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Citrus, Farming and Musings

There is so much great citrus available right now! The grapefruit from Texas Reds to Melo Gold to Pomelo’s are crazy good. And the tangerine world is similar with Tangelos, Clementine’s and Blood oranges. Every season is unique and during this season it is Citrus’s time to shine!  

On the farm, John and I are busy finishing up the maintenance and starting seeds. We just seeded thousands of onions to be transplanted in the April/May window and we will be seeding our first round of lettuces (about 2000 plants) this week. We will be seeding and transplanting lettuces every two weeks until June. We grow lots of lettuce, cucumbers, squash, cabbages, kales, beans and tomatoes. All of them will either be direct seeded or transplanted at the appropriate times and “weather windows.”  Weather windows are those opportunities you get to get things done! Sometimes the ground is barely dry enough and other times we have to just mud something in.  

These weather windows tend to be fewer in the spring, requiring us to pivot our work schedules to accommodate some good weather. I remember one year when April was beautiful and it was like I was farming in California 😊. I could not have asked for better weather to start seeds, work the ground and plant crops. Then came May and it rained every day! We were dancing between rain showers trying to get crops in the ground.  

Another year, I had ordered 1200 lettuce transplants to transplant early into our greenhouses. He mistyped the order and 6 weeks later, delivered 12,000! Oh, my word! 12,000 lettuce plants ready to go in the ground in February! My heart skipped more than one beat that week. As it turned out, we had one of those rare Februarys that allowed us to get a seed bed acceptably ready to transplant into. It wasn’t perfect but it was good enough.  And as a side benefit, we had the earliest lettuce we have ever had that year! it also gave my soon to be son in law, an opportunity to help harvest on the farm. He showed up at 5am and pitched in. 6 years later, he is still making my daughter happy (and me, too). 

This time of year is all about maintenance, repairs, farm planning and praying. When it comes to maintenance, I took the opportunity to have knee surgery and “clean” up some cartilage that had been bothering me for a few years. It was one of those decisions you make because it’s better to be proactive and pick a season when the farm and business work would be the least impacted. Happy to report that the second time around for that knee seems to have accomplished the goal!  I’m ready to get farming! 

Another major change this past winter was the decision to “pull” out the orchard. It was a hard decision, but needed to be made for a variety of reasons, and before another season of pruning, thinning, tree maintenance and harvesting got started. I really enjoyed our season of tree fruit farming, but I also really love growing vegetables. The decision was difficult to make, but watching those tress come out, was even harder! This year the orchard spot will be filled with pumpkins and winter squashes. Assuming there will be no restrictions to farm visits, we look forward to inviting the Box of Good community to come out and get pumpkins on the farm this fall! Stay tuned! 

Thank you for supporting small farms and small businesses,