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Hutten Family Farm Newsletter for Monday Mar 23, 2015

     Based on what the weather people are saying I am going to predict that winter is now over. At least mostly. I do not have any memory of a two month period of winter with temperatures always below zero and constant snow. We should see some settling and melting of the snow over the next few days which will at least feel spring-like. 
     Yesterday was my daughter Sarah's birthday. Three years ago I planted an acre of vegetable crops on her birthday. This year I had to use my four wheel drive truck to pick up a couple of her friends who otherwise would not have made it to her party. These two seasons would represent how early or how late spring can decide to show up. It makes for difficult decisions as well. We have started seeding many different vegetables now in the heated greenhouses. I am probably planting most crops a couple of weeks later than I usually would. I am thinking that a best case scenario would have us planting the first field around April 20. That would be a couple weeks later than the average year. I do know that the weather can change and things can look very different very quickly. I also know that the wind chill last night was minus 22, the storm knocked out our power for a while today, and there is about a million feet of snow everywhere. The sun has a lot of power now which is really obvious in the greenhouses. The greens are growing even when the wind is cold outside.
     We grow many types of greens as overwintered crops in unheated greenhouses. Most years would have seen significant production for about a month already. We are only starting to pick any amount of overwintered spinach and arugula. Some of the leaves are showing some cold damage still but it is getting better each week. I would hope that the plants outgrow the damage in the next week or two but I am only guessing. I have never seen the kind of winter damage on leaves in the unheated greenhouses that we have seen this year. The arugula has almost completely repaired itself. We are going to start with a bit of Russian kale, tatsoi, and red mustard soon and they have very little damage. I think I will cover the crops with floating row covers more faithfully if we have another winter like this one. I have friends who do and they have had beautiful quality greens even this year. Even though I'm getting older I can still learn new stuff. I just don't want to admit it.

     Have a good week. Enjoy the milder temperatures.


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