We planted our Asparagus three years ago. Watching it grow and establish over the years, without being able to harvest, was a test of patience. Asparagus is a perennial that will last over 15 years if taken care of. This year we can start harvesting these lovely spears. I am always looking for signs that the soil is waking up and it is time to plant. When I walk through the forrest to get to the farm I notice when the onion grass starts popping up. Has the dead nettle come back? I listen to birds chirping and look for tree buds swelling. One of my favorite items on the farm is overwintered kale or collards. As they go to flower they produce delicious leaves and edible flowers which I call “raab”. Watching the Asparagus poke through the ground has been very fulfilling and this year we can harvest it. A quick check about the normal harvest date in New Jersey says that an early harvest date would be April 23. Normal harvest dates are through the month of May. Looks like Spring is three weeks early.
There is so much excitement in the air when the first seeds go into flats in the greenhouse. It is inevitable that something needs to be fixed as we start up the greenhouse. The first challenge was triumphant. The fan in the heater was shaking the whole unit. I took a part some pieces and tried tightening up some bolts to no avail. I called the manufacturer and he told me to first loosen the spacers, realign the spindle of the fan, and then tighten with the correct tolerance. After two attempts I fixed the heater. It felt great. Rolling with a bit of confidence I started up the closed loop heating tubes that warm the root zone of plants on our greenhouse tables. I have done this before, however for some reason this time I over looked a valve to shut off to properly bleed the system of air. Since there was air in the system it was not functioning properly and it appeared that hot water was coming from where cold water should be, and vice versa. I called the plumber that installed it and told him that it might be piped backwards. Kind of strange thinking considering it has worked for the past 4 years. The plumber came over and showed me the step I was missing. We shut the correct valve, bled the lines of air, and all of the sudden it worked. It was fortunate that the plumber and I have always respected each other so the bill was for a couple dozen eggs. It is really important to have people that will help you when you run into problems. It is even more important to always treat people with respect, especially those that deserve it, because it will come back to help you when you need it. On opening day, after the problems were fixed, we had two chefs, one writer, a nurse, and two farmers beginning the cycle of planting seeds into flats so we can have vegetables to feed our community. It truly takes a great community to gather around food to keep us all in balance.