We are full for the 2020 growing season
Spring Hill Members,
It’s 2020, a new decade, and we are ready to farm! The seeds are ordered, the potting soil has arrived, and our garden plans are in progress.
Last year we made a number of changes in order to adjust to the physical reality of farming in our 60’s. Those changes worked well, and we are eager to fine tune the system. Again this year we plan to begin vegetable deliveries right after July 4th. Weekly deliveries will continue through September, followed by two bi-weekly deliveries of fall vegetables in October. In many ways we are hoping for a season much like last year when we had excellent yields and few crop failures, making for bountiful bags of vegetables.
As we reflect on the nearly 30 years of farming at Spring Hill, one of the things that stands out is the impact of climate change. Indeed, we see the impact almost daily. The average annual temperature has gone up, as has the average rainfall. The increase in rain comes mostly in the form of single-event large-precipitation storms. (In fact, the incidence of 2”-plus rain events has gone up three-fold.) We now see more plant diseases, and new pests are making themselves known. All of this has an impact on what and how we grow.
Yet, thanks to your support, we’ve been able to implement agricultural practices that increase our resiliency and protect our valuable soil. While adaptation is not easy or cheap, it is required. We continue to study, to observe, and to try strategies that point us in the direction of long-term sustainability. When you visit the farm, you will likely notice more cover crops than ever and lots of mulching in the gardens. These are two important practices that help protect and build our soil even as big rains pound the soil. Hoop houses also help mitigate some of the unpredictability that weather brings. Last year we replaced our four smaller hoop houses with two larger ones, and we are eager to learn the management involved with the bigger growing space these hoop houses provide.
Sadly, we said our final good-byes to Patty’s Dad, Bob, this winter. Bob loved being part of the Spring Hill Community and wholeheartedly supported the farm. He would be pleased to know that the land we began preparing last year will be seeded for monarch butterfly habitat this spring. The seed mix we will be using contains over 30 different species that provide food and habitat to the monarch butterfly as well as many other native pollinators. The mix contains such delightful names as Rattlesnake Master, Common Sneezeweed and False Boneset in addition to several critical milkweed varieties. Bob would also be thrilled to know that a patch near the beehives is being planted with a honeybee mix providing his beloved bees with pollen and nectar throughout the spring, summer and fall.
As is true most years, we will likely have a few shares available after returning members have signed up for the season. Please feel free to refer Spring Hill to your friends, family and coworkers.
We are looking forward to seeing you again this summer!
Mike & Patty