The Depot Farm

  (Corfu, New York)
Growing good food, Naturally!
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Planting Update

  Just to update everyone on progress in the fields. The first and second plantings of our spring crops are in and growing. The soil is still too cool to start beans or corn but we are making progress as areas dry up to where we can work the soil and add crops. The rain has been tough, an area dries out and then it rains all over again and it turns to muck.

  The plants in the greenhouse are looking fantastic; not leggy or spindly, nice and green and healthy looking. While the brassicas have already been transplanted outdoors, warm weather crops like tomatoes and peppers will stay indoors where they are protected until warmer weather arrives.

  The markets open on the 17th; we expect to be there with spring lettuce mix, spinach, radishes and kale. Asparagus and chives should round out our offering for the first week. A little light in selection but still a welcome fresh treat. Our CSA members are still on schedule for their first pickup on June 1st. 

  This week promises to be warmer and drier, so we have much to get done. The fence is strung and in place; row covers protect the early crops from possible frosts and have helped in shedding the excess rain so the plants haven't gotten soggy and stressed. While still having a lot of plantings to start in the greenhouse, the better part of this week will be spent in the fields. Flat seeding will get done in the early morning while it is cool then we move outdoors to continue planting. I guess that's about it for now, but we hope to see you in a couple of weeks at the market.

 
 

Not So Early Start

  It seems spring is trying to get here, but 1 day of 50's then back to snow showers and rain in the 30's make it look like it is taking it's slow, sweet time getting here. Normally we would have already planted early lettuce, radish, spinach and the first peas of the season, but it looks to be a couple weeks late this year. The weekend forecast is for 60's, so we will try to plant some in the areas we prepared last fall; much of the ground is still too wet and cold to do anything with.

  Indoors, the seed starting is going full bore, we starting 2nd plantings of brassicas, late onions, head lettuce and some later peppers and eggplant. The first plantings are growing great, not too leggy, and I just gave them a boost of nitrogen by watering with diluted fish emulsion.

  While I am getting the itch to be growing and planting outdoors, I will patiently bide my time. I know that in a few short weeks I'll be complaining about the heat or rain! I can't wait!

 
 

Timing is Everything

  Many times we face feast or famine when we plant crops. With proper planning you don't have to eat broccoli for 2 weeks straight because all your plants were ready all at once. With a CSA and retail sales at the farmers markets, we need to spread out each harvested crop over a long period of time in order to maintain a variety of selection. Planting or starting plants every 10 days works to ensure a continuous supply over a period of time. 

  We estimate our amount of each planting by taking the number of shares x 2 weeks harvest per planting. We then add 10% for seed/plant failure and then multiply by 25%. This covers any pest damage or crop failure while still giving enough production for surplus. By replanting every 10 days we have a new crop ready to pick when the last one is finishing up. If one planting is lost to weather or bugs, the subsequent planting are usually not. Conditions and weather are always changing and you increase the odds of success.

  On a smaller scale for the home gardener, you can still use this timing plan to extend your harvest of certain crops. For example: if you want to harvest 1 broccoli per week for 8 weeks, instead of planting 20 plants at the same time, start 3 plants every 10 days to spread their mature harvest over a longer period. Later plantings can be used to replace early lettuce, pac choi, or spinach in the garden saving space and re-using the area. This system works well with all but a few "day length" sensitive plants (like peas). It will help you gain a larger variety of fresh food to eat over a longer period without the waste or over supply!


 
 
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