Spring is finally sprung! Good News..how much resignation to crummy weather can one be expected to muster? Good thing we do our greenhouse plantings by the calendar. Greenhouse work makes this time of year more fun Seedlings look to be right on time, starting with onions, leeks, and kale and collards ready to go out in early May. Tiny little peppers, eggplants and tomatoes will be the right size for setting out at the end of May, when our frost free time begins. Greenhouse Sale begins Saturday, May 11th, but check with us if your garden is ready for plants earlier. We will be open weekends 9 am to 2 pm, week days 4 to 6, other times by chance or appointment.
As a new farming season begins and I plan how much work to make for myself, it is time examine the perennial question, “Why bother?” I have a variety of motivations. I want to grow the best food I can for myself and my family. Along the way, I have picked up the skills, machinery, land, markets and community support needed to make a go of farming. It will be a sad day for me when I quit altogether, though lightening my workload looks good. I still worry that the food system we all rely on could collapse at any time. I have had this concern since I started farming in the late 1960’s. It still might happen, and a local food supply will be there only if we build it now.
Working out of doors on a regular basis is a big plus of this job. The people I get to work with, on and off the farm, are a great bunch. I can make a modest income in an honest manner. And I get to go away for part of the winter. Best job ever. The urge to plant is on.
Summer rolls along here , with some great crops coming in. One highlight is the regular supply of our cherry and grape tomato mixed pints. Over 200 pints a week have been sent to Hunger Mountain Coop. Hope you got some! Also from our greenhouses come eggplants, both Italian and Asian types. Out in the field, we are harvesting lots of kale and chard, and have added green peppers to our crops for sale at the Hunger Mountain coop. Our carrots are now available at Plainfield Coop. Cool nights are holding back the heat loving crops, but it is hard to complain too about a cool summer with lots of sunshine and plenty of rain.
Eggplant from the greenhouse
Plenty of green peppers
Lots of people calling about this, so I thought I should say it again. I, too, miss having a big strawberry crop, and all the excitement of having a reason for many people to come here. Maybe we will do it again, but for the present the my efforts are focused on some wholesale vegetable crops for the local coops. What few extra strawberries we have are sent to the Plainfield Coop. No PYO here this season.
I will try to take some pictures and do a crop update soon.
Onward into summer! Lots of good looking plantings are in the ground, doing well with the nice mix of sun and rain, cool and hot weather. There is still lots of planting yet to do. The list seems to have 10,000 things on it. Soil building cover crops occupy about 1/3 of the farm this season.
Well cultivated rows of winter squash
Weeds are very well under control, thanks to both tractor cultivation and lots of hoe and hand work. We have a small patch of strawberries, not quite enough to keep them in stock at Plainfield Coop. The big kale planting has kicked in and we are shipping to Hunger Mountain Coop several times a week. It is hard to find the time to sleep 8 hours, these nights are so short.
Cherry and Grape tomatoes, pruned and trained
We still have lots of garden starts available at our retail greenhouse. A full selection of varieties of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cabbage family, onions and leeks, summer and winter squash, herbs and annual flowers. We are open weekdays 4 pm to 6 pm, weekends 9 am to 2 pm. Other times by chance or appointment. Give a call or an e-mail if you are coming a ways looking for something specific. 802-454-8466. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our in-the-ground greenhouse plantings are almost all in. The cherry tomatoes are getting established, and soon will be trained to their strings to climb. Lots of yellow and orange peppers set, and Asian and Italian eggplants.
Outdoors, kale and chard have taken well in this cool and moist weather. We are hoping for a sunny day or two so some very necessary weeding can be done. The big green pepper planting is in on black plastic, covered with row cover with hoops to keep the fabric off the plants.
We had a great bloom on the plums, and now are hoping for some nice days for the appleblossoms.
Our greenhouse is filling up with plants for our neighbors’ gardens. This is our 24th year at this. It all started when people came by, trying to buy the plants I was starting for our farm crops. It seemed like a growing market, as more and more people caught on to the fun and satisfaction that comes from a good food garden in the back yard. Growing from transplants just makes it that much easier, as you have a sturdy, right-sized plant, ahead of the weeds and the bugs.
Ready to go out now are pansies, onions, leeks, lettuce, swiss chard, and all the cabbage family. The tomatoes , peppers, and other frost sensitive plants are sized to be ready to go out in another week or two. Melons are not even up yet, as they don’t venture out of doors until June.
The greenhouse is open weekdays 4-6 pm, weekends 9 am to 2 pm. Other times can be arranged with an email or a phone call. Our sale continues through June 8th. Hope to see you here .
We are starting to come out from hiding as the day length approaches 12 hours. We have been busy ordering seeds, and will start heating a greenhouse this coming week. Watch for a post with our 2014 Greenhouse Variety Listing coming up soon. We will open for seedling sales in early May.
Our first seeding includes onions. leeks, celery, celeriac, and herbs. It’s also time to start our earliest plantings of spinach, arugula, and lettuce mix to transplant into the ground in our greenhouses. Several of them received new plastic covers last fall. New poly makes a world of difference in light transmission, and we are expecting to see an big improvement in growth rates.
Other exciting news: We finally closed with the Vermont Land Trust, and Littlewood is now a conserved farm. We are very pleased to make this move towards our community being able to supply food for itself into the future. See this link for more :
Here is a link to a video promoting certified organic produce, featuring Joey and his unreconstructed Long Island accent:
Littlewood Farm crew and worthy volunteers worked overtime last weekend ahead of the coming frosty nights to pull all the squash out of the fields. We ended up with six bins, lower than hoped for but really not too bad at all. My favorite is certainly the buttercup, which is the green pumpkin-y looking squash. They are extremely rich and flavorful, with dark orange flesh. I’m waiting eagerly for them while they cure for a few weeks in the greenhouse. Pulling these squash and the root crops–carrots, potatoes, rutabagas, and daikon radish, are the main projects right now.
September is a rewarding month. We are picking more or less non stop, to keep up with the demand for our produce. The red, yellow and orange sweet peppers are a particularly satisfying crop to harvest. If you are interested in freezing some for the winter, they are easy to process. No blanching needed, just chop and bag. Let us know f you want us to save some seconds for you. These peppers have a blemish and need a trim, but otherwise are the same peppers that cost a lot at the store. 10 pounds for $20. Call 454-8466 to order.
All are welcome here at Littlewood Farm for an open house to share our excitement over the installation of solar panels to generate all the electricity for the farm. We will have a presentation by folks from the Sun Common, the company we worked with on this project. We really support of the idea of extensive, small scale solar electricity generation as an alternative to fossil fuel and nuclear power plants. Snacks will be served.