April farm updates…

You’d hardly know it was April today:  overcast, temps in the mid-30s, hard rain now and again, and this morning, some lightning, thunder, and hail.  Hmmm…  Well, no worries…spring is springing, though slowly…

Daffodils on the verge near the farmhouse

The rubarb is coming up, too.

Last week, the day came to do what is officially the nastiest job on the farm.  I sighed, shook my head, put on my rain pants and rain coat, grabbed shovel, hoe, and buckets from the barn, tied a bandana around my face, and proceeded to clean a winter’s worth of chicken poop out of the gals’ coop.  Here are the results (18 bucketsful, give or take!):


Heavy, smelly, and gross…all these things, yes…but I tried to get every last scrap of the stuff because it is such a valuable ammendment to the soil.  We’ll let the stuff hang out for a bit until we determine where best to put it.  Last season, I think most of it went onto the future broccoli beds.

I had a great time at this past Saturday’s Portland Winter Farmers’ Market.  I went down armed with eggs, freshly-dug carrots and parsnips, and a whole mess of greens (spinach, kale, red mustard, salad mix, and vitamin green) snipped from the resurgent plants in the back of the greenhouse.

Red Russian kale

Spicy red mustard greens...get 'em while they last!

The greens went fast, folks, and they’re running out.  Sonya will be attending the market again this coming Saturday with the last of them.  We have to mow down the rest soon to get those beds ready for this season’s plantings.  If you can, go see her and get some greens and roots at the Maine Irish Heritage Center on State St. in Portland from 9 am until 1 pm.  That will be the final installment of the winter market, actually; on the 30th, we’ll be setting up in Deering Oaks Park for the 1st outdoor market of the season!

Our biggest news this week is the arrival of our 2011 apprentices, Andrew Trepanier and Christina Spurling.  They arrived on Saturday and have been getting settled in upstairs.  (Lydia has been very curious about these new people in ‘her’ house…”Where are they?  What are they doing?  Can I go see them?”)  We threw them right into the thick of things this week, too.  On Monday, they spent the day inside the greenhouse with Sonya sowing seeds and potting up tomato plants.  Yesterday, we had a marathon day of root digging in Field 1.  Andrew and Christina dug the rest of our wintered-over carrots and parsnips while I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned over at the wash station, amazed that so much food was coming out of the ground after that long winter.  All told, we now have 5 bins of parsnips and 11 (!!) bins of carrots in the cooler…it’s like fall all over again.  And those roots are sooooo sweet…  Thanks and welcome, Christina and Andrew!  We’re so glad you’re here!

Andrew and Christina get a greenhouse lesson from Son

Lydia lends a hand

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