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Farm Update Friday February 14

February 16, 2009

By Ida Assefa

“What can you possibly eat in the middle of long and cold New England winter?”  This is a question that seems to arise every winter, as the November frost sets in and the farmers markets thin out.  A person can only eat carrots and parsnips for so long before the supermarket’s Peruvian pears and Indian mangos become a temptation to difficult to resist.  Yet, according to Mike Bollinger, a visiting farmer from Illinois, winter can be an incredibly productive season, filled with a rich diversity of produce.  Mike runs Heritage Prairie Farm in northern Illinois and gave a great class yesterday at the garden, explaining that with a few simple greenhouse technologies, including plastic hoop houses, a growing season can be extended by weeks on either end. By using cold-hearty crops and adjusting your sowing and harvesting schedule, a farm can produce a variety of winter greens and vegetables. Mike gave a lot of great advice, including a model planting and harvesting schedule, that will definitely be useful to us up at the garden.  Hopefully, we’ll have more short classes for volunteers at the farm in the next few weeks– let us know if there is anything in particular you’d like to learn about.

We also got a lot of great work done at the farm yesterday. After Mike’s class, volunteers got to work planting radishes and caseload peas, weeding the north greenhouse, fixing the remay around the raddichio, and putting up fences around six crab apple trees.  There is still much to be done in the next few weeks, including more planting for the spring, so we hope to see you soon!

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