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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.

 
 

It's Been A Busy Winter

The winter months have been busy at Avalon Farms. Getting things cleaned up from last season, which includes the office (ugh!), is a chore but we feel better when it's done. Not everything we did was routine, however. A new high tunnel was completed and another is on its way, the latest one cost shared with NRCS funds. Norma and Jenny spent most Fridays at the Bronson Hospital Winter market making new friends. We hosted several tours at the farm, which are always fun, but the most interesting by far was through a program for homeless veterans who had completed a work training program for jobs in agriculture. They were from the Detroit, Flint and Lansing areas. Seemed like a really great group of guys, well trained to work in the greenhouse industry. Wish we could hire them all!
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