Man am I happy to see March arrive. I have always wondered why they made February the shortest month of the year and then every February I am reminded why. I am tired of winter, tired of watching my favorite basketball team lose, and tired of the color brown. I know that we are suppose to love all the seasons that Mother Nature gives us, but I don’t. I could very well go without winter and live a perfectly content life. My feet feel better in flip-flops than they ever do in scratchy thick socks.
With all of that said, ahhh, March. I know that we are about to get sandblasted, have insane temperature swings between day and night, and probably get one more snow storm, but I am ready for it. I am ready for spring.
The first week of March always represents the beginning of spring for me for one reason, the germination of the first flush of weeds for the season. It is like the little buggers have an alarm clock that goes off at the end of February, but the weeds always jump out of the soil early March. And when we see this, we know it is time to get our seeds in the mix as well. The time for planning is coming to an end, the time for farming is back. But it is not time to plant it all.
For those of you giving it a go in your garden this season, let me give you a few bits of advice to help ensure that you do not give up on trying to grow in the Southwest before the kids dance around the May Pole.
Do Not even think about planting tomatoes, corn, melons, zucchini, peppers, or Grandma Doris’ prized okra seeds. Those dudes will have their day in the field, but it is not now. March is for the crazy plants who love the cold and hate the heat. Radishes, turnips, kale, spinach, and some lettuce. These are the faces that you want to see in your garden at this point. And you will want to keep them covered with a frost fabric until the last part of April. Putting any sensitive crops out now you are going to lose them to the hands of Jack Frost. He is not a nice guy.
These frosts are also the reason why the Rio Grande river valley is such a bad place to try and grow fruit trees. We have these gorgeous warm days and trees get tricked into thinking that it is time to put on buds. But then we will have multiple nights where the cold air comes off the mountains and settles into the valley (warm air rises, cold air sinks). So the valleys always have the nicest soil and closest proximity to water, but they are the lowest points in our landscape and will be colder than the foothills. Hence why we only get fruits trees to produce every 4th year or so.
This is also a good point for a plug as to why, when we cannot grow something well for you on our farm, it is nice to have friends in better growing climates to cover your needs (and wants!). Look for some amazing fruit this year from our partners.
Other stuff happening around the farm right now…. Friday Afternoon Markets. Last fall we ran a series of Saturday markets where we roasted chile, sold/drank some hard cider, and let folks take home some produce and pork. In a nutshell, they were totally fun and more successful for us than any farmers’ markets that we had ever attended. So the proverbial “seed” was planted late last fall and the birth of the weekly market will be this spring.
Friday, March 18th we will kick these babies off for the season. 3 pm until around 7. We will have produce, meats, freshly baked goods, local dairy, free kids’ activity at 4 pm, hard cider and the launch of our new wine label. Basically, we want to give our members and the public a time to unplug after a long week, get outside for a bit, and get to mingle with some fellow foodies.
In addition to all this going on, we will also run the afternoon as a pick-up location for pre-packed orders. So the market will be open for any single items you may want to pick up, or place an order by Thursday at 10 am to have your items packed and ready for you to just pick up.
Enjoy, Farmer Monte