Colvin
Colvin Family Farm (CNG)
www.ColvinFamilyFarm.com

CSA Knoxville, CSA Farm Knoxville, Community Supported Agriculture in Knoxville TN

 
 
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