In December the floodgates of heaven opened and much needed rain began to soak our Placer County landscape. All through December, January and February it continued, Francis keeping careful records of each day’s total. The numerous wet days spent indoors were a rare opportunity to rest, reflect and make plans for the coming growing season.
Our farm manager, Travis Emerson, convinced us to cover the skeleton of an old hoop house that had graced the farm unfinished and unused for many years. The delicate lettuces you are enjoying in March from Newcastle Produce, grown in compost rich soil and protected from the ravages of wind and heavy rain, are a result of that effort.
Travis also introduced us to a beekeeper friend who has located 19 hives on a hilltop overlooking our growing area. He will be teaching Travis how to tend the bees and we’ll extract Newcastle Produce brand honey this summer from our hives.
Our planting schedule is completed through late summer; seeds stocks are replenished; lettuce and tomato plants fill the greenhouse; potatoes, onions and carrots flourish in the fields; we’ve cleaned up the barn, cleaned up the shop, done necessary repairs to the tractors and implements and read lots of seed catalogs.
March first shone bright and sunny when Tom Willey visited our farm. Tom and his wife Denesse are pioneers of organic agriculture and had spoken to a group of farmers in Auburn in October. http://tdwilleyfarms.com/along-way-dirt-farmer/#more-1323
Just retired and willing to be a mentor, Tom graciously responded to Travis’ invitation and spent a day with us talking, walking around the farm, and sharing wisdom and insights from his experience. At the top of the list: grow the best quality produce available, develop a compost based fertilization system, stay ahead of the weeds with solarization and mulch.
Winter was busy and now we’re ready for spring with new ideas and renewed enthusiasm.