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Firm Ground

What started out as a typical January thaw kept right on going and instead ended up a thaw January. With firm ground finally underfoot again as we enter February (already!?), I took the opportunity to assess the damage to the garden. This time of year we should be able to count on a nice insulating foot or so of snow to protect the fragile soil where the late fall crops were planted. Moisture hasn’t been the problem – we’ve had plenty of it – it’s been the way it’s fallen from the sky that’s been so disappointing. Cross-country skiers aren’t the only ones mourning a lack of the white stuff.

Where the winter rye cover crop went down early enough to establish itself, the garden looks great as you can see in the picture. I also successfully tried a winter-kill cover crop of oats and peas, both of which are quite hardy but will eventually succumb to old man winter. The roots from these plants have kept all our precious soil in place, and I’ll have a head start on planting into this section in the spring. It’s another story where the cover crop didn’t get fully established. Being on a hill, we already struggle with erosion. When the ground is partially frozen and it’s raining cats and dogs like it’s the middle of July, the water has nowhere to go but downhill. With our topsoil along for the ride.

The new New England normal winter (there is no normal), combined with a no-till workshop at the recent Northeast Organic Farming Association’s Winter Conference, has inspired me to at least explore a gentler method of farming. As this newsletter is getting long enough and I haven’t even mentioned Couet Farm’s Valentine Day cheese special yet, I guess I’ll discuss my no-till experimental plans another time!

That’s right folks, we have (almost) everything you need to make Valentine’s Day delicious. As if their adelisca cheese couldn’t get any better, Couet Farm added Cooper’s Hilltop Farm heavy cream, Hebert’s honey, and lavender crushed by hand using a mortar and pestle. Check out their full cheese spread here and order away. Or for that special someone in your life, why not give them the gift of delicious bacon? Jeff will be down with all his specialty meats, a full list you can find here. And why not some watermelon radishes for your sweetie? I still have a few items (mostly celeriac) for sale here. Unfortunately Sarah is testing the travel ban and leaving the country for a few days so there will be no chocolates this week 🙁 

I plan on attending a high tunnel workshop, so Jeff will be running most of the pickup. He’ll see y’all then!