CSA, covercrops, and other beneficials

Over the past few years, Jeremy has been seeding flowers (deep rooted plants, legumes, medicinal herbs, wild flowers) seemingly everywhere, this has successively become evident in the orchard and along the borders of the vegetable fields, all around the house and down the driveway. This spring we are finding columbine, dame’s rocket, bee’s friend, bachelor’s buttons, borage, coneflowers, sunflowers and salsify.  Clumps of chamomile are coming up in the chicken yard (dunno. must have come in with some batch of feed?). Phacelia under the crab apple.  Woolly verbena and white campion in the orchard. Dame’s rocket over the lamb skulls. Bees are stoked. Farmers too.We just celebrated our first CSA harvest of the season today. It was a sunrise sauna in the field this morning, our thermometer reaching 95 degrees by the early afternoon. For CSA members: the weekly newsletters will be posted online here, this week’s is here. And don’t forget to peruse our farm community cookbook for additional ideas and inspiration. Thanks for joining us this season – we’re looking forward to spending the summer with you all!

We’ve been learning heaps these past couple months about early greens production, rapidfire succession planting, and how to manage all this early harvest and marketing along with our already brimming spring planting schedule. There are still some wrinkles to work out with timing. farmstand late mayrye vetch covercropLast week we pulled out a rye and vetch cover crop that we had seeded last fall between the garlic beds. We laid the cover crop down in-place as mulch and immediately seeded winter squash into those beds. In about a month, we’ll harvest the garlic, right as the squash needs space to expand. If we get our act together, we’ll seed buckwheat in the open garlic beds hoping it will winter-kill before going to seed. As part of our no-till management, we use straw bales as mulch for most of our beds, but we’re excited about growing our mulch on-site. And in doing so, feeding our soil microbiology for more of the year and reducing an off-farm input by not having to purchase as many straw bales.We just learned about crab (flower) spiders. We’ve seen these around previously, but after witnessing lunchtime featuring a main course of one of our beloved pollinators, we had to look this up. This spider perches on flowers like she’s sunning herself on a beach towel, her front crabby legs wide open in some sort of ultra-still warrior pose. When an unsuspecting native bee/honey bee/butterfly comes by the flower to sip nectar, the spider, ninja-style, seizes the bee or fly and bites into it, paralyzes it and then eats it. *wince* YET. Healthy apex-predator populations are indicative of a healthy ecosystem. They play a vital role. Like bears and wolves and purple sea stars. So we love this little guy. Even though she’s eating our bees… and it feels a little like having an orca on our penguin farm.

Speaking of which… we were getting anxious, noticing aphids on a few of our fruit trees. But then looking down at the understory, below our plums, we found a glorious nursery of ruthless, voracious lady bug larvae. Anxieties quelled.



2 thoughts on “CSA, covercrops, and other beneficials

  1. How on EARTH do you guys manage to post such captivating blog posts (um, NINJA SPIDERS!???) with killer photographs — (THE BEE PHOTO IS INCREEEEDIBLE!) — in the speedy, busy summer months!? I got dizzy just thinking about rapid succession planting, on top of the already-brimming schedule. Hot damn. I LOVE THIS POST!! I LOVE YOU GUYS!! I LOVE CYCLE FARM!! You guys/this is Inspiration Central right here. Yesssirreee. <3

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