Josh’s first post!

Written on March 9, 2012
It is not officially spring but you wouldn’t know it by the weather the past few days.  It is crazy to think we didn’t even break the record high of 74 or that the record low is 5 degrees for today.  I have a huge confession to make besides the fact that I am not really a writer.  I am not an expert at farming and I have so much to learn about it.  I am learning as I go but I hope that I won’t make too many mistakes.  I am really excited to be taking over some of the leadership of the farm but I am also a little intimidated and afraid.  I just want to do a good job and grow amazing veggies.  I love spending time outside feeling closer to God by being surrounded by his creation.  I can’t honestly think of a better job!

I want to let you know what is going on at the farm these days because it is exciting.  I can’t tell you how much life exists on this little acre of Harrisburg.  Josh the farm cat has been hanging around, as always but there is a new face in town.  There is a fierce kitten that has started hanging out at the farm but I am not sure if it will stick around or not.  If it does we will have to give him/her a name.   Josh hasn’t seemed to mind but we will see what happens later in the season.

There was a hawk sitting in the tree last week and I hope that it continues to see Joshua Farm as part of his hunting ground.  I love just seeing nature do its thing.
Sugar the Rabbit is still in the High Tunnel, big as ever but we did bring the 5 chickens out to the field.  We hope to get 5 more hens later this spring so we can have brown eggs too.  They seem much happier on fresh grass to scratch at and eat bugs.  And yes, the bugs are out.  There is a long winged black but that I don’t remember seeing before and now it is everywhere.  I should investigate it and look it up so I know if it is a problem or not.

It is always the small things that catch my attention at the farm.  I walked over to the one compost pile by the vehicle gate and only about an inch or two down it is filled with worms.  I mean, in one handful of compost I counted about 20 worms of all sizes.  Worms don’t seem like much to most people but to a farmer worms are a sign of good soil.  They help aerate the soil with their tunnels and their waste is filled with food for the plants.  In compost they are eating and helping to decompose all that organic material.  It seems that they come more to the surface when the sun is hitting the compost and it is a little warmer.  We are happy to see healthy populations of worms because; it shows that we have healthy soil.

The green house is already starting to get into full swing.  We have Onions, Leeks, Collards, Kale, Tomatoes, Peppers, Lettuce, Chinese Cabbage, and more seeded and growing.  It probably helps that the weather has been so mild but we are making good use of our heating mats.  It just makes me so happy to see all the growth in the green house and the signs that the season is already upon us.  In just a few weeks we will be planting peas, lettuce and scallions in the field.  It is amazing how quickly the season came upon us.

We have been preparing for the growing season and I thought we had a little more time but it appears that it is here.  We know that there are always challenges to rise up and meet and we are trying to get ahead of the ones that we already know about.  Last year we had a difficult time with mice digging up seeds and eating newly sprouted plants (especially tomatoes and peppers) in the green house.  I am happy to say that we have been keeping on top of unwanted rodents with mousetraps and a little outside help (neighborhood farm cats).  We are still planning on digging a trench at the Elmerton Avenue site to burying a fence to keep the ground hogs at bay but are waiting for good weather and dry enough soil.  The groundhogs did a lot of damage last year and we want to try to make that site much more productive.  A concern from the mild winter is that some of the insects might not have died off completely during the winter, giving them head start this season.  But we won’t know until later in the season if that fear is realized.  I have noticed that there seems to be different weeds in the field this year and I wonder if that might be from the extremely wet season we had last year.  You know it has been really wet when you have moss growing in the field where you normally wouldn’t.  The truth is we don’t know the full extent of damage that might have happened from having such a wet year.

I think that’s all for now.  Thanks for following the ramblings of a farmer in training.  I am learning more every day.   I am really happy to be working on the farm and being around people and nature.  I am excited about the season and I know that it will be even better than last year.  Thanks for all your support.  I hope to add to the blog more regularly.  I also really do appreciate all the help from volunteers already this year especially the groups from Messiah College and our two interns Dara Downs (Messiah College) and Rachel Gilbert (Dickinson College) just to name a few.
Take care and have a Blessed Day!
Joshua J D Moritz

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