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Spring, Not So Fast

Oh My! 

It has been a little chilly in Michigan! Michigan is where my oldest son and his wife live. My advice: “try and stay warm, son!” And as much as I miss him, I am not really interested in visiting anytime soon. However, we have been a little on the chilly side in the mornings and a little on the warm side after lunch around here.

As a farmer, I am asked about the weather quite frequently, especially now that we have had such a mild winter. For the record, there will be no “working the soil” ‘til it’s time. It is so difficult to fix a muddy mess that I have learned to be patient and wait for the soil to “speak” to me. There is a certain look to the land, a feel in the air, and an activity in flora and fauna that announces the Spring and the time to farm. 

Of course, I am referring to working outside and not in the greenhouses. For the greenhouses we try and anticipate an earlier or later Spring so we can time the plantings of our lettuce transplants. There have been years where we have planted 3 or 4 successions at once, and others where we have had to compost a couple thousand plants because the ground was too wet to plant. And no reasonable weather opportunity to plant was coming, either. Those plants made for some expensive compost! 

One year, I ordered a small planting of 4 trays for an early February planting in the greenhouse. Imagine my surprise when I received 40 trays. That was an expensive “0” to have added to my order. Thankfully, we had a funky February and we were able to work the ground and literally mud them in. We had the earliest lettuce of anyone that year. Let’s just say there is a reason that vegetable farmers don’t plant lettuce in February, unless it is in the greenhouse! 

We have learned that there is a time for everything, sowing and harvesting included. We will wait, maybe push the envelope a little earlier this year, but not much.  

We have just about finished pruning the fruit trees, and good thing, because they might wake up early this year. And our greenhouse is full of garlic greens, which we will be harvesting in the near future. Think green onions, only they are garlic. I will share more about the impetus behind that crop at a later date. 

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Your Farmer and Health Activist,