With springs early ascent; strawberry blossoms emerge toting tiny green promises of berries, gleaming cherry radishes peek out of their newly made beds, and asparagus makes its brief flirty appearance. Students as if under springs same spell, wander dreamily through the beds admiring the new foliage and even the tenacity of our weeds.
At the beginning of our Thursday class we begin by doing a quick walk about the farm assessing produce availability, soil structure, moisture levels, and any new pest problems that may have recently arisen. Although the abundance of early spring has all of our mouths watering with anticipation, we farmers know that nature has its own set of checks and balances; a warm spring after a mild winter means no hard frost to knock out weed seeds and pest populations. So its no surprise that baby arugula has already been tackled by flea beetles, small dainty butterflies flitter around last years broccoli beds (waiting to lay their eggs on our unsuspecting brassica’s), and Colorado potato beetles hungrily appear one by one. It seems we aren’t the only ones excited by this warm weather.
But not to fear, we sustainable agriculture students are well equipped, we’ve even had a crash course in biological pest management (friendly bug and weed management strategies). Ready to tackle a new seasons worth of challenges and harvest for our chef friends and CSA, we plan carefully, taking into account that each season is so unique and bountiful in its own way.