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Hutten Family Farm Newsletter for Sunday Mar 18, 2012

     I guess I'll start by saying that I know its been a while since the last newsletter. After returning from vacation in February I have had difficulty communicating in a way that is interesting, clever, or funny. I think it is the time of year when we are really busy with spring work and my mind is elsewhere. It actually takes a fair bit of planning this time of the year to get ready for the season ahead. Almost all the seed orders are now in and we have started thousands of seedlings in the heated greenhouse. Two of the coldframes that had overwintered greens in them have been emptied. We have incorporated mushroom compost into the soil and have replanted them both to hakurei turnips, radishes, baby pac choi, russian kale, and lettuces.
     I spent a few days in Gander, Newfoundland just over a week ago. I was asked by the Newfoundland and Labrador Horticultural Council to come and give a presentation on season extension and the use of high tunnels ( we say 'coldframes'). It was a really interesting trip and I met a lot of great people. I think it is fair to say that Newfoundlanders are superior people to non - Newfoundlanders.
     With the weather warming up this week I'm getting real excited. We will be seeding our first crops outside in the next couple of days. Last year we seeded the first crops outside on March 23. The year before it was the 28th. Previous to that it was always in April. Ten or fifteen years ago I thought that April 20 was a good date to start. I cover all the early plantings with floating row cover to increase heat and protect the seedlings from insects (flea beetles). This does enable me to plant earlier although the real difference is the amount that our weather has changed. I tell some customers to keep driving those SUV's and I'll be growing avocado soon. The changes are actually quite scary when you consider that I have only been farming for about twenty-five years. I'm practically still a teenager.
     Just in case it's interesting; I'll list the seeds that we will plant outside this week. We will seed spinach, swiss chard, radishes, spring turnips, many Asian greens (brassicas only), several types of kale, several types of beets, carrots, peas, snow peas, snap peas, lettuce, green onions, and arugula. All of these seeds will be covered with row covers and sand bags to hold them down. This is why I'm skinny. This is also why I have a sore back and I complain a lot.
     Until the new plantings of green vegetables are ready (five weeks ?) we will be stuck with the standard three winter greens; spinach, micro mix, and arugula. All three greens will be in the CSA boxes this week along with a couple little cucumbers again. The little cukes are locally produced in greenhouses but not by us. There will be a few pears in the boxes this week. This looks like the last week for pears until the new crop in the fall. We still have some parsnips in the field which I hope to dig and put in the CSA boxes but it might not happen this week since I've got other stuff to do.
     Have a good week.          ted

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