Urban Farm Updates, January 25th, 2018
Fun on the Farm!
Did you know? Potatoes didn’t originate in Idaho! They weren’t even grown in Idaho until 1836, when they were introduced by some traveling missionaries on their way to California!
What’s Growing On!
It is hard to believe that just a week ago there was snow everywhere! At my house, we got just about 5 inches of snow, and almost as much at the Urban Farm! People ask all the time if snow is damaging to my plants, and I always tell them that if it is going to be below freezing, I would rather that it snow. Snow actually acts as an insulating layer, keeping my crops warmer and more protected from the elements. I have some frost blankets out on some of my crops, to help protect them from the cold, nighttime temperatures, but a good snow can actually prove to be more protective than most medium weight frost blankets.
Cat, Luke and I spent some time this week cleaning up and weeding all of the raised beds on the farm, in preparation for the late winter/spring planting season. These new raised beds have been a life saver. In addition to providing additional growing space, they are immensely helpful when it comes to weeding; they have cut down on the volume of weeding when compared with the linear in-ground beds on the farm, and the nice, loose composted material (shout out to Atlas Organics!), the weeding is much easier and therefore the amount of time required is greatly reduced! We cleaned up both of the front linear beds, arbor beds, terrace and 4×8 raised bed in less than 2 hours total; when compared with the ~1 hour that it takes per traditional 40ft row on average, to full clear the weeds and loosen up the soil for springtime replanting.
My snap peas are all sprouted and doing pretty well considering the insane weather we have been having. Snap Peas always amaze me with their cold tolerance and growth! While most other plants are cringing from the cold, my Snap Peas are growing and doing well! Not only have my plants had the cold weather to contend with, but they have also had severe temperature fluctuations. Cold tolerant crops do really well with cold temperatures naturally, so the constant, extreme temperature fluctuations that we have been experiencing can actually caused more damage to most of my plants than persistent cold weather would have. Over the past week, we have had some temperatures close to the single digits overnight, and then into the 60s during the day time, which causes such extreme adjustment to the plants that some of them can’t handle it very well and it stresses them. Stressed plants are more susceptible to disease and pest pressure, perform slower than normal and are more likely to experience damage from a frost.
Cat, Luke and I also spent some time on Monday, repairing part of our irrigation system that busted over the New Years break. We had been limping along with the working portion of our irrigation system, while the replacement parts shipped; and as soon as the day time temperatures warmed up enough for us to work on the system without concern about freezing or frostbite, we finished the repair project! Now the job is complete, and we all feel very accomplished! We had a great deal of difficulty with some parts being so corroded and fused together after so long, that it made an apparently simple task, anything but simple! But, it is finished and we all feel more accomplished for it!