Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bad Crows, Good Rhubarb and Nasty Nettles

First planting of corn is finally in.  Last years weather was similar to what we are experiencing this year with below average temperatures.   Last year  I put an  early planting in but the second planting caught up with the first while the weeds went crazy in the cold damp conditions.  This year I just couldn’t see the right weather window and held back and now we are at the now or never stage so in it goes.  11 rows or Xtra Tender Super Sweet bicolor and 10 rows of Vision Super Sweet Bicolor all a 1000 feet long.  I will plant at least the same again in 10 days or so.  Our experience here in Pemberton is that planting any later than early June rarely gets you a harvestable crop and this year is starting off to be below average.
Bad Crow

The crows have taken a liking to fresh fava bean tips.  Once we walked the planting to see why the germination was so poor it quickly became clear that the birds had been waiting for a salad treat.  There was ample evidence to be found  and we even saw the culprits at work. They would pull the recently sprouted seeds out of the ground, snap the sprout off the seed which they left on the ground and crunched through the tender sprout.  Tomorrow the plan is to hoe the areas that were savaged for weed seedlings then replant.  It will make harvest a challenge as plants in the same block will be ready at different times but I don’t want to till the whole thing and start again.  It’s funny that the crows didn’t go after the peas the same way and they are planted right side by side.  The green, yellow, purple and shelling beans are in the beds adjacent and are just now breaking ground.  We may have to take action.  We shall see.
Good Rhubarb
The Rhubarb is looking like it enjoys a cool spring.  Tall, red, thick and crunchy, its in its prime and ready to go.  Think about putting some away in the freezer right now for use all year.  $2.49 per pound for a certified organic best ever first of the season rhubarb.  It will serve you well all year.  Discounts on orders of 100lbs or more.  The Pemberton Distillery  http://www.pembertondistillery.ca/contact.html has created a North Arm Rhubarb Liqueur which has the most fantastic magenta colour.  It looks surreal and very “sippable”.  We will have to wait another month for not only the rhubarb but also the North Arm strawberry, raspberry and blueberry liqueurs from Pemberton’s one and only boutique  Distillery.  Check out the distillery tours then come across the highway and have lunch at the Farm.  Now there’s a treat.
Hops shoot are available this week but I am not sure they will be harvestable much longer.  I didn’t hear from anybody about dried hops. Any interest?
Nasty Nettles
The nettles are still holding out but picking that patch is brutal.  I was using fingerless gloves last week while harvesting and was being careful but getting speared is inevitable.  Well, I have never felt such sustained and painful irritation that lasted for several days and was especially bad when washed.  When you look at the sting nettle “hairs” magnified and think about them breaking off punctured deep into your skin, it becomes less surprising. Full finger gloves for me this week.
Spinach is looking good as would be expected in a cold damp spring but is still a couple of weeks away.
I will be tweeting out some pictures of the farm this week so sign up if you like.  http://twitter.com/#!/northarmfarm

Have a great week.

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