Ever wonder why some of your favorite gardening/farming magazines only produce 11 issue a year with June and July being a combined issue? It certainly isn’t because they have nothing to write about. Could it be that some of the best contributor are growers and farmers alike? And that their busiest time of year to work the land is, well, summer time?
It occurred to me this past growing season that my available writing time was at a bare minimum. I am by no means one of the best growers or writers but I do know that once the temperature started to rise above 55-60, I was switching my inside pleasures for outdoor ones.
The growing season here in Maine is relatively short compared to other parts of the country but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until Memorial Day weekend to plant your garden. Last winter, I spent a lot of time exploring extended season growing. It involved hoop houses, caterpillar tunnels, determining seed varieties and quantities, seed starting dates, maturity dates, fertilizing schedules, insect controls and marketing.
As I planned a schedule for myself built around the available time I had outside of my day job, I managed to start my growing season in March instead of late May-early June. My goal was to have produce ready for the farmer’s market in early May. Despite the roller-coaster ride the weather took us on last Spring, I hit the first farmer’s market in Sanford with fresh salad greens, radishes, chives, tarragon and oregano.
From there it went on with a weekly supply of salad greens, kale, tomatoes, cukes, peppers, summer squash, garlic scapes, snap peas, green beans, potatoes, melons and squash. For my first year at marketing, it was a great success. I surpassed my goal two times.
Note: I completed the marketing research as part of the Farms for Maine’s Future business grant Rivard Farm received in 2011. StuCroft Farm (my farm) sold produce grown in Acton, Maine. Rivard Farm sold tomatoes and berries from the family farm in Springvale, Maine.
Below are photos from the Farmer’s Market and Growing Season 2012 year in review.
As I write this post in mid January 2013, I realize that it won’t be long before I fill the seed trays with potting soil and start dropping in tiny seeds for a new year of growing. I would like to say that I will have time in the coming months to keep you updated but somehow, I know that the pleasures of writing will succumb to the demands of growing produce. I’ll do my best.
Best Wishes for the New Year! Diane
PS. Stay tuned for some great news from Rivard Farm!