Farm Seasons

March – June

spring

Springtime on the farm is a lot about preparation for the summer months. First we have the orchards. In the past three years we have planted over one hundred new fruit trees in addition to the one hundred or so we already had. This means a lot of pruning. Our friends Chris and Marilyn Whelter come every spring to help us tackle the task.

pruning

We are also busy planting,  planting, and more planting. The seedling house is filled with all of our summer starts, and the fields are full of new spring and summer crops. We plant a second round of onions, and at least two fields of potatoes.

springplantingAnother spring activity is checking the beehives again after the cold winter months. We are still building up our hives and hope to have honey for sale in the years to come. For now, it’s just for us.

bees

This is also the time of year we harvest our hay field to stock up on food for our animals for the months to come. Hansel uses a 1984 Ford bailer to  bail the mix of White oats, red oats, beardless barley, beardless wheat and vetch.

hayfield

 

June – September

 

CollageSummer

Our crops are a green oasis amidst the brown summer grass. These are the dry months where we hardly see rain, but we produce a large amount of fruit and veggies. Our well, along with springs that run for part of the summer keep us afloat for the season.

Tomatoes are one of our big hits. We grow several varieties including heirlooms (The purple Cherokee is our favorite). Also in the fields are sweet and hot peppers, cucumbers, several varieties of summer squash, winter squash, pumpkins, basil and strawberries.

We have an orchard that produces peaches, apples, nectarines, pears, asian pears, jujubes, cherries, persimmons and an occasional fig. In addition, we grow grapes (wine and table), blackberries, nectar berries and raspberries.

We love growing food, almost as much as we love eating it. Here is a typical summer sandwich around here.
sandwich

We take advantage of our hot days by sun drying a good portion of our crops on large metal screens. No other ingredients or dehydrators, just food in the sun, and we’re able to make pounds of sun dried tomatoes, apples, peaches, grapes and our new found favorite, onions.

sun drying

This is also the season when our garlic, onions and potatoes are ready to be harvested. This usually requires extra help from our community since each crop is pulled all at once. These large harvest days are usually the most fun, especially since they end in feasts that feature the crop that we just pulled.

Harvests

 

September – December

 

fall

Fall is garlic planting time (along with a lot of other things) but we really love our garlic around here, so this is always an exciting process. It’s the last time our hands smell like garlic until we harvest it in the summer.
Also planted around this time is kale, broccoli, carrots, chard and onions. Our salad greens thrive in the cool of the fall.

saladgreens

Fall also means wine grape harvest! This is incredibly exciting for us (not for you, as our wine is not for sale). Our vines usually yield around 350 lbs of cabernet grapes.

cabernetgrapes

 

December – March

 

winter

Aaah the wet season. This means it’s safe to pull out the chainsaw without fire danger. We take full advantage of this by doing our part to maintain the forest on our property. For the past few years we have really upped our game by removing almost all of the underbrush on our eighty acres, in addition to clearing dead or damaged trees. We cut firewood for customers, feed any live branches to our animals, and chip the rest for mulch. Pretty efficient if we do say so ourselves.

treemanagement

This is also the time to prepare and seed our hay field, along with our pastures. The fields that are not being used for crops this season are amended with nutrients like calcium and magnesium, and are seeded with cover crop.

mulching

Although we focus attention on forest management and seeding fields, this does not mean we’re not growing and producing all winter. Our spinach actually thrives in the cooler weather, along with our broccoli and kale. We also plant carrots and onions giving them a long time to bulk up by early spring.

wintercrops