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What's Going On At The Farm... (March 12th)

Ready … Set … GROW!

Let the Planting Begin!

The snow is finally melting, which means it’s time to start planting!

That’s why it was so important to get the greenhouse up and running last week. After installing a thermostat-controlled heating system (a special shout-out to Megan’s multi-talented Uncle Tim who helped me wire it properly) we also added crucially needed vent fans this week. We also partitioned off the planting area which will save $$ by not heating/cooling the entire greenhouse.

Obviously cold night time temps will kill our little seedlings, but a little less obvious is the fact that early season solar energy during sunny days can overheat the greenhouse and also quickly kill tender seedlings!

Root Us On!

All the work we do to set things up properly in the early in the season greatly impacts our ability to provide our members with the very best produce. Why is that?

Every week we spend time in the greenhouse. Carefully planning the workflow makes it easier to move from task to task. This means having tools easy to reach … organizing bins for seed storage … and identifying simple procedures for labeling, moving and watering the seedlings.

Consider this – over the course of the season, we will be planting more than 30 crops with different germination schedules, diverse watering cycles, and varying temperature needs. If we don’t have a clear system in place it can become a logistical nightmare! Especially when there are multiple generations of the same crop in the pipeline. Every team member must know the system! TAKEAWAY => If there is a greenhouse problem one week, it translates into less produce several weeks later. And we don’t want that!

Three Questions

Q1: What are we planting first? A: Glad you asked. We’ve started onions, celery, and parsley.

Q2: Why are they planted first?

A: Because each of those are fairly cool tolerant, but they take longer to mature -- so they will be ready to transplant in the garden (we hope) after the snow is gone and the garden soil is ready. Q3: How many plants do you start with?

A: We will start with 600-700 onions (classic slicing onions), 180 celery plants, and 360 parsley plants.

**So be ready to make yourself some delicious broths when you get your first delivery!**

Assembling The A(braham) Team

Daniel, our garden manager, has already been working “remotely” with Joel for several weeks now – planning and prioritizing the field work. For example, farming on our new property is exciting, but it also means coordinating the various steps we must implement to build up our new garden’s vitality. Even simple (but arduous) tasks like gathering and removing rocks from the soil must be scheduled. If we plan well now, and work more efficiently, we can schedule new projects and better prepare for unexpected crises.

Daniel will be returning to the farm in a few weeks along with Jed, our fabulous bread baker. Before they arrive, we must complete the upgrades to the bunkhouse (finish the insulation, add electricity and a wood stove). It is still pretty rustic, but these things will be a great improvement, and hopefully all those who help us (including the interns who will join us later) will experience an improved quality of life. “Cultivating” a place where they can rest and recharge during the arduous summer months is important to all of us in the Abraham’s Table Farm family.

New Housing for Susan, Karen & Becky

One of our former interns jokingly “named” all of our free-range laying hens – either Susan, Karen or Becky. You can call any one of our 250 or so hens “Susan” or “Karen” or “Becky” and you are right!

Most of the time our Susans, Karens and Beckys are free-ranging in the pasture with plenty of space to hunt for yummy insects and juicy larvae. But they need protection from nasty predators at night. Their old coops are pretty dilapidated, so once Daniel and Jed get here we will be building some brand-new chicken coops for those ladies. These top-of-the-line coops will provide a safe place for 250 layers to roost, and also be mobile so they can forage for food in a new spot every day.

UPDATE: Momma Megan and Baby Beatrice

We're super thankful that Megan is regaining her strength and Beatrice is gaining weight and thriving. They are half way through their “40-day” recovery schedule, with Megan gradually doing more and more. Thank you for your prayers and concern. As for the older girls, they are enjoying more playtime outside – which usually means playing in the mud which also means tracking mud into the house. Oh well, that’s life on the farm. Its fun to see them engrossed in the puddle and mud play.

We really can’t complain. We're excited for spring--it feels like real farming now. We're finally starting to bury our fingers in life-giving soil – not just burying ourselves in spreadsheets and timelines. Phew!

The ATF Crew

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