spring, move out, go forth

Spring’s on, full speed ahead.  The grapevines are budding, the peas are winding out their tendrils, and the chokecherries are a buzz with a buzzillion pollinators. The apples have lost their pretty petals, the plums are fading, we’re feasting on the first asparagus. The mass exodus to the field from the greenhouse has begun; napas, bok choi, lettuces, mustard greens, kale. Here is a photo update of things in motion, in disarray.grapes lettuce garlicOne of the types of kale we’re growing (of six total) is a variety planted from seed saved from our very first gardening adventure together six years ago. We picked up the kale as starts at the farmers market in Santa Fe from a woman who sold duck eggs, herbs, and art work made out of turkey feathers. Having not kept track of the true variety name, we’ve been calling it Mu’s Blue, after our friend Mu who hosted our first garden plot. Mu’s Blue has been with us so long, these plants are almost like family. planting out kalesplanting out mustardsThe first batch of broilers have also transitioned from the brooder out to the small tractors. We’re keeping these guys close for a bit, so we can more easily shelter them from the cool evening temperatures (and ever-threatening snow) while they get their feathers on. They’ll head out to the larger tractor in the orchard in a few days.chicken tractorsSeveral of our hens have gone broody. There are no roosters in the flock, so this behavior is all for naught. Because they stop laying eggs when they get broody, we’ve been scooping them up and tossing them out of the coop every time we’re in there. Lately, three of them have decided that there is strength in numbers and they piled up together in one nesting box to thwart us. Ridiculous.hen and broody birdsNews from the greenhouse: Jerm found a really rad parasitoid wasp in the spinach bed last week (Ichneumonidae). These wasps don’t sting or bite, they are good guys. Good in that they consume pollen and nectar and lay eggs in other insects. When the eggs hatch, their young/larvae develop inside the host insect, eating the insect host from the inside as they grow. The incubator insects are aphids and caterpillars, beetles, scales, true bugs, and flies. Welcome to the farm, friend. Hoorah for biodiversity.wasp seeding spinachThis has been our first spring using soil blocks and we’re really happy with them. The starts look great and transplanting is easier – both on us and the plants. We pulled out the last of the greenhouse spinach bed this week to make way for radishes, carrots, and cucumbers. We harvested 50.75 lbs of spinach from this bed over six weeks! Also, and lastly, we found a spinach leaf the size of Jeremy’s face.

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