Farm Focus: The Day in the Life of a Vegetable Farmer…

A Note from Farmer Kristin:

A day in the life of a veggie farmer…Munched on red cabbage

As I show up to the farm the air is cold and crisp. It’s the first blue sky I’ve seen at the farm for several days and I’m excited to see some evaporation in action. We are so grateful for the rain and it will benefit us all season, but it’s also easy to find myself thinking- “Enough, already! We have so much work to do!” The rain creates SO much mud, and so we’re already falling behind on winter planting and pruning in the orchard. But we sure can’t complain and I’ve used the last few rainy days to finalize my seed orders for the summer.  Browsing through the pages of vibrant summer vegetables is so mesmerizing, I find myself zoning out on a stunning striped green tomato. It’s the middle of January and we have summer planting on our mind. We’re building more permanent garden beds to house the tomatoes and peppers, and figuring out how to maximize our irrigation efficiency in the vegetable field. We’re also getting started planting seeds earlier this year. We purchased heat mats for the greenhouse, enabling us to gain 10-20 degrees needed to get those seeds germinated. An earlier planting would allow us to maximize the plants’ use of winter rains. Tomato plants with a head start can stretch their roots many feet below the surface, chasing winter moisture deeper and deeper.

I quickly water the greenhouse and check on the chickens, then I head out to the vegetable field. As I arrive, I see a whole row of purple cabbage munched, leaves and tops of broccoli plants missing, oh no! The bite marks look sharp and my co-farmer suggests the rabbits are to blame. Those buggers are hard to deter, we’ve tried using white fabric, a type of row cover, to keep them out. However, while the row cover protects against the bunnies, it also serves as a hideout for the gophers, they can eat to their hearts desire, staying hidden from the hawks. Sometimes it feels too taxing to keep up with all the animals trying to eat our veggies.  Once we combat one, another creeps along. But I suppose I can’t blame them, I love nibbling on a sweet brassica leaf, too.

Next I head to the greenhouse, to work with a few others to fix the greenhouse roof (It was damaged in last week’s high winds).  Construction projects are another great way to use slower winter months, because once Spring hits we’ll be way to busy for extra tasks. We’re curious what the rest of this winter will bring, and we know that before long, the trees will be flowering and the fruit will be right around the corner.

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