Keep updated on all that is happening around Thiessen Farms!


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Finally … sunshine!

We never get stuck on our farm!

With our nice sandy soil & tile drainage under the whole farm, we can usually drive anywhere, even after a heavy rain.

Yet here are Amy & Sage stuck recently. (and no, Sage was not driving).

We have had a lot of rain this spring – an awful lot of rain! A frustrating amount of rain! The official word is that “in the last 30 days we have received more than 200% of our normal precipitation”. Wow!

And so we get stuck. Certain parts of the farm have had to be avoided or at least approached cautiously for much of this spring season.

What this means is that we have been delayed getting onto the ground to prepare it for planting. So seedlings that were growing in the greenhouse could not be planted out in the fields on time  and subsequently grew too big and then don’t transplant & grow well. Crops that should have been seeded directly into the ground also had to wait. The cooler temperatures that accompanied the moisture meant we often kept the greenhouse closed to preserve what heat there was, and now some of our tomato plants have a bit of mold & disease from the lack of air movement and humidity build-up. Once outside in the fresh air they should easily & quickly recover, but they do look a little worse for wear. Some seedlings rotted and were lost.

Our farm is fairly level, but even the slightest changes in elevation were important this spring. When we did sneak out onto the land between rains, the higher ground was where we could plant. Even a few inches of change meant the difference between soil that could be worked & planted, and soil that was still too wet.

The crops that we got into the ground earlier have been growing ever so slowly. And anything planted lately has not moved much at all.

For our customers at the farmers’ markets (tomorrow – May 23 – is our first market of the season!) and our CSA members it means waiting a bit longer for the first fresh vegetables of the season – our CSA program probably won’t begin until early June.

But this week the weather appears to have finally changed. Perhaps the full moon on the weekend has finally ushered in our long-awaited sunshine & warm weather! We can already see the crops beginning to perk up & grow!

Here’s what the farm looks like this week …

This field by the garlic has been difficult to get ready to plant. We would work it up, but the cover crop & weeds would regrow rather than dry up & die. But finally it’s ready!

This cover crop is lush & green from all the rain. We’ve had to mow it down several times. Now it’s dry enough that we can work it in and prepare the soil for planting vegetables here, later in the season.

The blackberries are leafing out.

These guys have certainly enjoyed the wet weather. Up to 6 of them can be seen swimming in the pond daily.

But most of us are happier to feel the sunshine!

 

 

 

 


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Spring blossoms

The apricot trees are in blossom! They are always the first of the fruit trees to bloom, a welcome sign that spring surely is upon us.

We have 2 apricot trees in our backyard, planted by my father around 50 years ago. Living in the shadows of the 2 huge maple trees, these apricot trees grow taller & taller, reaching towards the sunshine. As a result of living in the shade – and also because we don’t prune or spray them – they produce no edible fruit.

I really should cut them down. But the trees are like sculpture – their trunks & branches have so much character. And so they remain.

The cats love the trees. They serve as both their play centre and resting spot.

Elsewhere on the farm, things are growing & advancing (slowly) despite the mostly cool & wet weather.

The garlic has come up beautifully.

Little currants are already forming on our red currant bushes.

We have managed to get some vegetables seeded in the fields. The peas are doing well – enjoying all the moisture & cool days. Under the hoops & insect covering are radishes, salad turnips & pak choy. This netting protects the vegetables from bugs.

These transplants are still small but settling in nicely – spinach, kale, broccoli & edible flowers … Last years kale (seen on the left) has resumed growth and is providing small but delicious leaves for fresh salads.

We finally have some breathing room in the small greenhouse where the seedlings start their life.

That’s because a lot of seedlings have been either transplanted into the fields or moved to the large greenhouse. It is filling up with tomato, pepper, eggplant & herb plants. They are slightly behind in their growth but should catch up quickly with a bit of sun!

The black hoops over the rows are to hold up the row cover – a white, cloth-like fabric which we use to protect the seedlings on colder nights, since this greenhouse is not heated. Just this week we had a hard frost. Everything in the greenhouse was well protected.

Outdoors the plants had quite a frosty coating, though it burned off quickly in the morning sun. However no damage was done.

The blackberries are tied and mulched – one row with wood chips & one row with straw. We’ll compare the growth, production & health of the blackberry canes between the 2 different mulches this season. Also important is to see which mulch does a better job of preventing weeds and holding moisture.

Of course careful comparisons are already happening and opinions are being formed!!

Happy Spring everybody!!