Breaking Ground 

Has everyone thawed out yet? This winter was quite the cold snap, but now that it’s March, I’m it won’t be long before we’re wishing for cooler weather! A new growing season is upon us, so it’s time to get out of the office, away from the production planning, and back into the garden! I for one love the feeling of picking up those tools for the first time since winter and getting out, messing around in the soil again. Here at High Rocks, it’s felt like a rebirth of sorts after such low temperatures, icy conditions, and bit of cabin fever.

Before doing anything, we got out and took our soil samples from all of our growing areas which will let us know what nutrients are abundant in our soil, and what’s lacking- this will guide what amendments we decide to add. Speaking of amendments, we also had to get our compost pile in order! We’ve been building up our compost pile over the previous fall and winter. With one final turn, our compost is broken down and ready for application on our beds.

Another compost-related project we had started last fall is a vermicomposting system. Currently we have a decent sized bin on our farm and a compost tea brewer set up to make some nice, strong, organic liquid fertilizer in the form of ‘worm tea’. Over the winter our worms had unfortunately died due to extreme cold and some logistical mix-ups, but failure is often the best teacher so with the warmer temperatures, we recently created a whole new bin filled with bedding and our new worms are, well, as snug as a bug in a rug! (please forgive me for that)

But adding worms to our farm isn’t the only change this year- we decided we could maximize our space in our high tunnel by shortening the widths of our aisles and beds to fit an extra seventh bed into our production plan. With intensive spacing, this can help us really pump out some more produce! Using some measuring tape and flags, we were able to mark out the right widths. Then we attached the plow implement on our walk-behind tractor, and walked it right down our newly marked aisles to throw dirt up into our new beds. With some rakes and other tools, we managed to shape the beds nice and flat, and the right distance according to our flag markers. Look at those nice clean beds!

There’s something that feels so right about getting out and connecting with your soil after a long, cold winter. Whether it’s getting your soil samples, turning your compost, or the physical shaping of your beds- this is one of the most important aspects of any farm. Vegetables don’t grow out of thin air, and caring for our ground will help nurture our produce, which in turn, nourishes us. BRING ON SPRING.