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  (Climax, Michigan)
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The Long Winter of 2014

April 4, 2014 and there are still piles of snow scattered about the farm, some still almost waist deep where it was piled from plowing driveways. It isn’t even close to being warm, but we’ve had a few sunny days of late and we are grateful for that! It’s amazing how quickly a little sunshine will warm up the greenhouses and high tunnels.

 

Normally we grow salad greens all year long, but it didn’t turn out that way this year. Lots of things froze solid during the really cold and windy stretches in January and February. The cold that seemed to go on forever. Even though Larry kept the wood burner well stoked, we still lost the lettuce crop once.

 

Starting the greenhouse tomato crop was delayed by several weeks due to the cold and a forecast of continuing cold for several weeks. Rather than risk losing the crop of 2,000 tomato plants, we delayed seeding as long as possible and still have tomatoes for the summer. Fortunately, temperatures, although not warm, are much more moderate now than earlier in the year. And the snow has finally melted so that we can get to all of the high tunnels. At one point the snow drifts were as high as the peak on a couple of them. Even for us, that's unusual, although we get a fair amount of snow here in SW Michigan. We shouldn’t have to worry about soil moisture this planting season! We do have plants started for the high tunnels but soil temperatures are not where they need to be just yet for transplanting. Maybe a few more sunny days and we’ll get there.

 
 

Spring 2011

Well, no one can say that the spring of 2011 wasn’t interesting. Cold, yes. Wet, yes. Without sunshine, yes. As I am writing this, the sun is shining and the temperature today is expected in the “really hot” range, and with a good southerly breeze blowing, but still, the gardens are too wet to work. Kevin and his friends got them plowed on May 1st, and we haven’t been able to work in them since. If you will recall, it had been rainy the week before that and it just happened that he was able to get in them then, with rain that afternoon. Add insult to injury, another round of thunderstorms is predicted for this afternoon. The bad news is that we’ve planted nothing in the gardens to date. It hasn’t stopped raining long enough to dry out so that we can plant. There are lots of plants waiting for their “forever” homes in the gardens, and wanting to be moved out of the high tunnels, but if we get another round of rain today, they won’t get moved anytime soon. Our soils compact to a cement like substance if they get worked while wet, so we’re careful not to even walk on them while wet, let alone run a tractor and equipment over them. The good news is that Larry and Hank did find a narrow window to plant a couple of batches of sweet corn early on, and the field corn got planted, actually about the time soybeans are usually finished being planted. Not many soybeans are planted yet. Typically, both are totally planted by mid-May. Field crops are a lot less cold sensitive than vegetable crops.

 

Cold? Yes. Wet? Yes. Without sunshine? Yes. Just another day on the farm? Yes. Are we up to the challenge? Yes. We just keep telling ourselves that.

 

 

 
 

August is a Wonderful Month

We think August is one of the best times of the year. Not only is it fair time in our county and many of those nearby, August means really yummy things from the gardens, like sweet corn, watermelon, muskmelon, and tomatoes. It also mean yummy things from the orchards like plums, peaches, nectarines and early season apples. 

If there is one less than wonderful thing about August, it is the time of year our college student employees start leaving to go back to school. Our crew this year has been great and we'll miss those three college football players with their muscles. They had great attitudes, too! Even after working in the heat and dirt all day they would go work out for another two hours or more! School resumes for our high school student employees on the Tuesday after Labor Day. The rest of us just stay here! Even after all the students are gone for the season, we still have at least two months of heavy work load left. As if there is ever a time when the work load isn't heavy on a farm. There is always work to be done, regardless of the season. Not complaining though, at least we have jobs!

 
 
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