Mid February is an important time on the farm. It is the point in the season when the light starts to wake a few things up. Not much yet of course--we still have feet of snow on the ground and temps can still dip below zero.
But there are a few changes starting to take place in you look closely and there are a few micro climates we keep an eye on. The south side of most buildings will at this point begin to collect more heat and get ahead of the rest of the surrounding area. Evergreen trees have a particularly magical ability to collect and hold heat under their south sides.
And then of course, there is the inside our various unheated high-tunnels and greenhouses.
Even though there is several feet of snow on the ground (check the lines on the inside of the sidewalls!) inside these houses the temps can start to get decent when the sun is out. And some of that solar energy is absorbed by the soil and slowly released during the colder nights. Together its just enough to wake some things up...barely!
Anything that is hardy and alive will now begin to start stretching. Notice there are some greenish flecks here in there--those are mostly super hardy weeds. But it also includes the barely alive spinach plants on the right. Below is a close up--check the small inner leaves!
The lettuce on the right side of the tunnel is toast. But the spinach might recover some!
Growth is slow at this time and it will all be ripped out and replanted not too long from now. But before that, there we will probably snitch a few harvests for our own dinner table. This spinach is particularly sweet and delicious!
Another reason I like to check on these things is to learn how these things all play out so that in time we can extend out production to some of the cold seasons and know just how different crops respond and what conditions and timings they will grow with.
Paying attention now and observing closely is like an investment of knowledge that I'll be able to pull from later! Pay attention now and it will pay a tenfold later.