It is almost CSA season on the farm, and we are hard at work putting new seedlings and seeds into the ground, weeding crops, and getting ready for sales.
This spring has been the wettest and coldest spring we, and many other Maine farmers, have ever experienced. Crops we planted in early May have sat cold and shivering, not being to get any nutrients from the soil because of the cold, soaking wet soil. Some cold-sensitive crops that were planted in hopes of warmer weather have even rotted in the ground.
Luckily, we started extra seedlings in our greenhouse and were able to plant back-up crops for all of our customers. We are now looking at starting to sell our vegetables at least one week later than we usually do.
We consider ourselves lucky that we got in our field in May. While we aim to start planting the end of April, we know that some farmers were not able to plow their field (because of wet and flooding conditions) until June. A tractor compacts the soil and does damage to the soil ecosystem, so it is smart to wait until a field dries out before plowing and prepping a field for planting. Even a person walking on wet soil can be harmful!
The first crops we planted were potatoes and onions, followed closely by broccoli, kale, chard, beets, carrots, peas and other spring favorites. Some crops, like potatoes, take three to five months to be mature enough to harvest. Other crops, like baby spinach, are ready in 30 days.
Beets usually take 2 – 3 months to be big enough to harvest, but our beets have been just sitting in the ground and not growing because of the weather, so we aren’t sure when beets are going to be ready! This is the case for many of our crops. This year is just a “wait and see” kind of year. It is hard to estimate crop readiness when none of the crops are behaving like they usually do!
We hope to have chard, green onions, radishes, carrots, salad mix, and maybe even peas our first CSA, but we can’t make any promises at this time.
Farming is such a risky business. Weather can boost crops and sales or destroy an entire season. We thank you for sticking with us and being our customers, through the good and the bad. This season started a bit late, but will hopefully shape up to be a wonderful summer.