Cold, crisp snows fill the fields while wintry winds blow. We vegetable farmers take advantage of the cold days to plan for planting season, which is actually right around the corner!
In December, we pore over the seed catalogs, with their gorgeous pictures of perfect vegetables. Everything grows perfectly in our minds in the wintertime, as we map out the season, week by week.
We create lots of spreadsheets to help us organize 50 crops, with multiple varieties and successions. We like to get it nailed down to each bed in every field; with the varieties, seeding or planting rates, and dates, so that we are ready to go full speed as soon as the fields are ready.
We use the winter down-time in the fields to perform maintenance on all the equipment, make any necessary improvements to the equipment, as well as to our buildings and greenhouses. We take inventory, perform repairs, and order new supplies every winter as well.
Also slated for winter months on the farm are: annual organic system plans submission, annual taxes and payroll taxes, book-keeping and budgeting, CSA sign-ups, updating marketing materials electronic and otherwise, etc. In short, all the other tasks that need to happen to be a viable business.
But one of our favorite parts of the winter is our continuing farmer education. We make it a point to attend several workshops and/or webinars every year. This is extremely important, as so many aspects of farming are changing continuously, and we need to remain up-to-date on the best organic practices and methods available.
Starting mid-February we begin seeding onions in the greenhouse, followed by leeks, scallions, broccoli, cabbage, and tomatoes. The potting soil is delivered; the greenhouse is cleaned up and ready to go.
By April, or even late March some years, we begin working the fields, and seeding and planting. And then the season just keeps rolling from there, with the much anticipated start of the CSA harvest in early June!