As December settles in, we sadly say goodbye to our farm apprentices as they fledge the nest and continue onward in their farming journey. Now we Glynwood full-time farmers get our chance to slow our pace, reflect, and spend time planning (and interviewing for the next batch of apprentices!) for next year. But day-to-day farming never completely ceases.
The livestock farmers gather the animals from the fields into the barns, continue with their daily chores and tackle infrastructure projects to make next season easier, better and more stream-lined. On the vegetable side, we are also a four-season operation, with our vegetables being distributed through our farm store every week and a biweekly winter CSA.
While it is often said that July and August are the most chaotic months on a vegetable farm (and they definitely are BUSY), I find that September and October can often be more sneakily complicated. We are getting tired, but we are still busy harvesting summer crops like tomatoes, eggplant and peppers, still trying to keep the weeds at bay, while also cleaning up spent crops and getting over-wintering cover crops seeded and established. We are in our summer clothes, probably sweating and wanting a break, but we carry on, thinking ahead for the cold months. It is essential that we prepare soil for seeding or transplanting cold-hardy greens into our high tunnels (plastic-covered structures) in order for them to get a head start on their growth before daylight is scarce and temperatures drop.
These greens (like kale, spinach, asian greens, arugula, claytonia, lettuce and dandelion greens) will live, rooted in the soil inside the high tunnels all winter long, but since they put on little growth day to day in the coldest months of January and February, to miss these critical seeding and planting timelines can be the difference between having greens to harvest or not.
Thankfully we did not miss the timing on any of these things and, while our winter CSA is full, there will be plenty of vegetables to buy (along with a variety of Glynwood-grown meats) at our farm store all winter long. And if you’ve never tasted winter-grown greens, you’re missing out – they are so much more vibrant and sweeter than any of their summer versions. Come taste for yourself!