April has been a crazy month. I couldn’t believe we had snow flurries and temperatures in the 20’s on April 1st, and it got even crazier on April 21st when we had a snow shower! It was bizarre to see the snow on leaves and flowers. My kids made snowmen and snow cream. The snowmen looked a little unusual because they were green from all the cut grass from when we mowed the day before. Well that’s Kentucky weather.
The chickens moved from their winter quarters to their mobile coop. The chickens were very excited to be out on the grass and to scratch for bugs. They also took some long dust baths.
We finished planting the high tunnel but not without some drama. The aphid populations really grow when the weather turns warm. There are natural aphid enemies also living in the high tunnel that will eat the aphids but unfortunately the aphids were producing much faster than the predators. I watched anxiously and checked the aphids daily but there were more aphids every day. I needed to plant the tomato and pepper transplants but they could be severly stunted or even killed if they get too many aphids on them. So finally I decided to spray an organic insect spray (OMRI approved of course) even though it goes against my farming philosophy. I believe in letting insect predators and insect pests develop a natural balance. I had the spray all mixed up but as I looked at my plants I could see my good insects mixed in with the aphids. I just couldn’t spray. Instead I ordered some back up, minute pirate bugs. By the time the minute pirate bugs arrived the aphid predators that were already in the high tunnel had gotten the aphids under control. I’m so glad I made the decision NOT to spray but I did have some anxious moments wondering if I made the right decision.
Potatoes are in the ground and I have visions of eating creamed potatoes, which I try to make like my grandmother’s. (They taste pretty good but still not as good as Granny’s) All the cold hardy crops and flowers are in the ground. We are trying to get ready for the big planting when all the frost sensative plants, like tomatoes, can be planted outside. The green house is really full of transplants.
It’s always exciting to see the perennials grow back in the spring. I grow a lot of perennial herbs as well as many other perennial plants like asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries and raspberries. We have gotten to enjoy asparagus for dinner a few times so far and the strawberries and raspberries are starting to leaf out.
April also brought one of the saddest days on the farm when we sold our lambs. I always hate to see the lambs go but we can’t keep them all.
Just for fun we experimented with the violets that grow wild on our farm. We made violet syrup and tried drying violets for tea. The syrup was very sweet and had a deep, grassy flavor. I’m still not entirely sure what to do with it but it does tast good mixed in a lighter tea, like green tea.
April has been a month of ups and downs: warm days and cold days, blooming flowers and snow showers, the joys of new plants growing and the sending off of our lambs. Every month brings new challenges and April was no exception.