27 March 2012

First Casualty of the 2012 Season: Baby Broccoli

When I went to sleep Friday night, the broccoli in our greenhouse looked like this:

200 little green plants making up a miniature forest.  Each plant topped with big juicy leaves. 

When I woke up on Saturday morning, this is what they had become:

A desolate wasteland of little stalks sans leaves.

Something (or someone) had snuck into the greenhouse late at night and nibbled the leaves off each and every one of our 200 plants.  I am suspecting a mouse or a suspicious-looking chipmunk that I’ve seen hanging around, but whoever the little bugger is, he has a very particular taste.  He could have nibbled on tomato leaves, swiss chard, kale, or collards.  He could have made himself a nice little salad out of beet greens, lettuce, and chives.  But no…as far as I can see the broccoli was the only tray that was damaged.  

So what is our plan?  Step 1: Replant all of the broccoli and keep it covered with a breathable fabric.  Step 2: Attempt to seal any holes we can find in the greenhouse plastic.  Step 3: Lock the cats in the greenhouse for the night.  

Surprise, little chipmunk…Brittany Hollow Farm is playing hardball this year.

17 March 2012

First 2012 Seeds Sown at Brittany Hollow

It truly feels like spring here at Brittany Hollow Farm, and we are taking advantage of this great weather! We've started planting our early greens, tomatoes, and flowers in the greenhouse.  What a good feeling to see our first kale emerge from the soil!  Summertime is coming...can you taste it?

The first seed up in the greenhouse -- kale!  Should be ready for our first market on June 3.

The Old Farmer's Almanac recommends planting peas on St. Patrick's Day.  We adhered to that age old tradition and planted our first crops directly into the ground today.  We planted green beans, snow peas, snap peas, and fava beans (yes fava beans, made famous by Hannibal).  Some of these things may need to be replanted if the weather turns cold...but we decided to gamble a bit since the weather has been beautiful so far.  Keep your fingers crossed for us!

The peas being planted by Darryl and Debby.
Darryl preparing a field for planting.

Our garlic has grown several inches in the past couple of weeks.  We plant garlic in the fall, which gives it a few weeks of rooting and growing time before the ground freezes.  With the mild winter we had, our garlic has gotten a real head start this year.  We save some of our best harvested garlic each year to plant as our seed stock for the next season. The garlic conditions itself to the specifics of our soil over time, making our garlic improve each year.  This year we also planted some garlic from Montana that seems to be growing nicely here in New York.  How and why did we get garlic from Montana?  I'll save that story for another post...
As of March 17th, the garlic is up and growing fast!