Cover crops are an important element to our farms soil health. We planted a mix of triticale rye, hairy vetch, and Austrian winter snow peas to fix nitrogen, suppress weeds, and add organic matter to our fields. We seeded this in the fall. When the soil starts waking up in the spring the cover crop takes off and the peas climb the rye while the vetch fills out the ground layer. It is truly a wonderful site when it gets about waist high. We then flail mow it and spade it into the earth to prepare the fields for our next planting.
We planted french breakfast, white icicle, shunkyo, and easter egg radish along with hakurei turnips and lettuce mix in our high tunnel in March. Radishes grow quickly and will be able to be harvested in time to make room for our grafted tomatoes, ginger, and flowers that will be planted soon. Yesterday morning we harvested for the first time this year, picking beautiful radishes, vibrant in color, out of the damp soil. They will end up in restaurants and at the West Windsor Community Farmers Market this May.
The greenhouse is a special place in the beginning of the year. After months of planning and going through previous records on paper the first tangible task of physical action takes place. Planting your vegetable seedlings requires patience, mindfulness, and concentration. Ideally you plant the seed into a soil mix (every farmer has their own source or special blend of materials) at the correct depth, the correct size cell, and nurture it until it goes out into the field. We follow the crop plan to the best we can, but always seem to add a couple beds of a certain variety on one planting and end up without enough seeds on another because of a miscalculation on the seed order. Gathering around the seeding table is a great place to catch up with people, talk of plans for the future, and share techniques learned from farming conferences. The flats of starts begin to fill the greenhouse and the surge of the oncoming season begins to swell. The rhythms of the season begin with the soft sound of water hitting the soil and the cool ambience of whirling fans.