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.
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.
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 :
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.
Now that we’re well past Lamas day it feels like things are changing quickly on the farm. A lot of tension has left, the list of things to do that grew twice as fast as we could do them has steadily shrunk day by day. This past weekend, I couldn’t think of a pressing task to complete, and it was an odd feeling–but then I remembered that the pepper plants, being bore to the ground by the weight of their own fruits, needed immediate stakes to raise them back up. Either the weeds are slowing down, or my attitude around them has changed to one where I just don’t feel like we are locked in close pursuit anymore.
The best part of now though is the endless harvesting. We did our first big carrot pull last week, and its just the beginning.
Finally, the wait is over. Cherry tomatoes have arrived and the bigger varieties are coming on fast. Eggplants are ripe and the first peppers are ready to be savored–not just the green peppers, but based on the refried beans I just made, the jalapenos are in as well. I feel like this is the moment of summer I dream endlessly about, pretty much starting March 1st, and it always seems sudden in its emergence.
Never a lack of things to do. We have been working hard, whenever the rains have relented, to mechanically cultivate and hand weed. No point in letting the weeds take over. Easier by far to get them out when thy are young.
Another important project has been to keep up with the application of approved organic pest controls to minimize crop damage from insects. We always scout first, then use the correct product. Many of the sprays we use are bacterial diseases of insects. Some just interfere with feeding of the insect, or make it hard for them to molt. All for a better organically grown product.
We have had to go back over many plantings and replace plant nutrients that have been carried off by the rains. Overall, our efforts have been sucessful, and we are delivering freshly picked kale and chard to Hunger Mountain Coop 3 times a week.