After a surprisingly mild and unusual winter, spring has arrived on our farm! Well, actually, today it is quite cold and we have another layer of snow with more expected soon. But it feels like spring in the greenhouse! I have been busy the last month sowing our early seeds and the greenhouse is now full of onion, broccoli, kale, cabbage, tomato, eggplant, and pepper seedlings. Since this is our first season using our greenhouse for seed starting, we have also been busy building seedling benches, working out the heating kinks, and making sure we have an efficient system for seeding in place. With solar gain alone, a day that is a chilly but sunny -10 degrees outside can quickly climb to 35 to 40 degrees in the greenhouse. While we love to bask in the heat and sunshine, the seedlings don't like it quite so hot, so we often have a door or two open all day to provide ventilation and to moderate the heat.
Spring is also the time for tree planting and propagating. Rob has been busy starting cuttings of seabuckthorn and other perennial fruits. These cuttings will then be planted throughout our property using silvopasture and permaculture methods. Rob has been active this winter speaking at many farming and ecological conferences on the topics of farming and trees. While our trees our not yet 'bearing us fruit' the process of inter-planting trees with other crops and animals on our farm is an important part of what we do. Later in the season we will be writing some blog posts to provide our share members with more information on this aspect of our farm. And we wait (impatiently) for our trees to bear fruit. Within 3 - 5 years, we should have over 30 varieties of nut and fruit trees as well as perennial berries producing fruit for sale! Imagine a nut or fruit share possibility....
In February, we completed the hiring of our interns and are excited to be joined by 3 interns this year: Dan, Thomas, and Rebecca. They will each have an opportunity to introduce themselves through this blog and, of course, meet our share members at the CSA pickups and other events. We will be welcoming them onto our farm at the beginning of May for 6 months of work, learning, and, hopefully, fun!
We also in the final stages of applying for organic certification (more on that to come in future blog posts!) and busily trying to get all the supplies ordered and plans in place for the 2016 season. We are offering 70 shares this season and have already sold 65%. With two pickups in Guelph this year plus our Mount Forest delivery, we are hoping to appeal to even more customers. A big thank-you to all our share members who have committed so far and we look forward to many new members in the coming weeks. If you are interested in advertising our shares at your place of employment or community group, please let us know and we will provide marketing material. And remember all share members who refer a new member receive a $20 farm credit!
We are aiming for the week of June 13th for our first share delivery but sometimes Mother Nature can push these dates around a bit! I will send an email to all share members by the end of May confirming the first official pickup date and other important details.