Friday, April 9, 2010

2010 produce sales begin!

This morning, I sent out my 2010 vegetable subscription plan. I'm hoping for 40 subscribers who will receive a large vegetable package every second week from mid-June/early July until October. The deadline for applying is April 30. I will be selecting subscribers based on efficient delivery routes, with the same 20 subscribers receiving vegetables every second week. I hope that from the many households that got to try out my vegetables last year, 40 will be willing to commit to me and the farm for a season. I've got my fingers crossed!

Technically, my first produce sales for this year were for my lamb and goat's meat, which I delivered to the GTA the Monday before Easter. I had very little to sell (only 2 lambs and a goat after all), so the cuts went quickly. I hope everyone who bought roasts are enjoying them. I know I've been quite impressed by their flavour and tenderness when cooking them at home, but then, I've always enjoyed the gamier meats. I made a stew from goat ribs, potatoes and onions that was originally supposed to be a curry, but had such a delicious aroma at just the salt and pepper seasoning stage, that I left it the way it was, which was super tasty!

Looking out my window right now at some heavier than expected snow flurrying, I find it hard to believe that I'll be picking stones from my field and rototilling it over the next week of dry, sunny days. This time last year, I was just getting settled into the farm, doing lots of cleaning, unpacking, and renovating of the large upstairs room. I hadn't even fully decided which field to plant into for that year. Amazing how much can change in one year :)

This year, for better or worse, I'm planning to till my field (either myself with the rototiller, or through a tractor disking by my neighbour) and then sow the majority of it immediately to dutch white clover. I really didn't like how uncovered the field was last year and am hoping that my small seed germination issues will resolve this year since the soil is better prepared than last year. By seeding the clover first, I run the risk of having that overrun future vegetables. But since I won't be planting out the majority of my transplants until mid-June, I'm hoping that I can establish a good cover of clover, keep it mowed, and then just rototill the strips I'll be planting into, a week or so before planting. I'll leave a section of the field clear for the earliest plantings of sugar snap peas and direct seeded salad greens, spinach, radish, etc. I may regret making this decision, but for now, it feels right. I'm sure I'll be second guessing myself horribly as I stand on the field with clover seed and my handheld seed spreader next week.

My lower field, which will be put into vegetable production next year as the current field gets a rest, is looking great as the red clover that was planted with oats and barley last year, is coming back beautifully. Its establishment will keep the field relatively weed free, fix nitrogen into the soil, and provide lots of flowers for bees and other pollinators. Around August, the fully grown red clover will get tilled under, and a winter-kill crop will be planted so that the field will be ready for vegetables next spring.

I'm quite excited by the prospect of a summer hotter than last year's rather frigid temperatures. I will definitely prepare myself to set up irrigation drip lines, but the prediction of early heat means I might actually have harvestable crops before July! I won't get my hopes up too high, but I can't help looking forward to eating that first super sweet sugar snap pea. Aah, crunchy tastiness!

Below, I've listed the various vegetables that I'm hoping for throughout the season. I don't expect them all to be successful, but I can have faith :)

Early summer (June/July) Mid summer (July/August)
Beet greens Beans
Black cherries Beets
Bok choy Bok choy
Chard Carrots
Herbs Chard
Leeks Herbs
Radishes Kale
Rhubarb Kohlrabi
Salad greens Leeks
Spinach Lettuce
Spring onions Onions
Sugar snap peas Spring onions
Wild raspberry (black caps) Summer Squash
Tomatoes
Turnips


Late summer (August/September) Fall (September/October)
Beans Beans
Beets Beets
Bok choy Bok choy
Cabbage Cabbage
Carrots Carrots
Chard Chard
Cucumbers Cucumbers
Eggplants Eggplants
Herbs Herbs
Kale Kale
Kohlrabi Kohlrabi
Lettuce Lettuce
Napa cabbage Melon
Onions Napa cabbage
Peppers Onions
Summer Squash Parsnips
Tomatoes Peppers
Turnips Pumpkins
Spinach
Summer Squash
Tomatoes
Turnips
Winter squash

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