Its been a busy few months here at Red H Farm. In truth, with such a dry winter the bustle never really ceased. Few and far between were days trapped indoors, with cups of hot cocoa, movies and the knowledge that there was absolutely nothing else I ought to be doing. Instead, sunny, dry days meant a winter of field prep, construction projects and the constant feeling that a real winter might not ever come and perhaps I should be filling the greenhouse up, technically dead of winter or not. Of course the nights were still coooold and some rain did eventually come. Now, here we are in April and the temperatures have already topped 80, the rain clouds seeming to peter out as quickly as they came. A peculiar year one top of several peculiar years past…a sense of wonder around what the future holds.
But for now – Spring, and the many adventures it brings! The new field we planted necessitated a deer fence to keep those marauding critters at bay. Every once in awhile I catch them staring at me through the fence or having snuck onto the property if the gate wasn’t properly fastened. Their sights are set on the delicacy of baby seedlings just taking hold – but I guard them like a sentry and hope to stymie any serious breaches of the farm walls. Of course the deer fence does something – but not a lot – to deter the flocks of turkeys that roam the hillsides. When the occasional tom finds his way over the fence to dust himself in newly seeded beds I must put the fear of Farmer into him….this usually entails me running, arms flailing wildy, hands clapping, yelling and yodeling and giving the neighbors the overall impression of insanity. But, let me tell you, those turkeys go flying, they tell their friends, and after a time I find they skirt the property on most occasions. Not so easy a task, keeping out the song birds and crows. Its been a chore, trying to protect beds of pea seeds, rows of salad mix and the fresh greenery of transplants. We’ve taken some hits, but must nevertheless appreciate the birds for their constant work keeping bug populations in balance, scratching through to feast on soil grubs that prove detrimental to crops. Those we’ve dealt with most significantly this year have been cutworms – small grey caterpillars that cut each seedling off at its base before moving on to the next one. They can take out an entire field in a matter of weeks and have kept me up late many a night, armed with a headlamp and a deep sense of vengeance. Looking for signs of their feeding – damaged or cut down plants – digging them out, and saving them for the chickens has left me sleepy and satisfied.
Meanwhile, some exciting changes have come up this year. We’ll continue our CSA home delivery (there are still spaces available!) and we’ll continue working with Gypsy cafe – both wonderful things for the farm. But, this year, we’ll finally begin selling at the Sebastopol Farmers Market every Sunday! Our first market will be April 27th. We’ll bring some of the early spring crops – radishes, arugula, kale, microgreens and head lettuces. Come June, things should be overflowing! The CSA will begin and the market stand will be filled with broccolis, cauliflowers, carrots and so much more! We’ve been spending the spring experimenting with some new crops that will hopefully thrive in our cool corner of the county including four different varieties of radiccio, specialty head lettuce like Frisee and Little Gem and several new varieties of carrots. And then of course there’s the usual 15 or so varieties of cherry tomatoes, slicers in all colors and juicy melons to come this summer…This market is such a welcome addition to our work at Red H, we couldn’t me more pleased to join the crew!
Whether its through the CSA, the farmers market or a few Friday dinners at Gypsy Cafe, we hope you’ll come on board and enjoy the fruits of MUCH labor out here at Red H Farm! 🙂