Saturday, February 14, 2009

Planting outside, sort of.

Today I continued with the early spring planting. First I sowed some Sweet William in the house and then I planted in the greenhouse!

It's so odd to think about using the greenhouse. I only know bits and pieces of what can happen there but I figure I'll learn by doing. So today I turned over the soil, as much as possible. There were areas that were too frozen to dig, mostly at the ends of the beds near the doorways. Since I failed to tighten up the greenhouse last fall, it has slowly been sagging between the support posts from the weight of the snow and the cover is not lined up on the frame properly. The result: airways, wind moving through the greenhouse and cooler temperatures and frozen ground. Live and learn, at least I hope so. I am looking forward to snugging things up come spring.

The categories I am planting now are:
1-Really hardy items, the type that you are supposed to plant "as soon as the soil can be worked".
--peas, spinach, arugula, other hardy greens
2-Vegetables and herbs and flowers that self sow.
--cilantro, parsley, mustard greens, kale, cosmos, etc.
3-Trials of mesclun and lettuce, just to see what happens.

I worked out a basic plan for the greenhouse, allowing for the fact that I can't plant it all now since the ground is still frozen in places. Later I will be setting out some kale, collards, endive and head lettuce plants that are currently in the house.

Another fun farm thing today was that I spoke with my farm intern, Heather, and we signed her up officially to make her school happy and talked about our expectations in terms of time and work. Heather will be working for experience and knowledge, as well as for a half-share for her family. The internship will fulfill part of her requirement for her Bachelor in Culinary Arts degree at The New England Culinary Institute. It will great for me to have company and help with the planting, harvesting, weeding, and ETC. Heather is an excellent cook and one way she will be helping the farm will be to share some of her cooking ideas using fresh vegetables. Yum. Be sure to check out the recipe blog as the season progresses.

The chickens have not laid as many eggs the last few days as they had been. They seem perky and bright eyed so I think all is well, but it is a bit worrying. So far the top egg count has been 9 per day from 10 hens. A few days ago I broke down and ordered 3 more hens from Murray McMurray's Hatchery. I just want some of those blue and green eggs so I am getting some Araucana/Americanas. (More about the new chicks in a later post, I am sure.)

I am just about done with the seed order. It would have been better to have done it earlier so I would have some of the seeds I need on hand but at least it will be done soon.

Most of the CSA shares have been sold already. There is still 1 full share or 2 half shares and 1-2 mini shares. It makes me feel secure knowing that the farm has members already. And it's exciting that there are new people involved this year. Also great that folks are returning from previous years.

Now I can just concentrate on doing the best I can growing things!

Time to shut up the chicken coop...

Varieties planted February 14:
Coral peas
Big Stem Mustard
Tainong Mustard
Yukina Savoy
Arugula Sylvetta
Osaka Purple Mustard
Perpetual Chard
Rapa Turnip
Cutting Chicory
Winterbor Kale
Red Russian Kale
Cracoviensis Lettuce
Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce
Corn Salad - Vit
Wrinkled Crinkled Cress
Endive Frisee

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