2013 Oxbow Winter Newsletter #2 – Putting the farm to bed for the winter

The days are getting shorter, colder and wetter… and it’s getting harder to get out of bed in the morning. That means it is time to start putting the farm to bed for the winter. Generally there is lots to do to prepare the farm for the freezing and flooding that lurks in our future from now until March. With another winter store a ‘brewing, and a threat of a 56’ flood next Sunday we have a LOT to do to get the farm and fields ready.
The plastic has to come off all the tomato hoop houses so snow and wind don’t take them down. Irrigation pipe has been pulled up and our pumps have been brought in from the river, and all has been stored in high ground. All of the farm equipment has to be winterized and moved to the ‘critter pad’ — the highest spot on the property and above the flood zone. A 56 foot flood has water well in the barn, so everything there has to be put up on shelves at least 4’ off the ground.
Next week will be a flurry of activity as we prepare for the first flood of the season. The crew will be rushing to harvest roots crops and winter squashes and get them stored in the barn for our winter CSA, for sale at Ballard farmers market and to restaurants through December. We’ll also lay heavy plastic over our gravel driveway, secured with sandbags, to keep the gravel road from being washed away. We already done a lot on to get equipment and supplies stored away for winter, but there is ALWAYS more to do…And did I mention that the days are shorter, colder and wetter?? Not the kind of days you really want to be outside working, but the crew is soldiering on to get it all done before winter hits us HARD.
For the crops still growing, we have floating row cover over our tender lettuces and emerging broccoli to keep freeze from damaging them before we can harvest.  Our last succession of Carrots is planted in high ground, so hopefully the flood waters won’t get to them next week, and we can continue to deliver freshly harvest roots into December. Fingers crossed! We are also working on getting all fields under the protection of cover crop… more on that next week. In the meantime stay warm, dry and safe and enjoy a big bowl of soup.

Luke, Adam, Sarah, Megan, Bridget, Tino, Yolanda, Valentin, Julio-Cesar,Mike, Marianna, Lisa, Alice, Sarah D, Dana, Joshua, Arwen, Grace, Brandon, (and our inspiration Pearl, Emuna, Avi Ray & Zoe Rose).