All posts by newleaffarm

2016 CSA

Friends and CSA Members,

 

Mike and I have been planning the upcoming farm season since the middle of last summer. We began by gathering data, what grew well, what we wanted more of, where we had gaps between plantings, what people loved, what people were not crazy about.

In the slower months this develops from a series of notes, impressions and figures into a concrete plan. We chose what to plant, when, how often, and how much. Crops varieties are paired with number of bed feet. We count backwards from the last possible frost date. The corners of our seed catalogues become worn with frequent flipping through. In the end, I have a series of spreadsheets which tell us what seed to buy and when to plant it. I love forming this plan, holding the balance of the farm in my head and tweaking it until it feels just right.  
Now we begin the subtle dance of enacting the plan, bending it around the realties of temperature, soil moisture, and time. The first page of our seeding schedule has all been planted and checked off. Seedlings have been started in our new germination chamber, moved to our glass green house, and now moved on to the big greenhouse. Seeds we planted in our low tunnels in February are geminating on sunny days, peas, scallions,wisps of carrots, and electric green lettuce
We have a great season planned and it feels like it will be an early one. We hope you will join our CSA again this year and share in all the happenings of the farm. Click 2016 CSA Sign Up for an application! As always, feel free to e-mail or call us with any questions.
 
Your Farmers,
Ellen Poggi and Mike Libsch
 
 

 

NLF Update 7/27

I manage the greenhouse and planting, we both do a share of the marketing, but it is Mike who really manages our weeds.

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Instead of using chemicals to kill everything except our chosen crop, we rely on a broad range of strategies to curb the growth of unwanted plants and allow our veggies to flourish. We use biodegradable plastic and landscape fabric to suppress weeds where we have plants growing now. We plant cover crops and bare fallow patches of land- cultivating weeds weekly, knocking them back each time that they germinate- to suppress weeds where we will grow later in the season or in future years.

Mike has been using our walking tractor a lot, either dragging metal sweeps through the soil, cutting weeds down, or hilling soil up around our crops, throwing the dirt on top of emerging weeds. We use these first methods as often as we can, ideally each week, and have been able to keep most of the weeds in check.

For the last remaining weeds, growing right in our plant rows, we must turn to slower, simpler and more accurate methods. We turn to our hoes and our hands, scraping weeds away methodically or pulling at them sporadically as we see them

NLF Update 7/20

It has been a whirlwind week. A blur of harvesting since I sat here writing last week. Our time is spent working down rows of beans, cucumbers and summer squash. This will only increase when the tomatoes begin to produce and peppers and eggplants will join the line up soon after.

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We also began the first of our bulk harvests with some of our early garlic varieties. They are the first crops that mature all at once and need to be harvested all at once. Last week we pulled up our German Red Garlic and garlic that my sister brought to us from Bulgaria. As the field dries out a bit over the next few days we will continue our garlic harvest. We pull the plants, shake the excess dirt from the bulbs, and tie them in the barn to cure. As they hang, they develop their full flavor and dry out for long term storage. In the meantime we enjoy the mild flavor of the green garlic.

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While we harvest, the summer crops seem to double in size while we are not looking. The winter squash cover the landscape fabric that was blowing away only a few weeks ago. Sunflowers are taller than I am. The tomato plants outside form thick walls and the tomatoes in the greenhouse have almost touched the roof.

NLF Update 7/13

I hear a faint whirring and I see Mike steadily marching along, turning the crank of our broadcast seeder. Arcs of Rye seed fling out in front of him, seeds scatter and fall, coating the bare ground.

In the spring, we plowed three large plots in our new field, more space then we need for the veggies we are growing this season. We ran our disc harrow through two of the plots  until sod broke down and we could plant with beans, tomatoes and more.

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The third plot was seeded with peas and oats to smother weeds and build soil structure and fertility. This cover crop grew thick and lush, pea vines tangling around sturdy oats. We mowed it in before this intentional planting could go to seed and become a weed. I cut paths through the crop with the tractor, tall grasses brushing my legs, the dense walls on each side giving me intense pleasure or pride. The beauty of it was striking, and there was sadness in cutting it down and in seeing the insects and other creatures fleeing their temporary habitat.

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But after waiting a few weeks for the oats and peas to break down, Mike is planting again. Rye and clover will grow tall in place of the oats and peas. Clover will fix more nitrogen in the field and Rye will increase organic matter. New creatures will make the new cover crop their home.

NLF Update 7/5

We do not live alone on the farm. Our focus is on vegetables, we grow plants but we are surrounded by animals every day. We are happier to see some creatures than others.

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We have watched the swallows with pleasure as they paired and nested by the pond, we have watched the English Sparrows with frustration as they usurped a nest by our house.

The sight of our hedge woodchuck creeping through the grass towards the vegetable field reminds us to be vigilant with our trap. A few nibbled lettuce and edamame send us out to check our fence line. The sight of a crow lifting itself from a tomato stake with feet dangling limp and heavy- slows my walk, reminds me to look around. And when the snapping of the electric fence turns out to be a slug inching along the wire, we can only laugh.

NLF Update 6/1

It has been a spring of extremes. We had moved from one of the coldest winters on record into one of the driest springs. Our first real rain in over a month has turned into a series of heavy downpours. Normally we might be concerned about receiving several inches of rain in a matter of days but we are still relieved to see our parched soils taking in water. It is a pleasure to feel the cool drops on our heads,  to watch the small seedlings of celery or eggplants get watered in without our labor, a pump, and a series of complex tubing.

This year, our farm is split in two. We continue to grow on a plot of leased land that we have used in the past and we are slowing turning the field at our new farm into usable swaths of planting space.

The rental land is covered in our springs crops. Rows of onions poke sharply up, electric green. White ripples of fabric protect our salad mix and boc choy. Carrot fronds grow in scattered patches while trellised peas begin to flower.

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Our home farm is lined with potatoes, with tomatoes, Sunflowers and Zinnias.  There are rows of Kale and Collards that will be picked all season long and apple trees that are a true experiment for us. Everything is growing.

Farm Update, 6/1/2015

It has been a spring of extremes. We had moved from one of the coldest winters on record into one of the driest springs. Our first real rain in over a month has turned into a series of heavy downpours. Normally we might be concerned about receiving several inches of rain in a matter of days but we are still relieved to see our parched soils taking in water. It is a pleasure to feel the cool drops on our heads, to watch the small seedlings of celery or eggplants get watered in without our labor, a pump, and a series of complex tubing.

This year, our farm is split in two. We continue to grow on a plot of leased land that we have used in the past and we are slowing turning the field at our new farm into usable swaths of planting space.

The rental land is covered in our spring crops. Rows of onions poke sharply up, electric green. White ripples of fabric protect our salad mix and boc choy. Carrot fronds grow in scattered patches while trellised peas begin to flower.

Our home farm is lined with potatoes, with tomatoes, Sunflowers and Zinnias. There are beds of Kale and collards that will be picked all season long and apple trees that are a true experiment for us. Everything is growing. We look forward to sharing it all with you!