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What Happens in January at Windy Hill Family Farm

Here's an excerpt from the January farm newsletter! Subscribe to our mailing list to get the whole newsletter in your inbox once a month. 


What Does a Farmer Do in the Winter?

There are farms that grow produce all year round. Some use greenhouses or high tunnels to do this, while some parts of the US are warm enough to grow crops in the ground all year. In Florida, they grow tomatoes into the winter! Some hardy farmers in the Midwest are still harvesting winter greens and root vegetables through the winter.

I’m still in Philadelphia as I transition into full time farming. The small raised bed outside of my apartment has been neglected and isn’t growing much right now. In Maryland, at the farm, the fields I tilled this fall and planted with cover crop are mostly dormant.

I’m anxious to start getting crops into the ground but I’m practicing my patience. Many crops can’t withstand freezing temperatures, and even cold-hardy crops need certain soil temperatures for their seeds to germinate. So I’ve been using the late fall and wintertime to get ready for Windy Hill Family Farm’s inaugural season. As I work inside on my computer, I’m trying to remember that very soon I’ll have a close to never-ending supply of farm work to do outside.

This winter, I’ve been buying supplies, working on the Windy Hill Family Farm website, reading farming books, and clearing out the old barn at the farm. Most of my time has been taken up with making a crop plan for the farm. A crop plan is a schedule of when I will grow each crop, as well as where it will be planted, how much will be planted and what varieties of each crop I will use. There is a lot of consideration that goes into these decisions: spacing, nutrient needs, temperature preferences, the amount of time a plant takes to grow, the number of CSA customers to feed, water needs, and pest pressure.  As I make the crop plan decisions, I can start to order seeds, trellising supplies, row cover, soil amendments, organic pest control products, harvesting tools, greenhouse supplies, and deer fencing.

My crop plan is complete, I have a field map, seeding, transplanting, and harvesting schedules written, and my seeds are ordered! Want to see what’s been decided? Check out the farm website to see our crop list and head over to our instagram to see the farm field map.

Lastly, our CSA sign up is in full progress! Get your share now, before the price goes up on February 20th. If you are hesitating because of the commitment, find a friend and sign up for one share together. If you don't live in DC, forward on this email to a friend who does, and who might want to buy a CSA share. We are a small, new farm and appreciate the support. Email us if you have any questions! We look forward to a great season with you.

It's not all crop planning, this off season I also took a road trip to Dollywood! 

It's not all crop planning, this off season I also took a road trip to Dollywood! 

We also published a recipe to go with the newsletter! Check it out here.

Liam Miller