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“It’s December and nobody asked if I was ready.”

–Sarah Kay

December already?

December is the month we head towards the longest night of the year. The cold, gray, short days always make me want to hibernate! A blanket, a book, a hot drink, and I can be settled in for a long time.

This year, we are excited to have a new heated, high tunnel in which to plant. No surprise, it filled with plants very quickly. I know it’s December, but visions of tomatoes are already dancing in staff heads! The new tunnel will be the home for the spring tomatoes in 2023.

Rotating where crops are planted is critical for plant health, and doubly so for tomatoes. Even with different crops planted after the tomatoes come out, it is best to move them to a different location each year.

We have tried to plant more of the crops you requested—more escarole and salad turnips, specifically. Look for them in your CSA share. Basil is still growing from the summer planting. The cilantro and parsley are both growing very well, and you should see both of them in your share this winter also.

It was four years ago this month that we first planted in our new hydroponic house. What a game changer! Now, we plant both hydroponically, and in the ground, with heated and unheated tunnels. The tunnels have made it possible for us to be a small farm with big dreams. We now grow more than ever before. We have learned so much in order to fulfill our mission of four season growing.

An unexpected side benefit of these heated tunnels is that I can walk into one any cloudy, snowy, gray winter day and step into a lush, green, growing landscape. It is always a lift to my spirits and a great reminder that spring will come again.

In the meantime, we enjoy the more relaxed pace of winter growing and harvesting. We harvest each day what we need for the farm market and the shares. Fresh is best!

If you have herb pots inside for your kitchen, be sure to wipe the leaves once a week with a damp cloth. This helps keep your plants healthy.

Which herbs do well in your house? Cilantro, parsley, thyme, rosemary, and oregano. I have always found basil to be picky about lots of sun, and it doesn’t like to be close to a window (too cold). If you have a warm sunny spot, you can experiment with basil. Let me know if it works for you!

Now is when we start our reviews of the year and what grew well, what didn’t and why (if we can determine the why. Sometimes it just doesn’t work.). Feel free to weigh in on what you liked or didn’t like or would like to see more often.

What a year! Hard to believe 2023 is almost here. Thank you for your support of our family farm. We could not do it without you!

Come see us at the farm market to eat fresh, eat local, eat well. Growing beyond expectations since 1832.

Follow us on Facebook @highlandorchards and Instagram @highland_orchards for behind-the-scenes views, tips, and news of what we are doing.

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Feel free to email with questions or comments to [email protected]

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