Spring 2024

Plans for Spring 2024, Successes from Spring 2023, and lessons learned from Spring 2023.

Plans for 2024 (Kelly, Curt, and Elationscapes):

  • Kenney Enney from Enney Ranch advised I can plant a few light skinned varieties of cantaloupe and watermelon that won’t burn in the sun. We are planting them in the orchard, on the terrace flats, where soil has been composted and cover cropped for two years.
  • Our commitment this year is 6,000 pounds and our stretch goal is 10,000 pounds. Weight is not the best indicator due to peppers and peas versus zucchini and watermelon. We set the goals for fun progress tracking.
  • This will be our first potato and sweet potato year.
  • We expanded tomatillos to be equal with tomatoes due to their popularity at drop-offs.
  • We will deliver peas and beans in pods. Other than the beans we dry. Due to the time involved which can be spent growing. Hopefully people will be happy to see fresh peas and beans and have family time shelling.
  • This is orchard year two, we won’t have fruit. Also, grapes and berries year two. We planted blueberries on mounds and will experiment to see if they can thrive in the heat.
  • We mowed and weeded before the weeds seeded which will control the star thistle (we dig it out and don’t compost it). Last year the rains made early weeding impossible.
  • We will can this year, and eat more of what we grow. We tend to spend the day growing and then eat a taco on the road.
  • We will push on both organic processes and production methods. The food banks and food pantries are overwhelmed.

Successes from Spring 2023:

  • Our organic matter is our foundation and cover cropping, rotation, and regenerative practices will build soil health and increase production
  • Growing vegetables from seed works well. My seedlings look scrawny above the soil in comparison to what I see in nurseries; however, the roots are amazing and the process is consistent. I start seeds in 72s or 50s. Then move to 2″ biodegradable pots. Some go into recycled plastic if the weather looks like a chance of frost. This process is fun and I cull the no-go seeds and seedlings before the field.
  • Last year the rows I double dug were amazingly more productive than where I did not double dig. That said, I can’t physically double dig beyond experimental rows. Blaze and Nate are trenching rows and adding mushroom compost, then dirt. We’re mixing them up so when the roots get down to 6″ they will find compost rather than the hardpan of our clay/loam soil. I would like to not till but a shovel is not an option for quantity. We will not trench every year. We set up three plots to rotate and will reuse the beds with trenching only on expansion.
  • Asparagus loves our climate. I located two varieties that will grow in clay and double dug by hand last year. We started with an experimental 50 plants and are planting 100 more.

Lessons learned from Spring 2023

  • The hoop house plastic did not make it through winter. We like the soil prepared last year and are planting without plastic. Early peas and beets will rotate to additional vegetables and we plan to cover with shade cloth to protect them from the heat.
  • Dean Harrell advised I should plant peppers closer than recommended so they provide shade for each other from the sun. We will plant a lot more peppers this year and I changed the spacing.
  • I have never seen the quantity of tomatoes we had last year. The staking I tried was not great and I will prune differently, again to provide shade.

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