The days are getting longer but our time is getting shorter. Spring came full blown at the beginning of April with a combination of (some) sunshine, variable temperatures that kept us up worrying at night, and of course, rain. This has been the rainiest April that we’ve seen here which has been a mixed blessing and curse. On the one hand we haven’t had to mess with irrigation which typically is a small headache. Adversely, spring has been cooler and our crops are growing slower and having to compete harder with weeds. We’ve got a few things working with us through the cold, wet weather. First, we had no flooding when the fields melted- the soil just absorbed water like sponge. Second, we have about three times as much covered growing space this season because of our caterpillar tunnels.
Food that has emerged and is emerging is coming up nicely and they are all happy sprouts. We’ve seen some impressive germination and growth from some of our cold-hardy greens like baby Red Russian kale and our infamous arugula. The first round of brassicas are in the ground and will be ready in the blink of an eye (figuratively). This season we decided to grow some fun brassicas like collard greens and one of our personal favorites- brussels sprouts! I know that I can’t wait to steam some collard greens and make summer veggie wraps.
With all the excitement of growth and spring, there is the emergence of weeds. In organic systems, it can be hard to maintain some perennial weeds. As agriculturists it is our duty to combat weeds in the most environmentally sound and efficient manner to deter future growth. The farm has two aggressive perennial weeds: Canadian Thistle and quack grass. The two have intricate networks of roots sub surface that spread freely and happily especially in the right conditions. Each year we heavily weed the first 10’ of our 100’ rows of crops because the quack grass creeps about that far into our planted zones. Removing quack is not a joyful or easy task. It’s important that you get as much of the tangled rope-like root as possible, which may be a foot below the soil surface. Our best approach is using digging forks and pulling the roots out by hand. Thistle is ubiquitous here and we just get as much of the root as possible without disrupting plants and try to never let it go to seed which is easy to say in April but harder to say in August with the seasons business increasing each month.
A few more projects are in the work to be completed before CSA begins but we are anxious with anticipation for week one! The countdown is on and we are in the single digits. Our farm share program starts on Monday, May 8th this season- just before our first Kalispell Farmers Market on Saturday, May 6th. Our Saturday pickup farmily members will pick up this weekend at the first market! We are still accepting CSAs for the 2017 season and can’t wait to grow food for our wonderful farmily and our community. Come visit us this summer at the Kalispell Farmers Market on Saturdays and at the Whitefish Farmers Market on Tuesdays.
Cassady, Nathan, & Willa