Back in the Fields

February 26, 2017

 

Spring is fast approaching! There may still be a snowfall or two in our future, but the recent bout of mild weather has drawn the crew back into the fields, where the usual late-winter projects await.

 

Last week Donna, Steve, and I finished mulching the garlic with leaves.  The garlic shoots were approaching three inches tall in some places, so the job was completed just in time. Had we waited much longer, we would have risked damaging the shoots with the weight of the wet leaves. Now covered with 6+ inches of mulch, the garlic will retain plenty of moisture—and the upper hand over any weeds—all the way to July.

 

From there, Donna, Judy, and I moved onto the blueberries. Mature bushes eight years and older must be pruned every year to remove damaged and diseased wood, promote good airflow at the ground level, and ensure a healthy ratio of new to old wood. Pruning blueberries requires patience and a careful understanding of bush structure and development. Our concentration wasn’t aided by the Old Bethpage Village’s heritage turkeys, who wandered over and proceeded to get underfoot… apparently we were more interesting than the barnyard. Fortunately, Kobi was on hand to herd them back home.

 

Over the next few weeks we’ll focus on spreading manure, moving Donna’s chickens back into the fields, and removing the stalks of last year’s plants to make way for new growth.

 

Meanwhile, back home in the greenhouse, the onions, leeks, and scallions are germinating. In another week we’ll seed the kale, chard, and beets, and by mid-March we’ll be planting peas outdoors. In addition to all our usual vegetables, this year we’ll be trying snow peas in the spring, shallots in the summer, and parsnips in the fall. As always, feedback is welcome!

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