Post by Roger
Trail Ridge Acres
Each month a different FRESH farmer shares their insights about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and in particular their CSA. Our gardening season started in March with the tapping of 20 Sugar Maple trees. Their sap is cooked down outside on a a custom built wood stove. The maple season was cut short by record breaking warm temperatures, but we did have enough syrup for our CSA members. The warm temperatures quickly turned our attention to our vegetable and flower garden, which is like any home garden, just much larger to accommodate over 60 different vegetables and many cut flowers.
Unlike most home gardeners, however, we start the majority of our plants in our house. We start by using a germination mix and plant the seeds in 1/2 inch cubes, putting 25 cubes in a deli plastic container. The seedlings germinate in their small green house and are then transplanted. Each individual 1/2 inch cube is transferred to a 2 inch cube of planting medium. The planting medium is mixed from organic material to insure disease free starts for the small plants. By controlling how our seeds are started and how they are grown we insure that our customers get the highest quality vegetables. Standard 11 x 22 trays are used to keep the plants under lights until it is time to move outdoors.
Meanwhile outside the various areas of the garden are prepared to receive seeds or the transplants when the time is right. This year we have been tempted to accelerate our planting but frosts early in April have already damaged asparagus. At this date we have planted spinach, lettuce, chard, and beets. These vegetables enjoy cool temperatures and will sprout when the ground is cold.
Our CSA has made its first delivery of the season. Root vegetables (parsnips & Jerusalem artichokes), which reach their peak after spending the winter in the ground, were delivered a week ago. Also a handful of chives and a pint of fresh maple syrup rounded off the initial delivery. More deliveries will be made before regular weekly deliveries start in June. Asparagus has started to grow. When enough of this special Spring treat is available, members will get their share.
Check back again and observe the great diversity of CSAs. In the meantime enjoy the Spring and anticipate a sumptuous Summer of CSA products.
Roger & Gayl Stewart
Trail Ridge Acres