Colors of January

2016 Tomato Battle Plan
33 Heirloom Tomato Varieties this year

Color-coded & covering two walls, Farmhaven’s 2016 vegetable production schedules are beautiful and frightening. Farmer Al is a gifted planner but it is a bit daunting to see it laid out. We are planting a rainbow of red, yellow, dark and light green, and that distinct dark purplish brown. Personally, I am hungry for the colors.

To get an idea of what we can grow in the new high tunnel in January and February, we’ve been experimenting. Sad to say, the first rounds of beans, spinach and kale did not survive. So we enacted Plan B (try planting different things). Plan B has been more successful. Sugar snaps are up, joined by parsley, radishes, beets and vit mache, a lovely, tiny green lettuce. The giant red mustard still needs a few more weeks to live up to its name.

Winter has arrived in Tobaccoville with a week-long blast of arctic air and possible snow accumulation. Night temperatures are dropping into the low teens and threatening our tender starts. To protect them we pull out the row covers. The veil-like expanses of white, light weight material dress the ground and keep the plants warm.

The six long beds in the high tunnel are divided into subsections. Succession planting, daily weeding and a longer harvest season are a few more of our 2016 farming goals. Five of the rows are seeded in our high tunnel, showing varying signs of growth. French Breakfast Radishes, an ancient herald of spring, are coming up. It’s said they were named because farmers selling at markets in France would snack on them and during colonial times, they were commonly served for breakfast with buttered bread and tea. Regardless, the leafy green tops anchored to the ground by red and white thumb-shaped radishes are a welcome sight and they ease my hunger.

French Breakfast Radishes
First harvest from our high tunnel in January 2016

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