Hello Farm Friends,
This spring at Sol Flower Farm has certainly been interesting. Battling with wet fields one week and having to irrigate the next made this spring full of surprises and forced the flexible farmer to bend even further. We started off the spring with rain, rain and more rain. As with many farmers across North America we had issues entering our fields to plow, disc and plant. If you weren't aware, working the fields when the soil is to saturated can cause major soil compaction and disturbances in the natural biomechanics of the earth. With that in mind, the moisture in the earth at the beginning of the season caused some issues with timing of plow dates, bed preparation and planting. However, as all farmers must, we overcame these issues with some cooperation from Old Man Weather by taking advantage of every possible opportunity to get into the fields and get down and dirty.
Last week we were graced with sun and dry weather for 7 days in a row. Taking advantage of this glorious weather and the break in the spring dampness we got to planting, and in a hurry! Zinnias, sunflowers, status, asters, salvia and millet all went into our flower field by our lovely greenhouse so we can offer the earliest summer color to brighten up the days and your homes. We were able to plant four beds of onions of all different varieties, as well as, a bed of three varieties of lettuce and beds of fennel, chard, radicchio, beets and carrots.
In addition to planting during the much needed break in rain we had an opportunity to fire up our new plastic mulch layer. Trevor, Jay and Andy were hard at work for a full day inspecting and figuring out the dynamics behind the layer and formatting it perfectly for our specific needs here at Sol Flower. Laying the plastic was a challenge at first but after a few attempts we got it down to a science and laid out 15 rows of plastic! The advantages of planting in plastic are countless but to mention a few are: a reduction in cultivation due to a decreased exposure in growing area and therefore a decrease in the amount of weeds, the ability to trap moisture underneath the plastic to decrease the need for irrigation, and lastly the increase in heat at the root level so that plants can put on a bigger fruit set. Some of the crops that we'll be planting in the plastic layer are cucumbers, watermelon, peppers and eggplants. So be prepared for some big, luscious, healthy vegetables.
This week the weather has turned back to its spring ways and has graced us with a whole lot more rain. Decreasing our need for irrigation (good) but postponing access to our land (bad) we have busied ourselves with greenhouse work and preparation for the busy weekend ahead. Our first market is on Friday in Amenia (3pm-7pm) so we are actively gathering the necessary market supplies and preparing to reacquaint ourselves with our wonderful customers. In addition to our first market of the year we will be holding our annual plant sale on Saturday (May 21st) from 9am-4pm. Andy, Hayley, and Jay are busy creating inventory lists of all the available plants for sale, creating labels and designing and putting up signs all over the area. Stop by and say hello.
The Sol Flower Farm Crew