The past 6 weeks have been a blur of spring activity, and I have not had time to do my morning camera walks around the farm. Worse yet, I have totally missed taking photos at many significant events. But here are a bunch of photos, in no particular order, to catch you up on spring at Squash Blossom Farm. This is my very favorite season, green and blossoming and burgeoning.
The honeybees arrived early, have been successfully installed in their hives and are already hard at work. I have two Langstroth hives and a top bar hive this year. Plus, our farm assistant Ruth will be keeping a fourth hive at the farm.
It is peak dandelion and creeping charlie bloom for the bees right now,
and the apple trees are blossoming.
Mae, one of our wonderful WWOOFers from last summer, arrived to intern with us for the entire summer this year. That makes all of us, two- and four-footed critters alike, extremely happy.
The Northern Lights magnolia in bloom behind the Willys truck.
Abundant blossoms on the Service Berries (aka Saskatoon or June Berries.)
We have been harvesting rhubarb for a few weeks.
The garden was tilled a few weeks ago and we have begun planting.
Our first veggie bed is going to have a fun, curvy layout of rows of greens, cabbages and marigolds. Here is the "before" photo - stay tuned for the "after." We are so lucky to have Mae as our intern, a gardener with an artist's eye, happy to tackle these crazy ideas.
I have been searching for "Contender" peaches for several years, a variety of peach that will grow in Zone 4, but no local nurseries carry them. This spring I found a few trees at Walmart, of all places, and planted two at the edge of the garden! I do not always have the best luck with fruit trees, but I am going to baby these trees so tenderly.
We took off the walls enclosing the fish gazebo and opened it up for summer. All of the goldfish and koi survived the winter and are looking fat and sassy. We are still deciding whether to add tilapia or channel catfish this year.
Ruth, our farm assistant, replaced the drip irrigation lines in the aquaponic system with hard pvc pipes (to reduce clogging from algae) and we planted the pond towers with pansies, lettuces and strawberries, which are beginning to really grow now.
The green wall is planted with nasturtiums, parsley and lettuces and will be connected to the pond as soon as we can get to it.
We have been blessed with some great spring rains to boost the growing. Also some pretty fierce winds.
The silly garden decor bicycle got a new coat of turquoise paint. Magenta baskets to come.
The little yellow magnolia bloomed seriously and gloriously for the first time.
The waxy, fragrant blossom were about ten inches across when open! Pretty exotic for Minnesota.
The cows finally got to go into the pasture. The first few days I only let them in for a few hours, but now they have full access and the grass has become tall and lush. They are so happy.
Our first event of the season was the ReBlossom Boutique, for EarthFest, the last weekend of April. Ten vendors sold their recycled, upcycled, vintage and garden wares, plus we had live music, wood-fired pizza and kettle corn. I took this photo when our first vendor to arrive, Teri, started setting up her stuff, and never had a chance to pick up my camera again! More than a thousand people came on Saturday, exceeding our wildest expectations, and we had hundreds more on Sunday despite the rain, What a glorious, fun weekend.
Rog and I are serious Ted Talk fans, so we were honored to be asked to host the TedX Zumbro River
speakers for dinner the night before the big event in Rochester last week!
We also baked 1200 (!) savory and fruit turnovers for the audience at TedX event. I really did not have a very strong sense of what we were getting ourselves into - it turns out that 1200 is a LOT of hand-made turnovers. To give you an idea, there are 134 turnovers in this photo.We formed, half-baked and froze turnovers for 4 days, then thawed, baked and packaged them all the night before.
At 5 a.m., Mae was actually still smiling as we finished packaging the last batch of turnovers for delivery a couple hours later. Ruth was also here baking turnovers until the wee hours of the morning. We are so fortunate, and so grateful, for Mae and Ruth's invaluable help.
Our season has barely begun... we are just planting the gardens now, we will be at the Farmers Market beginning next weekend, the CSA starts in 2 weeks, we are planting a Food Forest at the end of May, and in June we will open for Summer Sundays at Squash Blossom and host three weddings! We have a fire in our belly - it is going to be a crazy, fabulous summer!