Friday, March 16, 2012

Finished planting

March Update from Colvin Family Farm! Like March at Colvin Family Farm on Facebook

Hello folks!
Even with an extremely wet Spring thus far, we are keeping busy in the fields and greenhouses! Working ground, planting seeds, transplanting, building greenhouses, purchasing supplies, and working on equipment have been our big projects this month--hopefully we'll eventually have a break in the rainy weather that will let us finish up with our first round of Spring plowing.

Our Spring Farm Day will be Saturday, May 19th, 2012--we hope you can come!

We hope you all are having a great Spring--thanks for your support, we can't wait for the season to get in full swing!

Adam Colvin

March at Colvin Family Farm:

Planting Ginger!

A first year crop for us, we started the "pre-sprouting" process of our Ginger crop this month. We can't wait to see how this grows for us in East TN!

Maple Trees Budding

The Red Maple trees are budding out all over the place adding a beautiful tinge of red to the wooded areas of the mountain.

Maple Buds

A closeup shot of a Red Maple bud.

Garlic Bed

A shot of a garlic bed--I can't believe how quickly it's growing!

Garlic patch

The garlic patch showing several beds growing--before long it's going to be one big sea of green garlic tops!

A stormy month!

We have had a stormy month with several severe storms in the area--we are thankful that the worst we can complain about is "too much rain."


And there is always a bright spot to even a rainy day :)

First Tomato!

In the greenhouse this month we had our first tomatoes come up--this heirloom variety: "Pineapple," should provide at least a dozen two pound yellow & red tomatoes that will make you wish wish all other varieties were outlawed!


The transplants have continued to grow...


....until they were ready to get set out!

Truck load of Cabbage!

A truck load of cabbage transplants ready to haul to the new farm.

Working together

Working together to plant the first crop (Cabbage) on our new farm!

Isaac with a load of transplants

Isaac with a flat of cabbage.

Isaac and Titus working on the cabbage

Isaac and Titus planting green Cabbage.

Peach blossom

A peach bloom...we don't raise much tree fruit yet, but we do enjoy the few trees we have.

Canadian Goose

A pair of Canadian Geese showed up on the farm pond yesterday.

That's it for this month--thanks for reading,--join us on facebook for more pictures, regular status updates, and to "interact" with us!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Mild Winter

Winter Update from Colvin FamilyFarmLike February At Colvin Family Farm on Facebook

Hello folks!
With a mild Winter thus far it doesn't seem like Spring could be far off, especially with all the "signs" of Spring that keep turning up on the farm! However we're battening down the hatches and waiting for a couple of good Winter storms to remind us we do live in the mountains of East TN. 

Thank you so much to those who have already joined up for the 2012 CSA season, we are doing everything we can to make this season the best ever! Thanks for helping us fund pre-season expenses!

Adam Colvin

February at Colvin Family Farm:

I don't have any pictures yet, but we are purchasing four hives of bees from a natural beekeeper in Georgia this Spring! A project we've considered for a couple of seasons, we decided that just for pollinating our vegetable crops it would be worth trying (of course the deal was sweetened by visions of our own safe, raw honey!). Honeybees are amazing creatures--according to the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF), a full one third of your diet is dependant to honeybee pollination!


It's been a mild Winter thus far, with just a couple of minor Winter Storms, but it has been extrodinarily wet! We had a solid nine inches of rain dumped on us in January, and it doesn't seem to want to dry up! It's important for it to dry out enough for us to be able to work up a couple of acres as we have onions, early brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower & broccoli) etc... to go out soon, and we can't plant in sod!

Getting Ready

Even though we've had generally mild temperatures so far, we're trying to prepare for when Winter hits because...

Early Transplants

...we have more than thirty thousand baby vegetables in the greenhouse that need to be kept from freezing!

Our Greenhouse Heater

Our old trusty "double barrel" heater, along with us boys spending watches of the night monitoring the fires, will keep our greenhouses warm and the transplants happy!

A Baby Broccoli

A Baby broccoli plant.

Baby Red Cabbage

Baby Red Cabbages.

Spring Cabbages

Okay so it's two pictures of the cabbage--I couldn't help it, they came out nice :)

Swiss Chard

Baby Swiss Chard plants--this is "Bright Lights" chard, so you can see yellow, red, pink, and orange baby plants!

A Baby Lettuce

This is a closeup shot of a miniscule baby lettuce transplant--hopefully one day, it will make a family a good sized salad!

Coffee Sacks

Mud has been an issue everywhere, and the greenhouse is no exception! Thanks to one of our shareholders, and Green Mountain Coffee, we have burlap sacks to go to, so we "shingled" the greenhouse path with sacks--thank you GMC and Mr. Russ!

Tractor, bushog, new land

In preparation for the season, Caleb has been busy bushogging the new property...

Bushogged Field

It looks much, much better! We can't wait to start planting!

Sandhill Cranes

Large V's of Sandhill Cranes are flying over the farm all day--another sign of Spring, we love watching them fly over!

Sandhill Cranes

I love the zoom on my new camera :)

Our Home

That's it for this month--thanks for reading, and join us on facebook for more pictures, regular status updates, and to "interact" with us!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

January Update & New Logo!

January Update & New Logo! Like January CSA Update on Facebook

Hello Folks!

It's official! After months of negotiating and piles of paperwork, we have purchased a new (to us) 58.7 acre farm! Closer to the home farm than any of our leased fields we hope to expand production, and dodge the water shortage we seem to have each year around August. You can view some pictures of the property on our Facebook page here.

After a mild start to the Winter, we've finally dipped into the low teens this past week. Despite the cold temperatures we're already gearing up for the 2012 growing season, and last Friday started the first transplants of the 2012 season! We hope to be able to keep more of the "staple crops" like: Carrots, Lettuce, Onions, Garlic, and Potatoes coming in with more regularity this season--we have nothing against kohlrabi or leeks, but we want to do our best to keep basic crops coming in regularly too!

New crops for this season: Globe Artichokes,Jerusalem Artichokes, Celeriac, Horseradish, and we are also planting a large patch of Asparagus this year--that doesn't mean that you'll get Asparagus this Spring, but you'll be able to look forward to it come 2013! Do you have a crop you'd like us to grow this year? Let us know now while we're still in the planning stage!

If you can, please be sure to help us out with our Feedback Drive! We are trying to learn from our customers, as well as incorporate feedback into our Website!

Thank you for your support, and encouragement--keep warm, and we look forward to seeing you come Spring!

Adam Colvin

January Update & New Logo:

Strawberries in January
For years, we've used logos built on our computer designed with clip art and graphics programs--I (Adam) have always wanted a "real" professionally designed logo that was customized to "be us." After amassing piles of paper, and spending hours researching different companies, I pleaded my case to Dad--for months I bugged him (whenever my "chosen company" sent an email newsletter) to join the burgeoning ranks of farms that had a "real" logo, and finally I have won! We ended up with a seal shaped logo, with a crate of produce drawn from actual pictures of our produce, in the background silhouetted against a rolling TN farm background is our Massey Ferguson 165 tractor! I'm tickled.

Wintry View

Even though the trees are bare, and there's no sign of Spring outside.....


....we are already starting our Spring transplants in the greenhouses!

Load of flats

Caleb took the old van to Knoxville and purchased a LOAD of flats--according to our calculations we should have nearly enough for the entire 2012 planting season. The rest are ordered and on their way.

Potting Mix

We use the best of the best organic starting mixes--Johnny's 512 mix. The first year we tried an organic mix, we nearly lost our shirts because it didn't work (we lost Tomatoes, Peppers and other crops that we depended on for a large share of our income)--every year since, we've invested a large chunk of our annual operating expenses into this media. We calculate we are going to be using nearly 40 cubic yards this year--the equivalent of two tandem dump truck loads!

Full Flats

This closeup shot of a plug flat shows the "home" for the first seven weeks of the life of a cabbage on our farm.

Right Now 4

After we fill the flats with the media, we mark them with the variety name, or a short "code" with a paint pen.

Laying out the Flats

After they're filled and marked, we lay the flats out on tables in the greenhouse.


Next we "dibble" holes in each cell at the right depth for the seed we're planting...


...Get a handful of seeds...


...and drop one seed per cell--as best as we can anyhow. On average we drop about seven "doubles" per 98 cell flat when we're planting Brassicas (Cabbage, Kale, Collards etc...) we don't really worry about that amount of doubles as it kind of offsets the germination being in the mid 90's.

Antler 2

After we're done seeding, we sift some media over the seeds, and then "water them in." Now we've got a batch of cabbage started, and we can't wait for them to start growing!