Countdown to the 2016 CSA Season!
We are a few days from our planned first CSA distribution of 2016!
We have been battling inconvenient weather at the farm this spring Y’all – lots of rain has been really holding us back from making monumental progress. However, these past few days of sun shining and wind blowing has helped the saturated ground to dry up and we work hard to get as many plants in the ground as possible before the next wave of weather arrives.
We are resilient and will keep working to get a bountiful harvest to your table!
Weather & Planting
At the beginning of the season we discuss in the membership agreement that our members share in the risk of unpredictable weather conditions affecting the growing season. This has created a challenge for the farm to get rolling with planting seeds and transplanting hardened off plants. We start growing our transplants in the beginning of February and successively throughout the season to keep an even flow of vegetables for our members. However, when we are faced with adverse weather conditions, planting comes to a stand-still. We check the soil, if it’s too wet we can’t plant and same with transplanting - we take care of the plants in the greenhouse until the ground is ready. In extreme cases we have pushed back the start date for share deliveries but we’re hopeful this cold snap and rain will allow for more productivity and no delay will be needed.
Why is wet ground bad for seeds and transplants?
When we directly sow or plant a single seed in the field for example, we create a small break about an inch or two deep depending on the seed, place the seed and cover it for germination. When soil is over-saturated, opened and closed or ‘worked’ it can badly compact it. Compacted soil leaves little room for water and air to penetrate, water cannot effectively drain and makes it extremely difficult for plant roots to move through the soil. Once compacted, it will take many years to rebuild a healthy soil structure so the best course of action is to completely avoid it all together. Although it is hard at times like this, it’s a necessity to know the ground conditions and cooperate with the weather or it can turn an entire season on its head quickly.
Fun Facts about Our Farm
Farming is good in all regards, don’t believe all the crazy articles online, talk to your farmer! We are all trying to reach a common goal - feeding our community! - and how we take care of our ground and plants is going to be different from other farmers too. That being said, we have been receiving a lot of questions about our farm, what we do and how we do it all - and we love getting these questions! We feel a responsibility to educate our members and those interested about farming and particularly about our farm. We feel like this section would be good to address some of these questions, so here goes...
One question we've had asked is about being organic. To begin with, our farm is not organic and we do not have the USDA organic certification. This does not mean that we don’t share similar practices and certainly does not mean we are reckless with chemicals or fertilizers either. Our farm has GAP Training Certification and 6 generations of farming experience that has gotten us to this point today. GAP or Good Agricultural Practices is a 3 level program done with The Kentucky Department of Agriculture, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, and the Kentucky Department for Public Health. They have joined together to ensure that Kentucky producers are focused on utilizing safe techniques and inputs on all levels of the farm to fork food chain. When a farmer utilizes GAP principles in their production it means they are proactively taking steps to reduce the possibility of producing unsafe produce and meat products.
In addition to the GAP Certification - On our farm, we believe that a healthy living soil is the key to growing nutritious vegetables. We focus on composting, mulching, no-till, and cover cropping to sustain the micro-organisms and organic matter in our fields. Broken down compost is our beginning fertilizer for the season, so this helps feed the organic matter, helps to break it down into our already rich soil and feeds the root systems. No-till is a type of soil conservation farming method and we do not plow the ground & we pile our mulch about a foot deep to warm the soil and keep the weeds at bay instead of using plastic. This provides excellent erosion control, conserves moisture and it builds up that organic matter below the surface – promotes biodiversity in and around the soil – fungi, earthworms & more!
We're excited for this season and working hard to make it a good one! Thank you!