What I learned from today’s Field Walk

Today was the first real field walk of the season. Frankly, the ground has been covered with snow before today and we just couldn’t get out in the field. There are so many reasons to do a field walk, but the biggest is that you get a real idea of exactly what is happening on the farm, in the moment.

Today there wasn’t too much to see. There were still patches of snow, lots of mud, and cover crop starting to green up. The compost piles were finally thawed, and that’s good because people are starting to ask about buying it.

A couple key takeaways:

  • The overwintered spinach looks great. Other than the section of cover that blew off, its green and growing. Hopefully, we can get in there later this week and fertilize and cultivate. Interestingly, the spinach that we harvested last in the fall is for the most part alive as well, especially the Space and Red Kitten varieties. It had no cover on it. I’m still trying to figure that one out…
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    overwintered spinach under covers

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    fall planted and harvested spinach that’s hanging on for dear life

  • I hate voles. They created significant damage in row covers as well as some of the overwintered crops. Granted it was a hard winter for them but why did they have to create holes every 2 ft in that brand new cover as well as destroy some overwintered cropping? Agrid3 and bait boxes do a wonder on these guys. I’ll have to set those up as well.
  • New drainage is working excellent. I am disappointed that we won’t be here longer to benefit from the money we put into the drainage project, but for this spring it will be great. No ponding in the lower fields and a 8″ deep flow was making its way into the river with no erosion. It does need overseeded with more grass, since last year’s take was a bit sparse.
  • Scallions are bulletproof. Two different locations, different dates and soil types, survived. Not looking forward to cleaning them (overwintered scallions usually have lots of dead lower leaves on them) but it’s amazing how hardy they are. No covers, even in -25 F, and they live. We need to clean them up, fertilize, and row cover them to push them along.

Hope you have enjoyed this mini-tour of the farm. I usually do 2 a week. One early in the week to get a feel for what we’ll be harvesting, and a Friday walk to come up with the task/work list for the week. That gives me a few days to get supplies, plan out the daily schedule, and organize our efforts.