Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spring Crop Field Tour

Here are the strawberries as of early March. These are the Chandlers, the June bearing, first to produce crop....not far down the road the main season strawberry will be planted. I think that one is Seascape, but I'm not sure. The Chandlers here look well! Well weeded, healthy growth habit and just a tad of recent damage by the lights frosts of recent nights.

I reported similar findings last season about this time. These flowers look good to me, but I did see some frosted browned berries that had been working their way to production. This is not Santa Maria, the strawberry capital of the nation that is covered in black plastics and anti-fungals. This is brisk and risky Sonoma County small farming and I think we are doing a darn good job all things considered. Strawberries will return before you know it and we are spoiled with such a lengthy season of sweetness.

The early asparagus spears have also taken a small hit with recent ice layered nights. It is the tiny tender tips that were just poking out of the soil that may now never produce a quality spear. There will be more though...just be patient as the season and the crops cooperate, it will come.

Fava flowers! These are beautiful and do we ever give them due attention? This stage is appreciated for it's cover cropping value...when at the flowering stage fava plants have fixed the maximum amount of nitrogen to their roots and this is the optimal time to turn them under for soil fertility. That is, unless you are growing them for the precious beans. A few weeks off still, the favas are flowering now and fruiting soon.

Overview of just-seeded spring crops.... Yes, it is tough to see much. What you have here is s somewhat crusted soil from all the rain. The beds were hastily prepared between constant wet periods this spring, grassy weeds were turned under, but still visible and present as they did not have time to break down entirely. Despite the uneven seedbed that tiny seeds love, the germination of recently sown seeds had been a great success so far!

I have not yet visited this region of the farm with Wayne or Lee so it is up to my informed imagination about what these crops may be. I know this is one of three things. Radish, mustards or arugula all come up quick and have this similar characteristic appearance. Likely all three are out here someplace.

Here is the spinach, impossible to miss as it waves it's long cotyledons (first true leaves), welcoming a new round of greens. Let's hope the slugs don't get a glimpse and munch it all away before we get to harvesting.

Tiny lettuce. Looks like the heirloom black seeded simpsom variety to me based on the color, but who knows. Salad will return to the farm stand selection soon.

Snap peas! Grown year-round on the central coast, our winters are more challenging. Timing is important to miss the hard and killing frosts that can wipe out a fall or spring planted pea crop. Let's cross out fingers this planting succeeds to maturity so we can all indulging in some sweet snap peas.

And finally, the other sweet pea crop...the floral and scented display that I stumbled into right next to the cardoon near the parking area out front. It is now easy to find as Pablo installed trellising for the successful sowing of sweet peas. I was delighted to find my favorite flower crop had been coming to life all winter long and I had no idea...this should put on quite a show for early summer.

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