Our farm is in the Adirondack Mountains where the weather is still somewhat cold and it is time to prepare to tap the maple trees. Thus, we are actively engaged in such preparations. So, what do you already having going on at the farm and what do you do in the month of March?
In upstate New York (Zone 3ish), there is not much to do until late March when our sugar bush starts flowing and it’s time to tap the maple trees. This is an amazing thing to do and we enjoy the experience of making maple syrup over our wood cook stove. I do go in and listen in my bee hive as the bees are alive and dormant for now, living off the honey stores from last summer/fall. I will go in to check on a warm day and will also add a food tray with the necessary sugar/water combination to keep the bees fed until the first blooms of the willow emerge in early spring for the bees to begin to forage.
Above is a picture of me boiling down the sap from our maple trees and making maple syrup on our wood cook stove. You can see the containers above on the stove shelf that houses the sap, then I open the spicket and the sap goes into the containers on top of the stove that boils down the sap into syrup. I think move the syrup into containers. The ratio is 40 to 1, meaning for 40 units of sap you get one unit of syrup. We also tap the neighbors trees throughout the valley beyond our own trees as our sugar bush is just beginning to mature to the point of being tappable. You can also see in the picture above dried flowers hanging upside down on both the wall and in front of the window behind the wood cook stove. These are drying wild medicinal herbs I harvest on the property to make healing balms and teas. I spend this time of year making my medicinal products when the outdoor activities are at a minimum.
While the month of March is slow in the Adirondack Mountains other than sugaring, I can begin my starts in windows. Here I am starting carrots, celery and lettuce along with sweet potato shoots.
I do staggered planting of all my indoor seed starts so this is my first flight of tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, calendula, dill, marjoram, sage, parsley and thyme. Once these get a tad larger they will get transplanted into larger starter containers and I’ll use this little greenhouse for round two of indoor seed starts.
Mike also spends a great deal of time outside making lumber on his mill for our farm and also does milling for customers.
Lumber Made From Deadfall Turned Into Grape Vine Trellises
So what do we now begin to do?
Here’s a list of what we will accomplish this month at the farm:
- Till our large vegetable garden and incorporate compost from our horses/goats that has ‘cooled’ a bit
- Start more seeds indoors to prepare for their April plantings
- Start onions outside, peas and spinach later in the month of March
- Transplant our landscape plants and move to a new location to make more pasture for the livestock
- Fertilize our flowering bulbs
- Begin to patch holes in the lawn (seed) where there’s damage
- Trim rose bushes
- Begin to pull early grower weeds
- Sell our extra male goats in Spring market
- Do spring shots for all livestock for selenium and vitamin E (BOSE)
- Do natural de-wormer for all livestock
I am sure the list will grow as March ratchets into full gear, but this is our ‘must do’ list for the month of March to stay on schedule seasonally. With the hard work of February behind us, the looming list of March before us, we are excited and thrilled to begin another vibrant growing season at our farm. This time of year for us is always a blessing as new babies and green shoots bless us at every turn.
We look forward to sharing our 2016 farming journey with all of you this year.
Good luck in your own homesteading endeavors and God Bless!
“We love the land and we love the Lord, we work by hand and we mill the board. We till the field and raise the flock. Our food then goes to the butcher block.”
~ L. Davis, the poet farmer