In an effort to better serve our community we are now offering home delivery options for members within our delivery zones. We will be delivering to Kennett Square and West Chester on Wednesdays and the Route 30 corridor on Thursdays. There is a $5 fee per delivery, but your delivery charge can be shared if you and a neighbor both have an order that week. Also check out our pick up points shown in blue below to avoid the charge.
Our cherry trees 4 years ago
‘Planting a tree is having hope for the future’
– Zac Heacock, in the field every Spring.
A tree, a garden, a flower, a shrub planted today reflects our optimism for tomorrow. We have been riffing on the idea for more than a few years and it’s an idea certainly worth sharing in these times. Let’s all make tomorrow a little brighter and enjoy the day we have by planting a garden. We are offering advice, compost, amendments, and plants for pick up in a socially distant fashion for no charge. Please reach out by email to schedule a stop in or phone call, together we can lean-in to uncertain times.
Here’s a plan. Find a sunny, not wet spot, 3 feet wide by 10-15 feet long. Using a shovel, scrape off existing sod (the top 1-2 inches) and pile it up in an out of the way spot. This will be added back after it has broken down and is a great ingredient for home-made compost. Next, stop by our farm with a couple of totes and a shovel and load your own compost from our garden mix. Spread the compost over the bed and add any homemade compost or well rotted material and spread evenly. Use your shovel to aerate the existing soil and lightly incorporate the compost by inserting your shovel fully into the ground and pulling back to lift, but not turn the soil. Work your way around the bed, repeating about every square foot. Next week come back to the farm and pick up some cool weather plants, sets, or seeds and a tote of top dressing. You will be set for a spring plot. Then, start your summer plot repeating the same process, having it ready to plant early May.
For success: Keep it small. Keep it close. Get good plant starts. Keep improving.
For folks with pots or an already started garden we’d be happy to guide you too.
Sow peas, spinach and onion sets this week. We also have a few two foot pine trees ready to plant, please give them a home.
February 22nd is a big day in a farmer’s timeline. It is the beginning of the 11 hour day and the threshold of when plants seem to wake up and begin to grow. To celebrate, we get to work sowing spring crops (kale, chard, parsley, celery, beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce) in flats in our greenhouse. Not everyone has access to a greenhouse, so we are planning a spring plug sale, featuring our cool weather favorites ready to plant the first week of April.
There are plenty of things a gardener can do in preparation for the growing season so that when the weather settles and the conditions are right you can hit your planting windows. I’ll be sharing some ideas for making your garden experience fruitful. If you have specific questions call me at 913-775-3711 for some advice and if you really want to create a plan, I’d be happy to schedule a visit to your garden in March.
This month find time to make homemade compost and cut back you perennial herbs and grasses. There is no wrong way to make compost. I would encourage any gardener to look around for appropriate ingredients and use a sunny afternoon to mix up a homemade batch. One easy place to find some bulk is in annually mulched beds. Many folks just layer wood chips on each spring, creating a mound of well-aged compost just underneath. So before you freshen up your mulch around the house this season, rake back the top layer and shovel out the carbon-rich soil that has accumulated around trees and shrubs. You will be sure to find lots of soil life and great ingredients for homemade compost. Add old shredded leaves, last season’s grass clippings, last year’s potting soil, and maybe your neighbor’s old lawn maintenance byproducts. A pile just 3ft x 3ft is a large enough to make a big difference. Assemble this in your garden now and in a month it will be ready to spread.
We are our habits and our habits are our routines, often subconscious routines guided by the system we are a part of. This was my take away after listening to researcher and author, Wendy Wood, during a Hidden Brain Podcast. Wood hits on this idea of ‘friction’ in our daily decisions. Friction, in this context, is the ease in which an action is undertaken. Her big insight is that more often than not, creating a low-friction routine is more important than willpower when trying to form better habits. Basically, we will take the path of least mental and physical resistance. This idea got me to examine a few of our newest habits.
Amy has been using the gym before work. Although it initially took willpower to get out the door, her key to long term success has been in the routine she has created. The gym is on her way to work. She has a gym bag that sits by the door, it has everything she needs to get ready for the day. It never needs to be unpacked except for the laundry. The gym has drop-in classes, nice showers and fresh towels. It has become easier for her to get ready at the gym than it is for her to at the house – less distractions. According to Wendy Wood, her success is in the system. She doesn’t think about working out because there is a class waiting for her. She doesn’t have to drive any more than she already does. Showering and getting ready is easier, away from the tight bathroom and distractions of the household. It isn’t so much willpower as much as she has created a frictionless routine.
We all strive to be better, but so often it isn’t the willpower we lack as much as it is the system we operate in. I hope that you can listen to the episode and glean some insights into taking back your decisions and create a framework that makes good habits easier than bad ones. And speaking of a system that you can bring into your life for the better, sign up for one of our Farm Share Subscriptions and surround yourself with great choices, without the friction.
We are prepping more ground to expand our high intensity, no-till, plant positive approach to agriculture. After several seasons of constraining ourselves to a 1/2 acres of garden space were are bringing more ground into production in 2020. The practice of a land constraint allowed us to focus on using our space wisely and made every plant valuable. This led us to find efficiency in everything we did and left no room for weeds.
To take our model of high intensity agriculture to a new level we are excited to have Martin join our team. Martin spent more than a few seasons at Singing Frogs Farm were he and the team developed regenerative soil building and innovative cropping approaches to their market farm. These practices have made them nationally renowned for the ecological stewardship and agricultural output. With an experienced mind and strong back, Martin bring a fresh perspective and new energy to our fields.
We have gotten our 1st frost of the season this week. The cooler weather sweetens up fall favorites and makes me hungry for big comforting meals. Try roasting or braising any of our roots including radishes and fennel for a cozy meal or side.
Recommended this week
Sweet Salad Turnips (aka hakurei turnips) are easy to love. Also know as hakuri turnip. Try them sliced and eaten with humus for lunch; stir-fried or roasted for dinner. The greens are tasty too. Delicious and nutritious.
HoneyNut Squash are butternut squash’s lil sister. Sweet and nutty, just halve and roast to round out a meal. Their small size makes them great to reheat for lunch too.
Dandelion greens are pleasingly bitter. They can be added to soup (think escarole) or snuck into a sandwich. Of course you can always drizzle a little bacon vinaigrette over them and tell everyone how terrible it is cause you don’t want to share.
Apples. Pears. Asian pears. These pome fruits dominate the fruit options right into the winter. With new varieties coming into production it is becoming easier to find a new favorite. We will be offering Harrow Sweet pears, Yoinashi™ asian pears and CrimsonCrisp® apples from Kauffman’s Fruit Farm. These new and improved varieties have been selected for better resistance to diseases of the Mid-Atlantic resulting in less chemical inputs. They all have superior eating qualities to the old commercial standards. Also a Kauffman’s offering, almost organic Johnathon apples for their reduced pesticide block they have been exploring with Penn State Extension.
Recommended this week.
Broccolini are tender side shoots of broccoli. They are always recommended.
Fennel Gorgeous, aromatic and different. Last week for fennel with tops.
Spinach We are swimming in beautiful pools of spinach right now. Throw me a rope and get some.