SPRING NOTES FROM THE FARM

4/10/2014

Greetings!

Spring is palpable here at Round the Bend (RTB). There is a slightly frantic energy this time of year as folks buzz around the farm attending to the needs of both the plants and animals. Lambing season is upon us. Six lambs were born in just the past two weeks. The grass is green and growing and RTB Farm Manager Geoff, anticipates moving the animals to pasture next week. I got a taste of what rotational pasture management is like when Geoff and I decided to move some of the pigs up to the vegetable garden to turn over a field covered in a carpet of chickweed. Farmer Glenn set up the fence; two electrified strings just a couple feet off the ground. A little zap when they touch the lines is just enough to keep them from roaming all over the farm. A pig’s snout is the perfect tillage tool. For an animal capable of clearing out the prickly understory of a forest overrun with brambles and invasive vines, this annually cultivated vegetable field was hardly a challenge. Within 5 days they had uprooted and eaten much of the chickweed in a 2500 square foot area. I think the tomatoes and melons will be happy here with the added fertility the animals have supplied. The incorporation of animals into the world of vegetable growing is new for me and I must admit, I am enjoying working up beds for peas, early roots, and greens next to the snorts of pigs who are also happily at work.

New life abounds in the vegetable world as well as the animal one. In spite of a cold spring making propagation in an unheated hoop house a bit of a challenge, beds have been formed for broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower transplants, ready and waiting for this latest cold snap to pass. Potatoes arrived this week and I anticipate getting them in the ground as soon as the soil dries down enough to allow me back into the fields.

-Ashley