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Happy Mother’s Day

Today is windy! I half expect to look out the window and see Robert flying through the air on the end of a strip of black fabric which is supposed to be lying on the ground in the garden! The wind has its purpose of spreading the pollen far and wide and it helps to dry out the gardens. The planting is still going on at full speed. We can see the first potatoes starting to push up through the soil which is a good sign! The spring onions are growing. The carrots are planted, the snow peas are planted—these are direct seeded into the soil, of course. The poles for the deer fence are in the ground . . . small steps!

In time deer fencing will be attached to these seven-foot poles!

We had NO azalea blooms this year which is a good reminder that we don’t always get what we want from Nature! I miss the azaleas; therefore, I am going to attach a photo of our front yard from a GOOD azalea season! Happy Mother’s Day!!

Azaleas from another spring . . .

We have not decided a starting date for the CSA yet. We are waiting until the spring crops are a bit larger to begin. Do not worry! I will contact all CSA Members in due time! Farm shares are still available for the 2021 Harvest Season.

In The Garden TODAY

I want to write about the black fabric which we use in our gardens. This fabric helps retain moisture and keeps the soil warm. The fabric also helps keep down the weeds. We do not spray herbicides. We pull what weeds we can, but are unable to keep up with all of them which explains why our gardens look like such a “mess” come the end of July! I always say our gardens are the prettiest in June and start going downhill after that. The gardens still produce nutritious veggies, of course; but the gardens will not be winners of Home and Garden Awards. Weeds are not all bad since weeds can provide habitat for beneficial insects! Currently, however, we could still win some beautiful garden awards!

Spring Garden Phase I–A Sight To Behold!

Today we did not need to irrigate thanks to the Tuesday rainfall. When we do need to water our gardens, we use an underground, drip irrigation system to conserve the water obtained from our wells. Drip tapes carrying the water run along the side or under the black fabric. In turn, the moisture helps the decomposition of organic matter (weeds), which releases nutrients for plants to take in. The idea is to flow with Nature! Fighting Nature all of the time simply takes too much of our resources. Robert and I need our energy for operating our CSA Farming business.

Ditches r-u-n-n-i-n-g !

Across the ditch from Phase I is Phase II of the Spring Garden. The fabric has been laid in place, but that is all at the moment. Eventually a seven-foot deer fence will surround both Phase I and Phase II. You will see some fields along Cane Creek Road and elsewhere with mounded black plastic in them laid by specialized equipment which is how the commercial tomato farmers do it. Sigh . . . but not us. Once the gardens are tilled, all work is done by manual labor.

Fabric laid for Spring Garden Phase II

It might not look as if any plants have left this staging area, but trust me, more than half of the 15,000 plants started in our greenhouse have moved through this stage and been relocated to the garden soils!

We are pleased with our plants this year!

I am finishing up the last of the lettuces and eggplant in the greenhouse this week. There will still be some more planting to do in there since we start cucumbers and squash plants inside as well–think a ‘head start” for the Summer Gardens!

Nearing the end of this labor stage puts a smile on my face!

Robert and I are happy with how the season is progressing. We do have CSA Farm Shares available for the upcoming season which we trust will be a bountiful one starting in two or three more weeks! We attempt to balance the daily harvests for the sake of the gardens. We will continue to add shares throughout the season as the production allows.

Cane Creek Asparagus & Company CSA

After The Frost

I know people are wondering how we fared during the recent cold temperatures. It usually takes a while to see the end results. (Isn’t there patience required in most things?!) However, it appears we had only a slight amount of damage in our Spring Garden. Some of the outer leaves were “burned,” but all in all we will survive! For the most part, the center leaves are green and alive which means the plants will continue to grow. I wish the same could be said for our apple trees, blueberry bushes, and my white azaleas.

Saturday’s rain meant we were unable to do any planting outside, but there is still plenty of what needs to be accomplished on our small, family farm. We continue to work toward being to fill our CSA Boxes for our farm share members–sometime in May!

No photos today . . . please read my last post for recent farm photos!

Perfect April Weather

The Redbud–a charming, native tree

The daffodils are long gone. The Redbuds are in full bloom. The dogwoods and azaleas will be next as Spring 2021 marches forward. Some people might be unhappy that the weather turned cooler, but for your CSA Farmers this is a perfect and proper April for growing our Spring Garden! As Plant Parents, we move into high gear preparing for a whirlwind season!

Step One–tilling while always being aware of the hose bibs!

The gardens have all been tilled and some of the fabric laid and part of the drip irrigation system put into place. That is the thing with gardening . . . everything must be taken down in the fall and then reassembled in the Spring; but we are well on our way! Multi-tasking and an abundance of energy are a must.

Black fabric and drip irrigation being laid in place

Thousands of plants have been staged out of the climate-controlled greenhouse over the last couple of weeks so they can slowly acclimate to the real world of direct sunshine, wind, rain, and varying temperatures.

Greenhouse “babies” acclimating to the “real world” environment

At the same time, thousands of plants have been already transplanted into the gardens. We are seeing strong root systems and the weather is perfect which means the plants will grow quickly into all those greens which make the first salads! We are hoping that the freezing temperatures do not last long tonight–for the sake of the apple trees and the blueberry bushes! The wind is blowing which will help to keep the frost at bay and our garden is located in a valley. Also, the black fabric will retain some of today’s sun heat which will also help our plants to stay warm (we trust).

First plants transplanted to the gardens

We are not finished with the greenhouse seedbeds either. There are still thousands of seeds awaiting planting and transplanting into their individual pots, however, at least the end of this work is now in sight. Most recently I worked on eggplant and bell peppers; but if you look at the Harvest Calendar, you will see these crops are destined to be part of our August vegetables. Growing a serious garden takes planning, preparation, labor, and time!

How soon until this is a head of broccoli that I can eat?!

Robert and I have been quite busy in April which one might gather by my lack of posting! We trust that in four or five weeks we will have fresh, local, organic veggies to begin filling our CSA Boxes! I will send a direct email to each CSA Member when it is time to start vegetable pickups/deliveries. And once the CSA begins, I will post every week so that our CSA Members have an idea of what to expect in their veggie box.

I am always happy to speak with perspective CSA Members! We do have farm shares available for the 2021 Harvest Season of mid-May through October. We would love to have your family join us! Sign up now for what we trust will be spectacular, healthy seasonal eating in 2021.

Plant Parents

For Robert and I houseplants have always been a thing. We have one plant that is over forty years old. We do not know its exact age. Apparently 2020 was the year many more people became Plant Parents.  Unfortunately, most people don’t consider the needs of plants when they make their purchase.  Someone calculated that 67% of millennials say that plant care is harder than they figured it would be. Don’t we know it!  We now have over 13,000 babies in our greenhouse and more are on the way. One might assume that we are “professionals” when it comes to growing plants (and gardening), but nothing could be further from the truth.  Every year we learn something new! And every year we are given some new challenge in dealing with our Plant Children!

I did learn from the above mentioned survey that more than 50% of gardeners talk to their plants.  We do talk to our plants and I play music for them, too.  Apparently, talking to one’s plants helps to lower stress levels (of the parents for sure, but perhaps for the plants as well).  I think music aids in the plant’s growth and thus play a wide range of music genres.  The survey said 43% of plant people have named their plants; but with our large and growing “family,” we do not assign names.  Although, we did gift an avocado plant to our son and his family named it “The Little Professor.” Two-thirds of the people in this survey were growing some edible plants.  Now this is something I understand!

Seedbeds awaiting transplant into individual pots.

Speaking of always learning something new . . . do you see the silver trays in the photo? This year Robert came up with the idea of using these trays at our workstations to help contain the soil spillage. I cannot believe it took us twenty-eight years to come up with this idea! It really does work. Anything that makes “clean up” and “keeping clean” easier is something I am in favor of implementing.

Here is an interesting factoid. More than half of the fruit and nearly one-third of the vegetables consumed by Americans are imported! I find this to be a distressing thought. If you want to support local farms and local food, join a CSA. Any CSA! Or get to the nearest tailgate market. We need to keep as much food as possible LOCAL.

We do have shares available for the 2021 Harvest Season. Here is the link to sign up!

Strawberries

Cane Creek left its banks last evening which means Robert spent the day making sure the ditches were all flowing at capacity and adding new ditches where necessary. Ditch Digging, in other words! We farm in the fertile, bottom lands of Cane Creek Valley. Water management is always a top priority. If we must have this much rain at one time, this month (or before) is when we want it. Certainly NOT once we have transplanted our precious plants into the gardens!

There are now over 9,000 plants in our greenhouse with more seedbeds started and hundreds more plants on the way. This is a very busy time of the year. Actually, all seasons of the year are busy for us! But this particular month comes after the December thru February “winter break” which adds more emphasis to the workload.

Our front yard grows strawberries as well as flowers. We started out with a neat six-foot circle a few years ago, but now strawberries are growing everywhere—like weeds. One would think with so many plants I would be able to have fresh berries on my salads and even for dessert. Unfortunately, the wildlife seem to get the majority of our berries! This year we are seriously attempting another “squirrel relocation” project. Robert is capturing the critters in have-a-heart traps and relocating them to another parcel of property with woods and a pond. Nearly twenty have been relocated thus far. They should be very happy at their new home; and hopefully, we will get some strawberries for our mouths this season. We saw the very first white strawberry blossom yesterday!

Speaking of strawberries, I understand Florida is growing a new strawberry variety which it hopes to harvest between December and April before the California strawberries are ready for market. The new berry is white with a pink blush when ripened. The “white berry” is said to be very sweet and have a dense texture and a unique taste with a hint of pineapple scent—which explains why it is sometimes called a “pineberry.”

Only a few trials are being marketed as of now—one by Wish Farms under the name of “Pink-A-Boo” berries. I seriously doubt any will make their way to Asheville this year, but keep your eyes open just the same!  Europe and Japan have been commercially growing a related variety which commands “gourmet” prices.  FYI:  wild, white strawberries originated in Chile in the 1700’s. There is always something new under the sun!

We do have CSA farm share memberships available for the 2021 Harvest Season. You can find the sign up form on the Join Our CSA page. It is time to make Local Food commitments!

Our Greenhouse Babies

We have been busy since I last posted. Those seedlings too tiny to see (as of today 4,220 to be exact–yes, we count each and every one!) are growing quite nicely with strong root systems and are happily transplanted into their individual pots of soil. Each seedling we pray and trust will become a vegetable item for our CSA Boxes. Thus far, we have red and green cabbage, kohlrabi, choi, broccoli and cauliflower. We are frequently asked if these seedlings are our “babies.” The answer is a resounding YES! They require constant attention with regard to temperature and moisture regulation. They are the first thing attended to in the morning and the last thing attended to in the evening.

The process is just getting started and is the first step involved in having the veggies we will one day pack into the CSA Boxes of our farm share members. We have room for another 4,000 plants at this moment. Once that goal is reached some of the oldest “babies” will be ready to move outside of the climate controlled nursery to a location where they can begin to get acclimated to the “real world” of direct sunlight and wind. We are doing our best to raise strong “children” plants which we are optimistic will produce nutritious, seasonal gourmet vegetables!

This is an exciting time of the year for us! A season of renewal and hope and growth. As I look out of the greenhouse windows, I see yellow daffodils dotting the front landscape. The sun is warm on my back–not oppressively hot yet, just exceedingly pleasant. This is the best time of the year to be working in the greenhouse.

We do have CSA farm share memberships available for the 2021 Harvest Season. You can find the sign up form on the Join Our CSA page. We would love to have you join our Tribe of Veggie Lovin’ CSA Members! Submit the form and I will get back to you within 24-hours by email to let you know you are definitely in our CSA. And Happy Spring! By necessity, we start Spring early on our small, family farm in Fairview!

Spidermen At Work

I snapped a photo of the workers on our greenhouse roof today. If you look closely, you can see the giant suction cups which are required for them to carefully move around. This is not a job for the faint of heart! When exhaust fans need to be replaced or a seal repaired, it takes special equipment to move around two stories up on the glass rooftop of our greenhouse.

Our Super Heros are Bill and Will Kater of Pool Enclosures, Inc. All of the greenhouse maintenance is complete and our tractors have been serviced. We are ready to begin the season! Many seed beds have been started and the first seeds are starting to poke their heads up from the soil; right now they are so tiny I cannot even show them in a photo! Stay tuned. I will post more photos soon to show you the progress of our “babies” which will eventually fill your CSA Boxes and tummies!

In the meantime, here is a photo of our evening meal. Broccoli, cauliflower, tatsoi quiche cake, and Eggplant Parmesan–all from our 2020 harvest and freezer stash. Properly prepared and stored, these veggies taste like they were just harvested! However, it is 2021 and time to clear items out and get ready for a new crop of seasonal gourmet vegetables. Now this is some healthy eating!

Farm shares are available! We are currently accepting new CSA Members for the 2021 Harvest Season!!

The Forecast Is Always Bright

The weather is always changing, but the forecast is always bright. That’s the way we try to roll–looking on the bright side of life! There is no point in stressing over the things one cannot control. Such behavior will only make one anxious and there are enough anxious events and people in the world right now. Robert and I trust the boxes of veggies we harvest for our CSA Members will provide positive energy and be nurturing, nutritious, and joyful. If this is what we can do, then our Mission is being accomplished!

Our greenhouse is ready to go into full production! Seed beds to transplants to the gardens to the harvest to the CSA Boxes to kitchen tables throughout Buncombe and Henderson Counties. Crop production takes many steps, lots of hard work, planning and luck! Pray for a bountiful season!!

If you are looking for a family-operated CSA farm, we would love to have you join us.  Just fill out the Join Our CSA form on our website. We will get back to you with a Welcome Email as soon as possible so you know that you are “IN” our CSA Family.

We are so ready for spring to arrive . . .

Hopeful and Optimistic

I read an interesting article today about the difference between hope and optimism. In a nutshell is said that optimism is expecting good things will happen and hope is the expectation that one can make good things happen. Getting into the “weeds” of the subject, the author said optimists tend to deny or avoid negative information. I have a sign which has hung in every home I have made. It says “Optimist On Duty!” And yes, as farmers we MUST deny and avoid negative information in order to even proceed with our occupation each spring. Otherwise, weeds, insect pests, blight, fungus, drought, excessive rainfall, heat, cold, frost, wildlife . .. . the list goes on and on as to the amount of negativity which could possibly deter us from even planting a crop! Bottom Line: Robert and I are both hopeful and optimistic that each year will be a bountiful growing and harvest season!

As you go through your life in the crazy world we are living in, keep these distinctions between hope and optimism in mind. The future is always uncertain and has been since the dawn of time. However, with uncertainty comes possibilities and the ability to be a part of something bigger than oneself. On our small, family farm, we say “come on!” to the negative possibilities. We shall struggle through and believe that we are capable of achieving our goal of growing a bountiful crop despite the challenges Mother Nature delivers. And we wish you hope and optimism in dealing with whatever situations you are facing in your life!

We have been farming and operating CaneCreekCSA aka Cane Creek Asparagus & Company along Cane Creek since 1993. CSA is all we do. No wholesale. No tailgate marketing. If you have been sitting on the sidelines and thinking about joining a CSA, now is the time to do so. Why? Because NOW is the time when we farmers are planning for the 2021 Harvest Season and preparing to begin our greenhouse work so we can have a crop in mid- to late-May! I have been preparing the greenhouse and today we had the glass roof resealed. Spiderman with giant suction cups! You can see a photo of him at work on the Resource Conservation page of the website. Soon we shall begin our seedbeds . . .