Monday, May 14, 2012

Farm News - May 14, 2012

Greetings from Solstice Hill! 

lovely lettuce in the greenhouse

Kelly here, with a bit of an update -- with the warm weather so early this year, the season is definitely getting under way. The first CSA pickup date is June 12, and will continue through November. We will also be at the market in Gloversville and Delmar again this year.

artichoke plants
This week was occupied, as always, with myriad tasks and activities. I am very excited about the mushrooms we started on last week. Although they won't fruit until the fall at the earliest (we may have to wait until next spring), it's always fun to try new things. We have inoculated several logs with shiitake mushroom spores, and will be working on oyster and lion's mane mushrooms as well. The inoculated logs are stacked in the woods, and we are working to keep them moist and happy.

a sea of tomato plants

We have lots of crops in the field. Last week we transplanted the summer squash, corn, and potatoes and seeded some beds of arugula, carrots, and spinach. Already coming up in the field are the peas, which are growing nicely and we trellised this week, beets, swiss chard, parsley, cilantro, turnips, daikon and regular radish, scallions, six types of onions, two types of kohlrabi, two types of cabbage, three types of kale and of course plenty of lettuce!

Coming up on our planting schedule are cucumbers, tomatoes, fennel, parsnips, brussels sprouts, and celery.

We have been working with a new tool, a raised-bed maker, by Nolts. It pulls and piles the earth behind the tractor, then smooths the edges and the top for a clean surface. This raised bed makes it a bit easier to hoe, and the extra inches are good for drainage, while giving the plants roots lots of room to grow. 

a forest of fennel
It takes a bit of time to understand the quirks of any new equipment, and this is certainly no exception. Personally I am enjoying getting to know the tools from their start at Solstice Hill, and really enjoying learning all this great place and people have to teach me!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A New Apprentice

Hello all! Kelly here, the first apprentice to arrive at Solstice Hill for the 2012 season. Melissa will be joining us this weekend. There is, of course, lots of work to do, and we are excited to get a larger crew and really get the ball rolling.

I arrived almost two weeks ago from New York City, where I have lived for the past year and a half. I studied English Literature and Film at SUNY Binghamton, but my love of fresh good food led me down a different path than what my undergraduate focus may suggest.

Spending time in the service industry in New York and working in customer service allowed me to focus my long-term goals. After extensive soul-searching, a future in farming emerged as a likely outlet for my interests and values. Hard work out-of-doors appeals to my body's yearning for exercise and growth, while the constant changes and challenges of agriculture stimulate my mental facilities.

Having been here for just two weeks, I have already learned so much. In the first week, I was lucky enough to witness the complete cycle of plant growth: seeding, preparing beds, transplanting, and of course, weeding... I convinced Clemens to pick a small salad for dinner on Friday night and voila! The farm-to-table loop was complete. Now I am settling in and getting to know the ins and outs of the farm, community, and everything in between.

Solstice Hill is really a beautiful place, and the methods of working with nature provide for near-constant rewards and surprises. I am really looking forward to the upcoming season, and to meeting the people for whom we are growing all of this delicious, nutritious food!