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Phosphorus and the Spoils of War

Image: Greg Westfall (https://www.flickr.com/photos/imagesbywestfall/5855284480)

Image: Greg Westfall (https://www.flickr.com/photos/imagesbywestfall/5855284480)

Phosphorus can be a limiting factor in crop yield here in the Pacific Northwest, as in agriculture globally. But OSU is now broadly recommending that organic farmers watch their phosphorus inputs. In consulting with our local farmers, they often find that phosphorus has routinely been kept too high. (Their new recommendation is to keep P < 50ppm.)

What are the risks of over-applying phosphorus? After all, a plant does not uptake it excessively. However, runoff and leaching of phosphorus damages our waterways and aquatic life. It causes eutrophication, or hypoxia. One very visible example of this is the dieoff in the Gulf of Mexico. Read about it here, from the NOAA.

Additionally, there is the question of sourcing our phosphorus. The phosphorus cycle in our environment is very slow, comparatively speaking. It does not enter the atmosphere, but cycles from the soil into mineral and animal forms (bones). What this means is that the phosphorus that leaches or runs off from our soils does not return to its rock form for generations, becoming lost to us as a fertilizing agent. Soft rock phosphate is a non-renewable resource, like fossil fuels, and we can only mine it for so long before it is gone. Synthetic triple superphosphates depend on soft rock phosphate, from which they are made. Already, concerns about its scarcity have ignited geopolitical conflict in the Western Sahara, where most of the world’s reserves are found. (Substantial deposits in Australia and Florida have mitigated the alarm over peak phosphorus.)

But there are alternatives to soft rock phosphate and its synthetic progeny, triple superphosphate. Phosphorus is also available in a so-called “recycled” form in amendments like bone meal and fish bone meal. In fact, pound-for-pound, this phosphorus is generally more affordable than soft rock phosphate. Further, being derived from animal material rather than rock, it is more readily and quickly available to plants, meaning it is more appropriate for our purposes. And finally, it saves us from mining more of the rock out of the ground, getting more mileage from the phosphate we have already mined by reusing it.

Bones have been an source of phosphorus since ancient times. Mesoamerican and Mesopotamian archaeology attests to the practice of calcinating an enemy’s skeleton for use as a whitewash or fertilizer– consider Amos 2:1. Ancient cultures seemed to have some understanding that battlefields, watered with blood and dusted with bones, held extra fertility. And in the 19th century, England ran a bustling trade in the post-battle market for human bones, whether the source was Waterloo post-Napoleon, or Egypt’s catacombs. See this article from 1829, scroll down to “traffic in human bones.”

How much phosphorus do you apply? Do certain crops respond more than others? What amendments provide it on your farms? What arrangements have you made for the disposal of your skeleton?

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Managing nutrients for soil health

Some of us from Concentrates were recently at a public workshop with Dan Sullivan and Nick Andrews from OSU, about nutrient management for organic farmers. It helped us dial-in some of our soil test interpretation, something we commonly help our customers with.

Turns out that most veggie farms are maintaining excessive phosphorus levels. Phosphorus runoff contributes to die-off in our waterways–the dead spot in the Gulf of Mexico is from phosphorus runoff. They advised that 50 ppm is an adequate phosphorus level.

As far as potassium, it can easily get too high with the application of manure or certain composts. Potassium is one of the nutrients that a plant will “accumulate,” meaning they will keep on taking more even when they don’t need it, even to the detriment of other nutrients, like magnesium. Symptoms of a magnesium deficiency can be present when potassium is in excess, even though adequate magnesium is in the soil. Potassium levels are adequate at 200 ppm.

Sulfur is hard to test for, since much of it is stored in the organic matter, but lab analyses do not account for this portion of the overall sulfur. That being said, they felt comfortable advising the application of sulfur if the soil test indicates less than 20 ppm. Sulfur is very affordable as gypsum, and applying it generously is not a risky proposition. A surplus of sulfur or calcium in the soil won’t affect the plant; nor does it become a gas; nor do they leach readily.

Calcium and magnesium are rarely deficient. As we said above, symptoms of magnesium “deficiency” are often from a potassium excess; likewise, symptoms of calcium “deficiency” are often in fact a nitrogen excess, or due to uneven watering. If a soil test in fact indicates a magnesium deficiency (<120 ppm), applying 10-20# Mg can be helpful.

Boron is deficient in most of our soils here in the Willamette Valley, but a boron deficiency only presents acute problems for certain crops– beets and brassicas, especially. For those crops, an indicated deficiency can be remedied by applying 1-3# boron/acre. We carry small units of Solubor (20.5% boron) for adding this boron as a foliar spray; or, you can get a similar effect with a healthy dose of kelp meal or Azomite, trace mineral sources high in boron.

Nitrogen is a complicated question, involving assessing the nitrogen values from your cover crops, as well as any contributions you might expect from your years of building organic matter. OSU has conducted tests and reached the conclusion that the best way to factor for nitrate from organic matter is to conduct nitrate tests throughout the season–once, when the crop in question has a few true leaves, and again at the end of the season but before winter rains.

We send our soils off to a lab for analysis, and the lab prints their own recommendations at the bottom of the page. But Dan and Nick reviewed that these recommendations are not in sync with OSU’s decades of research for our region–sometimes, they recommend excessive applications; sometimes, inadequate. So we use the thresholds endorsed by the land-grant universities and their research to dial-in our own advice.

Dan and Nick dismissed the value of evaluating cation ratios, or as a percentage of the saturation of the CEC.

Go to the next level by reading OSU’s publications–

1. Nutrient management for Sustainable Vegetable Systems

2. Applying Lime to Raise Soil pH (Western Oregon)

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Fall Task List

Fall is a transitional time, meant to chase us out of the fields and slow down the constant intensity of planting, harvest, rotation, and irrigation. The rains return, and when we find a moment between pulling winter squash, corn and dry beans from the field, we forage for the fruits of our lush, mycorrhizal soils. Chanterelles, King Boletes, Lobster mushrooms run rampant this time of year. Now is the last window to get in cover crops, and if we miss it, to mulch any bare soil. 

October

Harvesting

  • Annuals: Chicory, radicchio, beets, carrots, turnips, napa cabbage, winter squash, collards, kale, spigarello, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, mustard greens, lettuce, chard, spinach, pak choi, celery, celeriac, leeks, scallions, potatoes, sunchokes, salsify, scorzonera, burdock root
  • The last of cucumbers, melons, eggplants, paste tomatoes, hot peppers – get them in before our first frost!
  • Perennials: Apples, figs, persimmon, quince, pears
  • Forage: Chanterelles

Storage

  • Store garlic below 40F or above 56F, never between 40 and 50F.
  • Harvest and cure winter squash: Acorn (pepo) types (stem still green, ground spot “earthy” or orange), store 1-4 months; Maximas (stem 75% corky) store 3-5 months; Moschatas (peanut colored skin, no mottling or streaks) store 4-8 months, or more. Low humidity and high temperature (60 degrees, or above). Leave on live vines as long as possible, avoiding frost on fruits. Cut leaving long stem using pruners; handle gently. (sourced from Pam Dawling’s Complete Twin Oaks Garden Task List)

Planting

  • Alliums: Garlic, Onions, Shallots
  • Overwintering Fava beans
  • Overwintering grains: Barley, Rye, Spelt, Triticale, Wheat
  • Flower bulbs
  • Get your cover crops in by early October

Infrastructure

  • Pull drip tape out of field and store
  • Install and/or secure season extension structures, greenhouses, low tunnels, cloches
  • Put row cover out over cold sensitive crops
  • Pull trellises out of field and store
  • Erect low tunnels out of electrical conduit hoops and 4-6mm polyfilm and/or 9mm wire hoops and row cover for cold protection

Bed Prep

  • Cut all warm-season crops down to soil level and leave the root buried to decompose, releasing enzymes to the soil’s microbial community.
  • Mulch bare soil with compost, leaves, straw, fermented alfalfa hay, etc.
  • Weed, fertilize and mulch berries and perennials.
  • If you practice tarping/occulation, lay your plastic mulch and sandbag every four feet.

Soil health

  • Liming–and the application of other rock flours, like gypsum–can be done at this point, to allow for these slow-release amendments to incorporate into the soil.
  • Take a nitrate test at the end of harvest, but before winter rains, to calibrate next year’s nitrogen application. This is the best way to know if you are overapplying nitrogen.

Crop Planning

  • Get soil tests done before soil gets too wet.
  • Sign up for seed catalog delivery – a lot of seed companies have their inventory online, but how nostalgic is it to cozy up with your favorite seed catalogs?
  • Gather harvest totals from the previous season and plug in to your planting calculations for next year. Josh Volk is a great resource for record keeping and developing an effective crop plan – check out this article he wrote for Growing For Market. He has some other useful ones on the Q&A section of his website joshvolk.com.

Animals

  • Muck stalls at least once a week during rainy months

November

Harvesting

  • Annuals: Chicory, raddichio, beets, carrots, turnips, napa cabbage, winter squash, collards, kale, spigarello, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, mustard greens, lettuce, chard, spinach, pak choi, celeriac, leeks, scallions, scorzonera, salsify, burdock root, sunchoke, pull all potatoes out before rains set in
  • Perennial herbs

Planting

  • If you haven’t yet plant your alliums: Garlic, Onions, Shallots

Infrastructure

  • Check low tunnels, high tunnels and greenhouses for adequate circulation
  • Make sure ends of plastic and row cover are adequately weighed down by sand bags, soil, etc.
  • Turn off all water and irrigation sources at risk of freezing
  • Gather old trellising, t-posts, irrigation, and rowcover.

Winter growing

  • Are your greenhouses being fully utilized? Take the time to plan for next year’s overwintering crops. Vacant greenhouses can have their film removed, so that soluble salt buildup is leached by winter rains.
  • Consider applying an extra layer of rowcover to crops inside your greenhouse, or a second layer of film and a blower, for extra insulation.

Bed Prep

  • Expect our first frost during this month and protect your plants accordingly.
  • Mulch garlic
  • Spread lime or gypsum as indicated by soil test.
  • Mulch bare soil with compost, leaves, straw, fermented alfalfa hay, etc.
  • Prune back dead asparagus tops and mulch with leaves or other mulch.
  • Weed, fertilize and mulch berries and perennials.

Crop Planning

  • Go through seed packets and determine viability. High Mowing Seeds has a great chart to help you figure out which seeds have a few years left.
  • Accumulate past year’s harvest totals.

Animals

  • Muck stalls at least once a week during rainy months
  • Pull feed buckets and water troughs out of fields and sanitize.
  • If keeping a water source in the field, use a tank deicer to keep water available.
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Summer Task List

  • Perform a mid-season nitrate test
  • Summer cover crops, like buckwheat and sorghum/sudangrass, should be incorporated just as they begin flowering.
  • Fungal and disease control may involve spraying. Do you have your emulsifiers and sticker-spreaders? Are your sprayers in working order? Are you stocked-up on neem oil and other sprays?
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Spring Task List

April

Harvesting

Perennial Maintenance

  • Apply Michael Phillips holistic spray, consisting of pure neem oil, liquid fish, effective microbes, and seaweed extract. From his book The Holistic Orchard, “The fatty oils in the fish and neem fuel microorganism colonization on the leaf surface…Other constituents in the neem oil coat insect eggs tucked into bark crevices and get ingested by larvae feeding directly on the tree, which causes the molting cycle of certain pests to crash.”

Infrastructure

Crop Planning

  • Summer cover crops: Buckwheat, sorghum-sudan, sudangrass, for added organic matter and weed suppression.

Bed Prep

  • Cover crop mowing and incorporation takes place when they first begin flowering. Consider submitting a cover crop analysis to OSU’s Central Analytic Lab. Sampling and lab submission instructions here.
  • Amend your fields as you prepare for planting. Consider soil temperature when timing your nitrogen application: remember than the phase of rapid N uptake, which varies by species, is about four weeks from germination; but nitrogen does not mineralize very quickly in cold soils. Give your amendments time to become available, or plan to use highly soluble sources like fish emulsion.
  • Spreaders should be calibrated and maintained.

Propagation

  • Source/purchase/organize your potting soil(s) and germinating mixes, or their components.
  • Gather and inspect your trays, source/purchase as needed.
  • Organize your work area and tools–dibblers, seeders, mixing equipment, writing implements, record-keeping paperwork, tray labels, heat mats/lights, wicking irrigation.
  • Compost tea can efficiently be applied to starts as you water them. Does your brewer work, and do you have the ingredients on hand? Molasses, worm castings?
  • Do you fertigate your seedlings? Gather your fish emulsion, or other soluble nitrogen source.
  • Do you provide trace minerals and myco inoculants? Gather your kelp emulsion and mycorrhizal inoculants for a pre-transplant dunk.
  • Tomatillo, ground cherry, cucumber, melons, pumpkin, summer squash, winter squash, basil, globe amaranth, tithonia, amaranth

Planting in the Ground

  • Carrots, chervil, dill, fennel, leeks, onions, lovage, parsnip, parsley, arugula, broccoli, cress, kohlrabi, radish, turnip, chois, beets, chard, spinach, quinoa, orach, burdock, lettuce, sunchoke, salsify, scorzonera, shungiku, peas, anise hyssop, sorrel, potatoes, cabbage, purslane, calendula, nasturtium, flax, cosmos, zinnia, sunflowers
  • Calibrate and maintain your bed marking tools

Animals

  • Check all new animals delivered on-farm for overall health and thrift. Hands-on examinations including tracking the weights of new arrivals as they grow can help ensure healthy animals.
  • Provide environmental stimuli for new creatures that will be pen raised. A bail of hay to play in, hidden or suspended food treats, large sturdy balls to push and toss, and logs or stumps to climb all keep growing minds of all species active and occupied.
  • Clean feed and water dishes as needed to prevent creatures from ingesting waste. A hot water and soap scrub is sufficient to remove debris. If illness is present, consider washing and sanitizing equipment and spaces frequently.
  • Check bedding and shelters to ensure clean, dry and draft-free.
  • Get market ready! Prepare signs, flyers and other materials for farmers markets or other sales avenues. Make sure product packaging is ready to go and that all coolers and equipment is in clean, ready-to-work order.

May

Harvesting

Perennial Maintenance

Infrastructure

Crop Planning

Bed Prep

Seeding Indoors for Transplants

  • Any and all succession plantings of lettuce, fennel, broccoli, chicory, summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, etc.

Planting in the Ground

  • Carrots, cilantro, dill, parsnip, leeks, onions, amaranth grain and greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, radish, chois, beets, magentaspreen, spinach, orach, chard, quinoa, burdock, lettuce, peas, bush and pole beans, dry beans, corn, potatoes, purslane, calendula, aster, cosmos, zinnia, amaranth, marigold, tithonia, sunflower
  • If night temperatures are warm enough and the weather is dry enough in certain parts of Cascadia, tomatoes may be planted out under plastic or row cover this month. Watch for slug pressure, and hold off til night temperatures are over 50F if you’re unsure.

Animals

  • Prepare livestock sales advertisements. Good photos of animals being listed for sale and a clear, clean description of the critter and their selling points help move sales.
  • Make sure all registered stock paperwork is ready to go with animals that are listed for sale.
  • Plant livestock feeds such as sunflowers, beans, beets and greens.

June

Harvesting

Perennial Maintenance

Infrastructure

Crop Planning

Bed Prep

Seeding Indoors for Transplants

Planting in the Ground

Animals

  • Plan for breeding. Locate studs if needed and start tracking heat cycles.
  • Swap paperwork with any intended studs or leases to ensure that all animals involved have been tested clean and are registered if applicable.
  • Ensure animals are healthy and up to date on bio-security screenings and vaccinations.
  • Check fence lines and ensure that all fences are in good repair.
  • Consider electric fencing to enable easy rotational grazing.
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Winter Task List

Winter is a time for maintenance on many levels. Self-care, cleaning and restoring tools, fixing up infrastructure, mucking stalls, perfecting your crop rotation and planting schedule, studying up on recent publications, reading seed catalogs, tractor maintenance, etc.

December

Harvesting

  • From the field: Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, chicory, radicchio, carrots, parsnips, turnips, rutabaga, beets, sunchokes, leeks, burdock, scorzonera, salsify
  • In hoop house/high tunnel/low tunnel: Mustard greens.
  • From storage: Winter squash (maxima, moschata), onions, garlic, shallots, grains

Perennial Maintenance

  • Once leaves fall on raspberries, cut back old growth to soil level.

Infrastructure

  • Tool Maintenance: take a file to all blades on hoes, harvest knives, hoof trimmers, pruners.
    • Josh Volk has a great article on tool sharpening that he wrote for Growing for Market in 2010
  • Tractor, engine, and implement winterization and maintenance.
  • Sanitize harvest bins, buckets, sinks, and knives.
  • Clean and sanitize greenhouse tables, propagation & seeding area
  • Do all-farm tidying, organizing, and consolidating.
  • Inspect and purchase worn-out items: drip tape? Row cover? Weed barrier? Greenhouse film?

Crop Planning

  • Perfect your crop rotation: Are you maximizing your soil’s potential to grow cover crops? Keeping the soil covered throughout the season? Maintaining biodiversity and attracting beneficial insects? How many pounds of PAN did you harvest last year–would it be appropriate to adjust the ratio of legumes to cereals?
  • Interpret your soil test and determine your fertilizer blend for next year, source its ingredients.
  • Prepare seed order: The Pick A Carrot search engine is a great tool to use to compare prices and availability of Organic and conventional seeds from different seed companies – it can cut your time searching for seeds in half.
  • Now is the time to read and catch up on new lean farm techniques, soil health building methods, and the current discussions circulating in farm circles. Renew your subscription to Growing for Market!
  • Sign up for and attend off-season conferences, like Small Farm School, the Small Farms Conference, The Culinary Breeding Network‘s Variety Showcase & Squash Sagra, Friends of Family Farmers Fill Your Pantry & Infarmations, Oregon Tilth‘s Organicology, the Tilth Alliance conference, the Home Orchard Society‘s All About Fruit Show, etc. Check out our events page to stay up to date on goings on in the PNW Ag community!

Propagation

  • Source/purchase your potting soil(s) and germinating mixes, or their components.
  • Inspect your trays and source/purchase as needed.
  • Organize your work area and tools–dibblers, seeders, mixing equipment, writing implements, record-keeping paperwork, tray labels, heat mats/lights, wicking irrigation.
  • Compost tea can efficiently be applied to starts as you water them. Does your brewer work, and do you have the ingredients on hand? Molasses, worm castings?
  • Do you fertigate your seedlings? Gather your fish emulsion, or other soluble nitrogen source.
  • Do you provide trace minerals and myco inoculants? Gather your kelp emulsion and mycorrhizal inoculants for a pre-transplant dunk.

 

Animals

  • Have a fecal eggs per gram count done on animals that are breeding and poultry, most veterinarians offer this service or ship fresh samples to MidAmerica to receive counts via email.
  • If animals need to be dewormed based on fecal results, find the right product for the parasites and follow up with a fecal to ensure treatment was effective. Most dewormers do have an egg, meat and milk withdrawal time. Planning to treat while animals are not producing will help avoid non-productive weeks during a busy season.
  • Ensure that all creatures have a dry, draft-free, well-ventilated location to escape the wet, windy December weather.
  • Visually check all animals and do a hands-on check for body condition. Animals wearing their heavy winter coats are often much thinner than they appear. By physically putting your hands on your animals you will have a much better idea of their weight. Bucks and rams in particular should be carefully checked over as being in rut tends to run them down.
  • Pick-up a book or two to self-educate on your animals. Concentrates has a wonderful collection of animal wellness books available for sale including, but not limited to: “Keeping Livestock Healthy” by N. Bruce Haynes, D.V.M., “Temple Grandin’s Guide to Working With Farm Animals” by Temple Grandin and “Holistic Goat Care” by Gianaclis Caldwell.

January

Harvesting

  • From the field: beets, storage radishes, turnips, rutabaga, carrots, leeks, sunchokes, scorzonera, burdock, salsify
  • In hoop house/high tunnel/low tunnel: Mustard greens
  • From storage: Winter squash (maxima, moschata), onions, garlic, shallots, grains

Perennial Maintenance

  • Prune fruit trees during a window of dry weather: apples, pears, figs
  • Prune berries during a window of dry weather: Blueberries
  • Collect scions for grafting
  • Remove mummified fruit still on trees to reduce rot spores

Infrastructure

  • Take inventory of all irrigation, row cover, propagation, tools, traps, etc.
  • Test heating system in greenhouse and check for repairs

Bed Prep

  • Make fertilizer order according to fall soil test results (now through February)
  • Mix or order soil for seeding

Crop Planning

  • Make seed orders by January 1st
  • Order perennial rootstock for grafting
  • Order potato seeds
  • Order bareroot strawberry plants
  • Order asparagus corms
  • Order cover crop seed

Seeding Indoors/Greenhouse

  • Onions, leeks, artichoke, cardoon, endive, lettuce

Animals

  • Start prepping for new life on the farm! Consider where your animals will deliver their new babies and start assembling needed supplies.
  • If kidding, calving, lambing, farrowing, foaling and so on is new to you find a mentor that has a few years of experience and line up a vet that has assisted in your species.
  • For registered stock, be sure paperwork is ready and in order.
  • Find a place to buy honey bee nucs and get hives and bee-keeping gear in order.

February

Harvest

  • From the field: Leeks, claytonia
  • In the hoop house/high tunnel/low tunnel: Mustard green
  • From storage: Winter squash (maxima, moschata)

Perennial Maintenance

  • Finish pruning fruit bearing perennials
  • Chip prunings for ground cover, but remove obviously cankered wood.
  • Finish composting and mulching any perennials that were not finished last fall.

Infrastructure

  • Order needed drip irrigation, row cover, propagation trays, tools, traps, etc.
  • Turn on greenhouse heating system
  • Set up trellising for tuberous and bulbing flowers sending up shoots, ie. peonies, anemones and ranunculus.

Bed Prep

  • Look for a dry window to mow and do a very shallow till of cover crops that are starting to bloom or are sitting on bed space that will need to be planted within the next 4-8 weeks.

Propagation

  • Gather your tools (dibblers, seeders, trays, record-keeping paperwork, labels).
  • Gather your potting soils and components.
  • Gather any other amendments–fish emulsion, kelp, compost tea, mycorrhizal inoculants.
  • On heat tables: Celeriac, onions, leek, artichoke, cardoon, endive, lettuce, spinach, cilantro, kale, chard, broccoli raab, cabbage, chinese cabbage, bok choi heads, endive, parsley, celery

Planting in Ground Under Cover – Late February

  • Carrot, arugula, broccoli raab, cress, mustards, turnips, chois, miner’s lettuce, mache, endive, shungiku, radishes, onions, garlic, onion sets, fava bean, peas, fenugreek
  • Plant new fruit trees and berries as early as possible
  • Inoculate perennial roots with ecto or endo mycorrhizae when planting

Animals

March

Harvest

  • From the field: Claytonia
  • From the hoop house/high tunnel/low tunnel: Mustard greens

Perennial Maintenance

  • First holistic spring spray, suggests Michael Phillips, of liquid fish, pure neem oil, & effective microbes.
  • He also recommends applying an organic fertilizer blend to nonbearing trees in order to grow a strong framework of branches quickly.

Infrastructure

  • Begin installing drip irrigation into the fields as you transplant.

Bed Prep

  • Pull old and less productive planting of strawberries if you need to make room in your crop rotation. General rule of thumb is that strawberries loose productivity after three years.
  • Look for a dry window to mow and do a very shallow till of cover crops that are starting to bloom or are sitting on bed space that will need to be planted within the next 4-8 weeks.
  • Cover crop mowing and incorporation takes place when they first begin flowering. Consider submitting a cover crop analysis to OSU’s Central Analytic Lab. Sampling and lab submission instructions here.
  • Amend your fields as you prepare for planting. Consider soil temperature when timing your nitrogen application: remember than the phase of rapid N uptake, which varies by species, is about four weeks from germination; but nitrogen does not mineralize very quickly in cold soils. Give your amendments time to become available, or plan to use highly soluble sources like fish emulsion.
  • Spreaders should be calibrated and maintained.

Seeding Indoors for Transplants

  • Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, tomatillo, ground cherry, lettuce, endive, bok choi heads, cabbage, kale, celery, parsley, fennel, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach

Planting in Ground

  • Favas, mustard greens, onions, chervil, cilantro, fennel, parsley, arugula, cress, salad radish, turnips, spinach, chard, peas, claytonia, carrots, beets, chicories, salsify, scorzonera, shungiku
  • Late March: Sunchokes, potatoes
  • Perennials: Bareroot strawberry plants – planting into landscape fabric can be incredibly useful to keep weeds down and keep plants from putting too much energy into spreading runners.

Animals

  • Have a fecal eggs per gram count done on animals that might have a high count such as new mothers and babies between the ages of 8 weeks and 16 weeks , most veterinarians offer this service or ship fresh samples to MidAmerica to receive counts via email.
  • Ensure that all milking equipment is in good working order and sanitized including stanchions, buckets milk machines and storage containers.
  • Strip and sanitize grow-out areas.
  • Order new poultry chicks and ensure brooding areas and implements are cleaned, disinfected and in working order. Make sure that heating sources are in working order and that the brooder is able to maintain age-appropriate temps.
  • If there is a warm, sunny day, check on bee hives! Make sure everyone is healthy and happy and feed if needed. If there is a die-out, clean and sanitize for new bees.