Finally a bit of snow to help the farmer relax, settle in, read a book, and not feel as though they need to rush out into the sixty degree weather in order to find something farmy to do! I love the snow. The month of March is a long month, brown and wet, oscillating between very cold and slightly warm. Your anticipation for spring is heightened by the returning birds and the mucky thaw. January and February need not be like that. Let it snow, let the trees and muddy ground get blanketed for these months. Let the cold and snowy weather give you an excuse to stay in when you can. Farmers need to take these cold months to recuperate, plan, and relax. Catch up with people they unintentionally neglect during the growing season, check there systems, and try and negotiate their affairs.
For me, I take the winter to work on projects I don’t have time for in the spring. For instance I have been converting an old boom sprayer I bought in 2012 to a compost tea brewer. This will allow me to not only make compost tea but also will help me shlep water back and forth to Snake Hill (our new property) where we don’t currently have another way to irrigate our crops. My buddy Nolan and I inserted a sparger into a 300-gallon tank, ran lines to a PTO-driven pump and I am now building a deck on the trailer in order to accommodate 200 feet of hose with which to either irrigate or use as a foliar, or root-feeding fertilizing wand. My goal is to eventually hook up a gas-powered air compressor to the system so I can use the root feeding wand to inject air as well as compost tea into the soil.
My friend Mark is kind enough to let me come over in the winter and use his welders in exchange for some vegetables. I have been building some equipment for one of my antique tractors to help clear debris from vegetable fields, do some gentle surface cultivation, and mark rows at the same time. These kinds of projects keep me busy and help make my life a little more interesting by having new things to play with every year. Some times my winter whimsy doesn’t amount to much. Sometimes it does!
In regards to some of our other winter time projects Mindy and I are working together on promoting EBT usage in our CSA. We finally got our hands on EBT equipment this year and we are using monies that were awarded to us through a LASA grant to upgrade our market vehicle and promote CSA programs (not just our own) to EBT recipients. We are trying to build a network of community organizations that will help promote the benefits and boons of being a CSA member to EBT recipients in their communities. As you know, being a CSA member helps your money go farther, especially in bountiful years like 2015 (see 2015 Breakdown for details)
Our Winter CSA has been going along smoothly this year, with lots of root vegetables and delicious greens from our greenhouses filling bags. We hope to expand our Winter CSA program next year to accommodate more members. This will be one of the benefits of having more room to grow, we will be able to dedicate more space to long-term storage crops that supply the winter months.
Hope everyone is having a nice (although warm) winter. Enjoy the snow while you can. All the best, John