Thursday, April 14, 2011


We've gone post modern neolithic at Rio Gozo Farm.

Farm experts note the foam structures, better known as foamhenge, point up at celestial heavenly bodies- the sun- and are ritualistically constructed on the rare occasion of freezing conditions in April (two days after planting freeze intolerant tomato, basil, and pepper seedlings). Husband-wife team, John and Elizabeth, at Rio Gozo Farm Ventura CSA received the call from Steve Sprinkel, their helpful farm mentor who regularly scans weather reports at 11:00pm on Thursday nights. "You'd better get out of bed and put those cups on your transplants, the temperature is dropping and the dew point is going down."

Dressed for ski conditions with the light of the headlamp, the young farmers got it done. 1:00am and back in the house- thoughts of contented CSA members eating heirloom tomatoes in June danced in their heads. But wait! The next day after delivering the weekly harvest, the saga continued. With winds scattering styrofoam about the rows and even colder weather forecasted, John and Elizabeth, with the help of small children (it's clear now why farms require large families), topped each monolith with a rock creating what was called Super Henge.
After day two of freezing temps, crop loss was at a minimum; basil was replanted, and a few tomato transplants replaced (and the bonus of a few hundred stones removed from the field). So much for newbie farmer industriousness; it's either a lesson in patience and timing or one of humbled perseverance and resourcefulness.

Planting Update: this week baby summer squash and cucumbers were nestled into their cozy beds, night time temperatures in the mid 40's and holding. Sleep tight little ones and don't let the bed bugs bite.

P.S.... Tune in again for the next episode of "Close Calls on the Farm"
Do you Remember the Windstorm in March?


LifeEthic said...

way to improvise, johnny! frost cloth now one of my favorite tools in the shed...'foamhenge' is next-level, for sure :)

marsha said...

I was most impressed when the two of you went out into that cold night to save your seedlings! And I was equally impressed when my grandson Trey pitched in to help you the following day. You truly are a great farm family. Mom Fonteyn


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There is plenty of gozo at Rio Gozo Farm. That is JOY in Spanish and joy is one of the most dependable products we have. Gozo is commonly found in gardens and farms. Once you get a little gozo up and going it is very tolerant of most pests, withstands dry periods, and grows with a modicum of fertilizer. After gozo becomes a staple of one's diet, it goes with about anything. Actually folks crave it so much it is a wonder everyone does not have a patch of it growing close at hand. Grab up some gozo and get with the flow.