One of the most common questions of the past couple of weeks has been "How will all this snow affect the growing season?" This is a great question! Overall we're optimistic that we'll have another bountiful year, but the snow will cause a few hiccups in our early season plans.
It's safe to say that we will have plenty of vegetables ready by the first week of our CSA, however certain crops will get off to a slower start. The first plantings of carrots, beets and peas will definitely be behind a "normal" year's schedule. Some years we have our first plantings of carrots, beets and peas seeded before April 1st - but not this year! Not only do we have to wait for the snow to melt before we can begin plowing, but the soil has to dry out too.
The other major effect of this snow is that our spring field schedule is going to be significantly condensed. We will have to catch up on seeding early April crops while staying on top of our late April plantings as well. This will also lead to a bit of a weeding "bottleneck" in May. We typically spread out successions of crops, which also helps spread out weeding pressure. This year we will have to combine some successions into one larger planting, leading to larger swathes needing to be weeded in a shorter time frame.
Many crops, however, will never know we had a record-breaking winter! Classic spring crops like arugula, lettuce, salad turnips and radishes should be abundant by the opening of the CSA. Those crops don't need to be seeded or transplanted into the field until late April or early May for June harvest. Other late spring crops like strawberries, asparagus and garlic scapes are already planted and just require warmer temperatures to begin growing and eventually producing.
The longer winter has had some side benefits for us, as it has allowed us to catch up on much of the office work that gets set aside during the frantic height of the growing season. We have particularly been able to focus more energy on redesigning our website, signing up new members for our expanded Vegetable CSA and new PYO Flower CSA, and planning some fun events on the farm this year. Each season presents its own unique challenges, and that's part of what makes it such an interesting intellectual puzzle for us every year!