Spring arrived on the farm with a snowstorm that made the gardens and lavender fields sparkle with sun breaking through the low-hanging clouds. The back-and-forth play of warm sunny days and reminders that winter can return at a moment’s notice keep the farmers on their toes as they prepare to bring the farm out of winter slumber.
The real preparations began months ago, in late summer and fall as fields were planned, seeds were saved or ordered, and the greenhouse filled with seedling trays, lavender and herb starts that were hand propagated with care. Vegetables, herbs and flowers abound in various stages of growth, as the first batches are taken to the farm to harden off in a small greenhouse-like structure, acclimating them to more outdoor-like conditions that will prepare them to be planted in the fields.
Radish, beet and turnip seeds have begun to sprout in the farm fields, comfortable in cooler soil. Garlic planted in fall shows green leaves emerging through straw mulch, still covered by protective netting to keep the curious and hungry Sandhill Cranes from uprooting the young and tender bulbs.
Row cover and frost cloth are on hand just in case, but sturdy rhubarb emerges, crinkly and unprotected, despite the cold nights, with hints of deep red inspiring thoughts of crisp flavor to come. The hoop house is redolent with the fragrance of good soil holding row upon row of cool-season greens–lettuce, chard, kale, salad mixes and parsley. Comfrey emerges on the outside perimeter and the Lavender Guinea fowl must be fenced out as they have become fond of the kale.
This is the season when the farm goes full swing into the joyous and seemingly endless list of preparation tasks, adding compost, laying irrigation lines and preparing plants. The team works together in the dance of spring, with tractor, wheelbarrow, shovel and rake as the lists of harvest availability are sent to the teams in the kitchen, bar, spa, and production and we anticipate the bounty to come.
- Wes Brittenham, Director of Horticulture