Posts Tagged 'freezes'

…aaaand, we’re BACK!

After a dormancy approaching 2 years (really? really!! time flies!), I realized it’s time to crank up this blog again – just in time for the new season.  We didn’t REALLY fall off the face of the earth. We’ve continued to send out emails, and have been active on Facebook, with some Tweeting thrown in from time to time, but I know that a number of our fans don’t “do” Facebook, not everyone is on our email list, and many don’t appreciate being bombarded with constant emails. So, I’m brushing off the rust, oiling the gears…ready to blog it!

Lots of things have happened in the intervening months. It’s the cycle of  life on a farm – preparing, planting crops, weeding, harvesting, selling, delivering, removing, recharging, then starting all over again. And in between each one, there’s weeding, dealing with unexpected stuff – sometimes good, sometimes not – more weeding, and in the summer, mowing and mowing and mowing – oh, and weeding! Then somewhere in the mix, throw in a crop of baby chicks to replenish the flock, after decimation by coyote and feral dogs… yep, life on the farm is NEVER boring.

Bee Heaven Farm collage

Last year on the farm

We saw new markets start, and others die out. The Homestead Market at Losner Park and the Overtown Market on 10th Street did not return in 2011-2012, and were sorely missed. But the slightly less hectic pace let us concentrate on the Pinecrest Gardens Green Market, where we had a great season. We’ll be back in Pinecrest in December.

Last year we started using Farmigo’s  CSA software system. We’ve fully automated our CSA enrollment process and are now able to offer more flexibility with share options and payment plans. In the summertime, when the CSA isn’t running and we don’t sell at the farmers market, we’ve always had a prepaid system (open to anyone) to order seasonal summer items – mainly tropical fruit. We implemented Farmigo’s webstore functions for this, and expanded our summer pickup locations to include the Upper Eastside Market, where our more northerly customers could pick up their orders without having to schlep down to Joanna’s Marketplace in the Dadeland area or to the farm in Redland. That’s worked out really well!

Our CSA options expanded last year, with the discovery of locally-grown Sem-Chi certified organic rice right in the Clewiston area barely 100 miles from the farm, and the debut of local salt farmers Midge & Tom with their Florida Keys Sea Salt. As more local organic (or pesticide-free) producers come online, we continue to develop additional stability and more variety in the shares.  We’re always looking for new crops, too. We have an amazing opportunity in South Florida to explore tropical food crops not available in the rest of mainland USA, and we’re all about that! Of course, Mother Nature always has the last word.

…see you around!

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After the freezess

We took the row covers off today.  What the bitter wind didn’t burn, the freeze did. We had frost on Monday morning and again, briefly but unexpected,  on Wednesday morning.

Many of the bean plants are fried.

beans, after the freeze

bean rows after the freeze

There are a few beans hanging on, and some flowers, but we’ve lost so much leaf cover that what remains may not recover. We’ll water sparingly to avoid more stress, and see what happens.

Even under cover, the tops of most of the tomato plants froze.
frozen tomato plants

tomato plants after the freeze

We were already harvesting some cherry tomatoes, and most of those fell off the plants. We collected them today, and will bring them to market- time to make Green Tomato Jam! The larger tomatoes are still on the plants, in various stages of sizing up. We’ll see what happens with them.

The brassicas as a whole, as well as the chard and carrots, fared much better. They’re bright and perky, as you can see here. But look closely to the right and the left and you’ll see burnt banana leaves and bronzed guava leaves. The greener trees in the background are avocados, which seem for the most part OK- a little bronzing on some top leaves.

happy carrots after the freeze

As ready as we can get…

Undercover Heirloom bean plants

… for the threatening freezes. Last weekend, we covered the tomatoes, beans, basil and some of the peppers & eggplant in anticipation of frosty weather. So far, we’ve been lucky. Cloud cover has moderated the temperatures, so if there has been any patchy frost, it’s been fleeting. We still have this coming weekend to worry about, making this the longest ever spell of continuous cold weather that I can recall (and I grew up here-since I was 8). We’ll know the final outcome next week. But, usually, we’re not in the clear until the end of February- so, we’ll keep our fingers crossed!


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