Exploding Cabbage & Other Spring Happenings

  

{Apple blossoms spreading their delightful scent}

An urgency is quickly awakening! Apple blossoms are here smelling beeeautiful, but being taunted by close-call frosts. Everything is banking on beautiful temperatures in which to flourish oh so soon! I am constantly astounded by what lays in the fields and margins hiding its true intentions till now. Gooseberry blossoms, unfurling alfalfa branches, secret tulips, all spending their stored energy for an enlivening show. This energy in Spring can always inspire endless lists of possibilities. Until the crushing speed of temperatures and growing weeds calls thing into check.

The farm has seen great transformations already. Bunnies are making their way to greening pastures. Rows of lovely baby kales and broccoli raab grace so many tilled beds. Everything getting ready for the ride! Even our young laying hens are on the alfalfa making quick work of their high protein graze. To see everyone working together and anticipating the coming warm season certainly quickens the heart rate.
 
{A small cadre of seed enthusiasts getting the low-down on replanting beets}
 
Kass and my’s Spring hurdle though has passed, having sunk oh so many slumbering plants back into warm moist soil they’re familiar with. These plants waited all winter. biding their time in total darkness waiting to come into the light. They include Kale, Cabbage, Carrots, Celeriac, Leeks and others. All these plants have a biology in common in that they need a second season to make their seed, our main goal. Tomatoes and peas can do it their first year, but these biennials are trickier and have special needs to make the final push.
 
So in the spirit of community, we invited other seed enthusiasts out to help with the process. Everyone was certainly excited by the warm temperatures and looking forward to digging into the first projects of the season. Many folks had never tried this before and greatly benefited seeing it in person. Really, it’s hard to imagine the whole process. While this year’s kale starts are just putting on their sixth leaf, these two-year-olds are snapping to attention, ready to regrow and show off for the bees. It’s certainly a satisfying start to the year.
 
{Lerchenzugen Kale stalk ready to go}
 
Cabbage is another crop related to kale, having a similar process for seedsaving and overwintering. In fact, centuries ago humans had cultivated a proto-kale plant for sustenance. It was quickly noticed that some had tighter closed leaf structures and, if selected over and over again, would tighten those leaves into a tighter shape. It’s like taking a Kale plant and squuiiishing it down wrapping the leaves around the inner ones and so on. So being very close cousins, they have similar reproduction. Except that sometimes those heads can be sooo tight, the stalk needs help getting out
 
{Dottenfelder Cabbage needing a couple cuts to help start the process}
 
So we’re sincerely looking forward to the season and all the new adventures. Stay tuned for future events similar to the plant-out.
Everything brightening and greening up around us,
 
Seeya in the fields!
-Clint 4/28/17


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