Busy busy on the farm

Can you believe this weather?! It’s feels like June, but we’re not even at the end of March. We’re taking full advantage of this weather, though, and getting a lot of things prepped and ready around the garden. I’ve bought a ton of landscape fabric to cover the garden beds this year to help save us lots of time on weeding, so we’ll be installing that soon. It’s great to have labour-saving alternatives to the so-called “conventional” option of spraying herbicides, since that’s never an option at Our Farm. Mulch is great, and a wonderful soil-saver over the winter, but it’s not that effective in suppressing weeds – landscape fabric to the rescue!

We’ve been busy little bees with seed-starting as well. Mat will have to take some pictures of all the green stuff growing in our seedling room so I can post the pictures for you – cauliflower and eggplants got seeded last night, and that was after I worked outside in the garden until 8:00 p.m…. in March! (Still can’t get over this weather, can you tell?) Much more to come in the realm of seedlings, especially since I’ll be planting a little of this and a little of that every weekend until mid-August. It won’t be long at all until I’m planting a little of this and a little of that directly out into the garden.

We’ll be making more progress on the greenhouse this weekend, taking things step by step. The plan is to have it finished the weekend after Easter, so we can get lots of tasty, heat-loving plants like eggplants, tomatoes and peppers out there a bit earlier in the season and give them a head start on the season. Keep your fingers crossed!

So there’s your update on the vegetable front – on to the animals. I had already mentioned that the first batch of chicks have been ordered, and will be arriving on the farm May 2nd. We’re starting a bit later this year than we did last year, because when we tried to rush things last year and start our first batch at the beginning of April the temperature went down to -10 degrees the first night we got our little peepers! This year, we’re taking it a bit slower and stretching things out a bit. We’ve decided that our first two batches of chickens will only be 50 chicks each instead of 100, since this will be easier to manage while we get into the swing of things with the sheep.

And speaking of the sheep, we’re just waiting for the pregnant ewes to have their lambs sometime around the middle or end of April so I can go out and help with lambing. Then after the moms and babies have had a chance to get to know each other a bit and relax for a month or so, we’ll bring them all out to Our Farm for a fun summer on our pasture. We’re going to build a barn closer to the house for the ewes to shelter in over the winter, and you wouldn’t believe the amount of paperwork involved with building a barn and getting permits from the province and the city these days! On a positive note, we found out that the city doesn’t actually require us to get a permit if we want to put in a well to ensure we don’t overtax our house well with irrigating the garden and watering the livestock. With this being one of the hottest and driest spring seasons on record, we’re going to have to pay a lot of attention to our water needs on the farm this summer.

Bit by bit, we’re getting there. This time of year holds so much promise for the future!

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3rd Planting and a recipe

Good morning everyone!

Today’s to-do list includes planting trays of beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, eggplant, swiss chard, and more onions, kale, and leeks.It’s going to get crowded in the seedling room awfully fast, but it’s such a fun time of year – the first seeding of kale is starting to look fantastic and most of the plants have their first true leaves. Just about everything else has sprouted to some extent or another at this point – even the celery, which is a relief because I haven’t always gotten good germination from celery seed.

Oh, and then it’s time to start prepping the brooder house for the arrival of the first batch of chicks – May 2nd is the arrival day, I ordered them from Kinburn Farm Supply yesterday. I’m going to keep the picture of cute little peepers in my head to make this cleanup a more pleasant task, but I recently saw a really applicable saying that makes me grin: “When life hands you a pile, just smile and say, ‘Whahoo! Fertilizer!'”

I went out a second time this past Wednesday to look at the soon-to-be-ours sheep, taking a veterinarian along this time to look over the flock and make sure everything’s going well with the pregnant ewes as well as just to give them a general checking over. Everyone’s doing well, and we’re really looking forward to hearing the baaa’s all over the pastures here at Our Farm.

To help everyone get in the mood for Spring, here’s a recipe based around a couple of things that will be in your first CSA bins this coming June: Sauteed Radishes and Parsley from the amazing Jen over at Nourished Kitchen.

Simple recipes are the best, aren’t they? All you need for this is 2 bunches of French Breakfast radishes, 2 tablespoons of butter, fresh parsley, and salt and pepper. Wash and trim the radishes on both ends (wispy roots as well as leaves), and once the butter is melted in the pan you simply sautee the whole radishes until they start to brown a bit. Plate the radishes, and garnish with the parsley, salt, and pepper. For anyone who has only ever eaten radishes raw, you’ll be amazed and pleasantly surprised by how mild and sweet radishes taste when they’re cooked.

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Things are starting to grow!

So of the 11 trays that were seeded six days ago, we’ve already got almost a full tray of kale sprouted, and two half-trays of different kinds of cabbages are sprouted as well. The spinach and parsley will take a bit longer, and the onions and leeks will take a fair bit of time so I’m not expecting anything from them yet.

Tomorrow, I’ll seed the first tray of lettuce.

Anyone want to bet that by the time we get the cover on the greenhouse, we’re going to be wall-to-wall seedling trays in the farmhouse? :)

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