Aspen leaves burst and willow flowers enchant us with their perfume. Crocus and daffodils emerge and bloom while poppies sprout vigorous leaves. Honey bees venture farther from their hives seeking nectar. Spring has arrived, and with it comes a flurry of activity on the farm.
Over the last two weeks, ducks, meat chickens, and pigs all arrived on the farm. Nothing says spring like young animals, cute as buttons, growing up into friends. Meanwhile, the teenage laying hens have outgrown their camper and are just about ready to move onto the fields. Here they will be joined by the veteran egg-layers who are entering their last season before retirement. Like all things on the farm, they come and go with the seasons and give back to the land more than they could ever take away.
A few weeks ago, Mike Reid of Paradise Springs Farm helped us plow new ground in the west field below the yurt. As it cut into the earth, the plow blade turned out heaps of dark, wormy soil. The crumbly, silty clay smelled sweet and rich and promises to be some of the most productive land we garden this year. The newly tilled land will serve two purposes. The majority of the garden will be devoted to annual vegetables while a smaller, but still substantial, section will become our perennial garden. This small plot will become a home for herbs like sage, chives, mint, and lemon balm with ornamental flowers to add color and attract pollinators.
On April 9th, the first CSA shares went out. Since then, shareholders have received two more crates worth of greenhouse greens, turnips and radishes, and storage crops. As these crops play out, it is time to transition out to the fields as warm weather and plentiful rains bring the soil to life. The now mature mustards and flowering kale have largely been ripped out, fed to the chickens, and replaced with tomato plants. In the hoophouse, we’ve greatly extended tomato season using “Wall-o-waters” to protect our newly planted cherry and hybrid tomatoes. The greenhouse has taken on a more artful look as nasturtium and marigold provide companionship for the numerous tomato plants. Just days ago, we planted three varieties of basil, adding texture and aroma to the already lush solarium.
As soon as the soil was workable this spring, we began preparing garden beds up in the pig garden (the easternmost field up on the hill past the barn). Since that time, we have planted crops like lettuce, peas, carrots, beets, onions, Brussel sprouts, and cabbage. All the while, garlic planted last fall is taking off, sending flat shoots into the air.
Last week’s sun and a couple days of rain have brought on a dazzling green wave of life, ornamented by the yellows and purples of budding wildflowers. Amidst this backdrop, the farmers of Snowdrift flutter with the spring winds across the property, making sure that the life of spring grows to beautiful maturity by fall.