Spring Planting - Spring Weather ...lots of photos!

There are three weeks to go until we start harvesting for our CSA!!  Even though it has been a grey, cold Spring with lots of rain, most crops are growing well and thriving.  The greens and onions are loving the weather and we have managed to get on top of the weeds during the sunny days. And the polytunnel tomatoes are flowering and setting fruit.

Lettuce and herbs growing in Mandala

Lettuce and herbs growing in Mandala

Tomatoes for the Christmas boxes coming along in the Polytunnel

Tomatoes for the Christmas boxes coming along in the Polytunnel

Salanova lettuce

Salanova lettuce

Zucchini mulched and gaining size with the few warm days we have had - still covered at night for extra warmth and late frost protection

Zucchini mulched and gaining size with the few warm days we have had - still covered at night for extra warmth and late frost protection

Frosty morning late October

Frosty morning late October

The eggplants and capsicums have been held a few extra weeks in the greenhouse while Peter and my visiting nephew Aleix constructed a new polytunnel.  Getting the plastic on in between the wild winds we have had (70km gusts for days!!!) was a challenge but it is ready for tomorrows planting!!

We are growing eight different varieties of capsicum this year -  white, yellow, orange, red, purple, brown and of course green - bell shaped and the Italian longs.  We are also growing several varieties of "frying peppers' who's flavour is enhanced through a quick toss in a hot pan. Some are sweet and make a great addition to pastas, salads and sandwiches and some like the 'Pimiento de Padron' may have a bit of a bite...one of their endearing attributes!  Others can be pickled to enjoy through the Winter.

And we have extended our eggplant varieties as well to include more heirlooms known for their lack of bitterness.  These are great to put on the barbecue or over a fire as well as using them in ratatouille, stir fries and curries.

Eggplant ready to plant out in the field

Eggplant ready to plant out in the field

Capsicums ready for transplanting

Capsicums ready for transplanting

Polytunnel being built in Front Paddock

Polytunnel being built in Front Paddock

new (recycled) polytunnel almost completed and ready for planting this seasons eggplant, capsicums and chillies

new (recycled) polytunnel almost completed and ready for planting this seasons eggplant, capsicums and chillies

The snow peas we want to harvest for Christmas are looking good.  And while the carrots have germinated, we expect them to take off with more warm weather. The beetroot are happy with the cold.  And the potatoes and first bean planting have just started emerging from the soil.

We have been using Biodynamic 501 (ground quartz crystal) which helps plants to tighten their pores (ward off fungal diseases) and supports their use of light!! We hope this will help the tomatoes, garlic, zucchini, and cucumbers ward off any fungal diseases during this moist and cool Spring. And have continued to use Biodynamic 500 when we incorporate green manures to help the transformation from organic matter into hummus.

Snow peas and carrots for the Summer Share

Snow peas and carrots for the Summer Share

Applying BD501 in the early morning - Kale and bok choy growing well

Applying BD501 in the early morning - Kale and bok choy growing well

Manadala Fruit Trees, Herbs and Flowers

Manadala Fruit Trees, Herbs and Flowers

Chicken tractors working through the market garden

Chicken tractors working through the market garden

While we attend to the crops, our CSA for the Summer (15 weeks from 30 November - mid March) is filling up with members purchasing their shares through our online shop.  There are 20 CSA shares still available for Wednesday pick up - the Friday/Saturday pick up option has sold out. If you wanted the Friday/Saturday option, you can join for Wednesday and send us an email to go on the wait list for Friday/Saturday.  If a space becomes available, we will let you know. 

We have had many families making small pickup co-ops to share the weekly vegetable collections.  Some have used the Facebook group TRANSITION FARM CSA to find each other.  If you would like to find other families to share the weekly vegetable collection, and use facebook, please find the group and ask to join.  There may be other CSA members in your area. We have members in Balnarring, Merricks, Red Hill, Frankston, Langwarrin, Mt Eliza, Mt Martha, Dromana, Rosebud, Rye, Blairgowrie, Sorrento and Portsea...I could be forgetting a suburb. 

We have a few work share volunteers joining us for the summer share.  A few more would be great!  Our work share volunteers commit to working with us one day a week throughout the 15 week season.  In exchange for their help, they learn alot about our ecosystem and market gardening techniques and leave each week with a box of vegetables.  We have loved working with our work share volunteers and have also loved seeing them branch out...some have started their own market gardens!!  There is more information here...

This season we are focusing on growing higher quality crops - better tomatoes, bigger capsicums, a larger variety of greens and herbs.  We are excited by the variety we are growing and by the challenge of continuing to harvest tasty food grown using biodynamic principles.  We have chosen to try and grow better -as opposed to growing bigger- and are trying to ensure that our precious resources are preserved and enhanced throughout. 

And while I ponder concepts that seem highly managed, I also continue to be amazed at the intricacy of the natural system and inspired to work within it.

Integrated Pest Management...Lady bird in the chervil!

Integrated Pest Management...Lady bird in the chervil!

The bees drinking their honey...and capping virgin comb.  The bees are enjoying the abundance of nectar this season,  We have housed a swarm and are converting two langstroth hives into warre boxes - 4 warre hives on the farm all thriving!!

The bees drinking their honey...and capping virgin comb.  The bees are enjoying the abundance of nectar this season,  We have housed a swarm and are converting two langstroth hives into warre boxes - 4 warre hives on the farm all thriving!!

Peter and I continue to share photos of the farm and thoughts on farming on instagram (@ transitionfarm  and @transitionfarm_robin ) and facebook.  We wonder if home gardens are having an easier time with the frosts and wind.  Here's hoping you have fruit setting, greens thriving and beans and potatoes popping out of the ground!!