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All posts for the month April, 2014

By Dan O’Brien, Community Supported Agriculture Farmer

Spring is finally here and things are finally starting to get rolling at the CSA at Coverdale Farm.

Creating the special planting rows for the vegetables takes time, a tractor, and teamwork.

Creating the special planting rows for the vegetables takes time, a tractor, and teamwork.

Over the past few weeks the CSA team has done loads of preparation in the field to get ready for all of the planting that is happening. So far we have planted over 12,000 onions, almost 2,000 brassica plants like kale and cabbage, and today we just planted over 300 tomatoes in our high tunnel house.

Rows of soil all prepped and planted with potatoes.

Rows of soil all prepped and planted with potatoes.

Also, we planted 500 pounds of potatoes and have direct seeded beets, carrots, two types of peas, two types of spinach, and arugula.

Vegetables planted inside the greenhouse will soon be transplanted outdoors into the fields.

Vegetables planted inside the greenhouse will soon be transplanted outdoors into the fields.

We have lots of little seedlings growing in our propagation house and plenty of summer crops that will be planted over the next few weeks once the threat of frost has passed. Just today I set up all of our fertigation systems that injects our soluble organic fertilizer into the micro-irrigation lines. This system helps get the nutrients that the plants need to grow directly to the root system without much runoff or evaporation loss.

New baby piglets will be growing up quickly at Coverdale!

New baby piglets will be growing up quickly at Coverdale!

Finally, our pig here at Coverdale Farm has just given birth to 12 new piglets!

All in all, there are some pretty cool things happening here at the CSA at Coverdale Farm. Make sure to stop by the CSA next time you are here at the farm so we can show you what’s growing.  Finally, remember to eat more vegetables!

Farmer Dan

There are still spaces left if you would like a share in the Coverdale Farm Community Supported Agriculture program.  Sign up, and then once our season starts, pick up your vegetables each week at Coverdale.  Grown locally, so you can eat locally!  For more information, please click here or call (302) 239-2334 ext. 134.

By Sally O’Byrne, Teacher Naturalist

As part of the Rusty Blackbird Blitz which is an international effort to track down Rusty Blackbirds in their spring migration, I have been searching Banning Park., off of Maryland Ave in Wilmington.   Banning, not usually thought of as a nature hotspothas proven to be a popular spot for the Rusties’, most likely one of the best in the state. Read more about the Blitz here in a previous post to this blog.

Banning Park is an urban park in Wilmington with some nice natural habitat.

Banning Park is an urban park in Wilmington with some nice natural habitat.

Much of Banning Park is playing fields and picnic grounds, but there are also two ponds and a mature deciduous woodland.  The larger pond is bordered by the Amtrack RR line on one side and deciduous woodlands on two sides.  The last sideis a fishermans parking lot.  Along the back end of the pond, there is a wooded wetland, created by a stream that meanders through the woodland.

Here, a male Rusty Blackbird forages along a wet woodland, their favorite habitat on their wintering and breeding grounds.

Here, a male Rusty Blackbird forages along a wet woodland, their favorite habitat on their wintering and breeding grounds.  Photo courtesy of the Rusty Blackbird Working Group.

In the past couple of years, a family of beaver have set up lodging, with a major dam now flooding areas that were just boggy, and many of trees chewed off or showing chew marks – can you find the beaver lodge in the photo?

Here is some habitat favored by Rusty Blackbirds...wooded wetlands with muddy areas and wet leaves.

Here is some habitat favored by Rusty Blackbirds…wooded wetlands with muddy areas and wet leaves.

I first noticed Rusty Blackbirds here one or two years ago, so knew that this was a place to check-out during the Blitz.  On every visit I have made here since the March 7th, I have had at least 10 Rusty Blackbirds.  On April 2, I had a flock of 35 fly up into a tree where I could easily count them.  When I hike into the wet areas and sit quietly,  the Rusty Blackbirds fly in and start to flip leaves as they walk along the edges of the water.

Rusty Blackbirds feed at the edge of the water at Banning Park.

Rusty Blackbirds feed at the edge of the water at Banning Park.

Even though the wet boggy areas seem to be their preferred habitat, I have also seen them sitting in the tops of trees around the pond, and one day, I had a large group settle into the grass between the fishermen and the Amtrak line.  The many park visitors have no idea that they are being visited by such a rare and sought after group of birds!

Small urban oases are of great value for wildlife, including migratory birds that need these places as a stopover and feeding ground.

Small urban oases are of great value for wildlife, including migratory birds that need these places as a stopover and feeding ground.