Keep an eye on this page for regular updates about what’s happening at Ten Speed Farm. We’ll have periodic posts during the growing season and info about cool stuff happening the rest of the year.
Posted: April 8th, 2012
Late in October, I planted my garlic on a new piece of land. I hoped this would be the last move for a while. I dreamt of harvesting that garlic, and planting the selected seed cloves right back in the same field.
…and then, I moved my farm again. Those of you who have been keeping track will know that this is my fourth piece of farmland in four years. Wowzer.
This time (cross your fingers), no family disputes will stand in the way of me and my weary, spoked farm. Right now, it is a neat square of spring hayfield. Soon, much activity! But not, perhaps, the kind of activity you’re imagining.
Because of so much moving around, I’ve decided to let 2012 be a building year. I will not grow veggies for sale this season. Instead, I will focus on getting this new land ready for cultivation starting in 2013. I have grand plans: shed building, hoophouse construction, calculated tillage. Plant field peas and oats late May and mow them down come July. Till that in, and plant buckwheat. Repeat in September: till the buckwheat, then fling rye seed into every corner. This is all to say that I’m building a Ten Speed Farm that will produce more handsome, delicious vegetables than ever before. Healthy soil is the foundation of any sustainable farm, and I’m determined to take my time with this. If you could see it, you’d understand. Dreamy, thick topsoil – I’d be a fool to rush this land’s transition from hayfield to cultivated vegetables. I will take this season to prepare my land the right way, and we’ll all be happier farmers and eaters.
I’ll be in touch in a couple of months, once I’ve signed a lease and can tell you more about this beautiful new land.
Happy Spring, everyone!
Posted: November 10th, 2011
After many truck trips down route 9, Ten Speed Farm has moved once again. I’m settling in to my new digs – tossing composted manure into every corner, planting garlic, drawing maps, patting my landlord’s fine Chesapeake Bay Retriever (who is ironically named Tiny) when she visits, and gleefully scheming about next season. Early carrots! New tomato varieties! Golden beets! More celeriac! Okay, maybe I’m the only one who’s actually excited about that. But really, what’s not to love about a vegetable that looks like an alien space monster?
One question remains: How in the world do I move a 10′x30′ hoophouse five miles down the road without a) smashing a truck window, b) scraping PVC limbs all over route 9, or c) cutting it into so many pieces that it can’t be reassembled. Hmm…
In any case, I am in Land Love. Hooray!
Posted: November 6th, 2011
Here is the last harvest list of the season. 2011 was not a stellar year for farmers in Vermont. At the very least, however, we’ve all learned some things about resilience. Six weeks of pouring rain followed by a month of blistering heat, followed by another six weeks of constant rain is not ideal. Next year will be different, and that’s enough for now.
What else can a farmer do at the end of such a tough season? Plan for next season. Search for the last winter squashes, previously hidden under dying weeds. Clean up beds full of blackened tomato plants, and spread composted manure. Bring in drip irrigation tape and row covers. Figure out where to plant garlic, and then work by moonlight to press every single seed clove under ground. Spread bales of mulch hay. Dream of better weather.
Thanks to you all for sticking with me this year. Being a farmer is truly what I want to do, and you all make it possible. I look forward to sending next year’s grand plans to you around the new year, when my fields are covered in snow and my mailbox is full of seed catalogs. Keep an eye on your email for the news.
Here’s the list:
BUTTERNUT SQUASH – is wicked cheap! does not look awesome, but the skin stains don’t affect anything inside. they’re tasty, and will store just fine. stock up! – $1.00/lb.
PIE PUMPKINS – called winter luxury. the baking pumpkin that truly lives up to its name. – $1.25/lb
CARROTS – bright orange, and sweetened by frost. – $3.00/lb.
BULB FENNEL! – great in soup, or on the grill, or sliced thin in salad… – $3.00/lb.
KALE – sweeter now, due to cold nights. – $3.00/bunch
SWISS CHARD – the rainbow kind, of course. – $3.00/bunch
ITALIAN PARSLEY – goes with everything! (okay, except for anything made of chocolate.) – $2.00/bunch
SCALLIONS – small, pungent green onions. – $2.50/bunch
Thanks, everyone. You all are the best. See you on Wednesday.
Posted: July 13th, 2011
It’s almost time for Ten Speed veggies! Thanks to some appropriately hot and dry weather, I should be able to send out a harvest list on Sunday night. What has taken so long? Excessive rain in June made planting impossible, and I’m just beginning to feel caught up with my seeding schedule. Phew!
Remember how I said that these farm emails would be much more interesting with cows around? I was not kidding. Around the third week of June, two dear friends of mine came to help me transplant all of the summer squash, winter squash, and melons. The field was finally dry enough. As the sun disappeared, I cleaned up all of the tools, swatted black flies, and felt satisfied that three people tackled this huge task in one afternoon.
And then, the rain returned. At first, I wasn’t concerned – these transplants could use a good watering-in. But after two days of showers, my landlord (and owner of the aforementioned cows) called and asked if I’d been up to the farm yet that day. No, I hadn’t – I was using the rainy day to get some office work done. “Well, you might want to come up here. The cows got out last night and they ended up in your squash field.”
Yikes. It turned out that the cows had been chased by some animal (a bear, we think) through THREE electric fences. I put on my tall rubber boots and full rain suit, and slipped my way out through the pasture, to where my squash were supposed to be. Most transplants were either invisible (having been stepped on by frantic thousand-pound animals), or were lying roots-up in the mud. Constant rain and running cows had cut rivers through the field. Floating row cover lay flattened on top of tiny cucumber and melon seedlings; hoops bent and row cover full of hoof-sized holes. I sank past my ankles in mud as I surveyed the scene and tried to come up with a plan. I sighed, got down on my knees, and dug through piles of mud and fresh manure to find squash seedlings and put them back where they belonged, roots-down. Some had been pushed too deeply underground or were now too far away from where they should have been. I couldn’t find them. I finished re-transplanting the plants I could find, wiped my hands on wet grass, and shed my raingear in the barn. I wasn’t sure that any of those plants would survive.
However, save for the remnants of rain-rivers cut through the field, you might not know that the cows ever had anything to do with my squash field. Today, the plants look healthy, and are handily fighting off invasions of striped cucumber beetles.
Come see for yourself at the first-ever Ten Speed Farm OPEN FIELDS DAY! This Saturday, July 16, I invite you all to come out to the farm. I’ll give tours of the fields, and there will be a small project for those of you who want to get your hands dirty, but it’s not required. Come anytime between 10am and 3pm, see where your veggies are grown, and enjoy the view.
See you then!
Posted: March 15th, 2011
Hello everyone, We’ve made it to March! I’m happy to report that Ten Speed Farm is alive and well, albeit under several feet of snow. Yes, you read that correctly; I have LAND for this season! Phew. Read more…