Suddenly Summer

by Doug Muller

One reason I love the northeast is a day like today. Spring had been plodding along, coolish, slower than usual, and then--with little warning--a solid blast of warmth soars up on southern winds. It's so nice to remember--so solidly, so immediately--that the easy days of open windows and green-covered landscapes are real. They really do exist--and not just in Florida! The Hudson Valley has officially embarked on its six-month stint of growing weather. Welcome!

Things around the farm are crazy busy right now. Luckily (sort of) sales have slowed a bit, so we're able to tackle the many tasks that need attention: building a critter fence, repairing the deer fence, keeping hundreds of seedlings alive, and tilling, amending, shaping, and sowing countless beds of crops. It's a great change from developing the website, processing orders, and driving around to markets... It's been especially pleasant to be laboring outdoors the past few fair-weather days, and I believe my ruddy summer "tan" is returning already. (Alright, that's a fib--I actually got my inaugural burn a couple days ago and spent a good chunk of the brightest hours of today cleaning out the barn, safely out of the rays...)

Of course, those slowing sales also make us a bit nervous about the impending close of our money-making period, so we're bandying about ideas for how to make some cash over the summer months. We're considering putting up a vegetable stand at the front of the property (on Mettacahonts Road, in Accord) and trying out a farmers market or two, but we're not sure yet if we'll have enough produce to sell beyond what we're growing for our seed crop. We shall see...

What's to sow now? Lots! You've still got time to sow tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, though the window for pepper and eggplant sowings closes by the first of May. Tomatoes for a late crop can be sown throughout May with satisfactory results as long as you're sowing an early-maturing variety such as New Yorker; other varieties can be sown until mid-May with success. Ready to direct sow? The window has opened for sowing lettuce, mesclun (like our Ultimate Salad Bowl, which we've run out of and will be replacing with a simple lettuce mix), radishes, spinach (a week or two left), carrots, parsnips, turnips, parsley, cilantro, chives, and chard. Frost is certainly still possible--and likely. In the Mid-Hudson Valley, the average last frost date falls around Mother's Day--tender crops can be direct sown about week after that. But keep an eye on the forecast; last year a late frost hit during the third week of May.

I'm aiming to fix the comments on here soon. I'll post as soon as it's fixed.

Stay seedy! --Doug