Category Archives: Winter vegetable production
Here’s the 2013 Fedco Seeds order. I order the majority of my seeds from Fedco for several reasons.
- It’s a cooperative, not a conglomerate
- They buy from/support small seed growers, some of them Fedco staff
- Maine business: local starts at the beginning, not at the grocery store.
- Staff is wonderful. And funny. Helpful, informative and are folks who are just like me and maybe you
- Best prices I’ve ever seen, and I’ve looked at hundreds (some repeats, different years) of catalogs in the last 25 year
I’ll eventually move some of this list into new blog entries. One will be varieties that are new to me, seeds I’ll plant in February and March in the high tunnels, varieties I grow only in high tunnels, and who knows what else might cross my mind.
This isn’t a complete list of everything I’ll grow this year, it’s just the order from Fedco. I’ve ordered from Renee’s Garden (A media kit so I’ll be writing about that order, too.) and will order from Johnny’s (which is not owned by Monsanto). I have some seeds in stock.
204 – Provider Bush Green Bean
265 – Indy Gold Bush Wax Bean
577 – Fleet Bicolor Sweet Corn
680 – Painted Mountain Ornamental Corn
710 – Coral Shell Pea
818 – Oregon Giant Snow Pea
1234 – Cross Country Pickling Cucumber
1302 – Ministro Slicing Cucumber
1407 – Golden Arrow Zucchini
1504 – Saffron Summer Squash
1611 – Zeppelin Delicata Winter Squash
1633 – Eastern Rise Winter Squash
1655 – Blue Hubbard Winter Squash
1672 – Galeux dEysines Winter Squash
1687 – Waltham Butternut Winter Squash
1702 – Wee-B-Little Pumpkin
1710 – Diablo Pumpkin
1713 – Lumina Pumpkin
1716 – Jarrahdale Pumpkin
1718 – Winter Luxury Pumpkin
1719 – New England Pie Pumpkin
1727 – Rouge Vif d’Etampes Pumpkin
1740 – Cheese Pumpkin
2108 – Early Wonder Tall Top Beet
2310 – Harris Model Parsnip
2378 – Purple Top White Globe Turnip
2398 – Laurentian Rutabaga
2425 – Bleu de Solaize Leek
2447 – Whitewing Onion
2490 – Rossa di Milano Onion
2498 – Walla Walla Sweet Spanish Onion
2510 – Space Spinach
2728 – Red Salad Bowl Lettuce
2980 – Lettuce Mix
3220 – Tatsoi
3260 – Shuko Pac Choi
3303 – Tendergreen Broccoli
3338 – Falstaff Brussels Sprouts
3352 – Golden Acre Cabbage
3375 – Ruby Perfection Cabbage
3410 – Snow Crown Cauliflower
3469 – Kale Mix
3471 – Kolibri Kohlrabi
3764 – Early Jalapeno Hot Pepper
3837 – Revolution Sweet Pepper
4135 – Opalka Paste Tomato
4207 – Juliet Tomato
4418 – Genovese Basil
4530 – Bouquet Dill
5152 – Helen Mount Johnny-Jump-Up
5211 – Crackerjack Mix African Marigold
5305 – Brush Strokes Pansy
5355 – Carnation Rose Poppy
Originally published in Lancaster Farming on April 14, 2012
Do you remember spending several days on a project, cutting pictures out of magazines and gluing them to poster board?
You carefully wrote a caption under each picture, trying very hard to not make a mistake so that you didn’t have eraser marks on your poster. There were hours spent pouring over “three sources” for information, and properly citing those sources.
I remember a lot of these projects. By the time I was done, my projects were so big I either struggled to take them on the school bus, or my mom felt a little pity for me and drove me to school.
It’s not like that anymore, unfortunately.
In spite of making a lot of changes in text, there were no eraser marks on my presentation. I served as my own source. I missed the paste and glue, Mum’s old magazines and a pair of scissors, colored pencils and Magic Markers.
I spent several days learning how to use PowerPoint, browsing through folders of my digital photos, taking new photos, resizing said photos, and inserting them into a PowerPoint presentation.
When I finished the 21st century version of cutting and pasting, I had a presentation called “Extend Your Homegrown Harvest — Grow Your Own Veggies February to December.” It was a little bit disappointing. Seven megs of information should require more space than a folder on a thumb drive.
It was worth my time and energy and, in the end, turned out to be a pretty good presentation, if I do say so myself.
Last Saturday I gave my presentation to a fantastic audience at the Bangor Garden Show. I was surprised by the number of people who came to see the show. I have wonderful family and friends who came out to support me and lots of people who were interested in learning how to get a head start on the growing season.
They took notes on the back of my handout and in notebooks they brought with them. One person dozed off while I was speaking, but she was awake and taking notes when I looked in her direction a few minutes later.
I started out with the big stuff — high tunnels — and compared the snow outside Feb. 7 with what it looked like inside with spinach growing, bare ground and beds ready to plant. The additional warmth and lack of snow give overwintering plants a tremendous head start.
We moved on to smaller hoop houses, more appropriate for a backyard garden and much easier to build. You can grow anything in a hoop house that can be grown in a high tunnel. We looked at the “skeleton” of a hoop house made with PVC conduit to see how simple a hoop house can be.
Neighbors joined the ribs to the purlins and ridge pole using wire ties, then wrapped the connection with duct tape to keep the ties from rubbing holes in the greenhouse poly. It’s important that everyone see how simple this really can be.
For those looking for a smaller project because of size, need or zoning restrictions, I brought 10-foot pieces of electrical conduit bent into ribs that are 4 feet and 6 feet wide and no more than 4 feet tall. These sturdy ribs can be stuck into the ground to stand on their own or clamped to the frame of a raised bed for additional stability. A line of these ribs, placed 3 to 4 feet apart, form a low tunnel. Low tunnels are covered by spunbond material or greenhouse film.
I seriously thought about bringing pre-cut boards, brackets, screws and a cordless screwdriver so that I could build the frame for a raised bed. Now that it’s over, I wish I’d done it. It would have been a great way to show everyone how easy season extension can be.
Build the frame, fill it with soil and compost, plant. The soil in a raised bed warms earlier than that in a flat garden. If you add a low tunnel over it, you can extend the season by a month on each end of the growing season.
If you add a cover to a raised bed, you’ll have a cold frame. Cold frames are great for seed starting, overwintering plants, growing in the ground and in pots. Cold frames and raised beds can be any size that suits your needs. I recommend making them no wider than 4 feet, so that you can reach the center of the frame or bed from both sides.
I hope everyone found something useful in the presentation. I certainly learned a lot while putting it together.
It’s almost time to leave! I don’t speak until 5 pm but need enough time to walk through the displays and vendors and see some of the demos. The Power Point presentation is on a thumb drive in my pocketbook, hoops are leaning against the Jeep, props are waiting to be loaded into a bag and, oh wait! I can’t forget that thing that most of us keep in the fridge. It’s one of the simplest, most productive tools in season extension…
When I said I hadn’t posted much because there’s only so much to say and repeating it would be boring (or something like that), many of you messaged to say you’re not bored. So, here we go again. It’s the start of 2011. Things are different here this year. The only thing I’m going to do on the borrowed acre of land up the road is find out what the owners would like planted for a cover crop. I’m one woman. I can’t do it all.I don’t want to do it all. I’m over it.
Everything will be grown here on one acre. I have three main goals this year:
- Get as early a start outside as possible in order to have a bit to sell to locals. The freezes in Florida and Mexico are causing fruit and vegetable prices to soar. I wasn’t going to do this but I feel like it’s something I need to do.
- Put up enough fruits and vegetables to last my family 18-24 months. I’m at the mercy of the weather, as always. The weather is so bizarre now that I want extra put away in case 2012 is as unpredictable. My sister won’t be having a garden this year so I’ll be growing for her too.
- Grow enough extra for one school for the Farm To School program in the fall.
If I have extra in the summer I’ll sell it. I’ll be selling seedlings but not nearly as many as in previous years.
In between all of this I have a bi-weekly column and occasional report to write for Lancaster Farming.
It’s supposed to be 30*+ on Wednesday and Thursday this week. I’ll be in the tall tunnel Wednesday and the long tunnel Thursday. I’m waiting a few days to decide what I’ll be doing on Friday.I hope the potential snow turns out to be sunny and warm.
Coming up – a 2011 To Do list, info on a couple of workshops I’ll be teaching and an update on Ava.
There’s not a lot of time for writing right now. How about some Show ‘n Tell? Let’s start with the turkeys. They’re now 8.5 weeks old and growing like crazy. They live in a turkey tractor with a fenced in yard. When we move the tractor the turkeys get a brief chance to roam. They love dill and cabbage.
I prune suckers from the tomato plants until they’re so high I can’t reach. The cherry tomato plants are 11-12′ tall now. It won’t be long before I’m picking the tomatoes on a step ladder.
I’ll spend the rest of today digging the garlic. I’m about a quarter of the way through. Tomatillos need to be picked and readied for delivery to Bank Square Pizza in Eastport. Bushels of tomatoes will be picked for pre-orders going out for delivery tomorrow morning. Fall planting has started. It won’t be long before it’s time to pull the tomato plants from the tunnels. I hate that day. Perfectly healthy plants will come out to make room for the fall/winter plants. I learned my lesson two years ago when I didn’t do it soon enough and didn’t have much growing in the tunnel that winter because plants didn’t establish themselves well before going dormant.
The pumpkin field is a failure. We haven’t had enough rain to keep the plants going. I’m thinking through some ideas on what to do next year. I’ll get it figured out.When I till it under I’ll plant a cover crop to help protect the soil and add a little green manure. It will most likely be winter rye and maybe a legume mixed in.
It’s time to turn under the spent beans. They finished up early this year because they started so early. I won’t have them for Farm To School. I’m doing a lot of shuffling for the schools for the first six weeks of the contract. Not fun. The last planting of broccoli is done and going under too. I’ll replant that field with broccoli, peppers, eggplant, etc. with winter rye as a cover crop.
I’m writing for Lancaster Farming now. I submitted the first article a few days ago. LF covers Maine to Virginia and is looking for more news in Maine. I’m VERY excited to be writing for them. I’ll do a little reporting and write a column. My winter plans are solid now that I have a new paying job!
These are updates pasted in from the farm’s facebook page. It’s so easy to add a blurb in seconds over there that I’ve neglected the blog.
I hooked up 300′ of hose and watered the large high tunnel. I usually can’t use the hose until April because of the snowbanks on the north side of the house where the faucet is located. Love it! 40* and sunny. I had the door open to circulate air in the tunnel. Garlic’s up and doing well.
37* (unusually warm), snow, sleet, freezing rain, flog, rain and sunshine today. I set more traps in the newly planted tunnel today. Something’s digging holes in the freshly turned soil to find the seeds I planted. Voles? Mice? We’ll see.
I’m attending a Farm To Cook meeting this afternoon. Farmers and school cooks are getting together network and learn more about the Farm To School program. I’m very excited about this. This is our Kids Menu.
The Farm to Cook meeting was great. I’ll be working with a local elementary school and a university!
We registered for a high tunnel workshop to be held in late March.
We’ll be at the Washington County Food Alliance meeting this afternoon. 1-4 pm @ Whitneyville Hillgrove Community Hall. Members of the Alliance represented us at the Hall of Flags in our state’s capital last week.
Washington County Food Alliance is working on building agricultural infrastructure in Washington County (Maine). Part of the problems food producers have are laws that make no sense. A farmer prepared this pamphlet for legislators at the Hall of Flags last week. It was waiting for them when they got to their desks Thursday morning. This link opens to a pdf file.
(note: Legislators were open to hearing about these bad laws. The juice law will be rewritten next year.)
The ducks started laying last weekend. Duck eggs are my favorite for baking. I found this snake skin amongst trays in the seedling house this morning. The 128 tray above this one wasn’t nestled in and left just enough space for a small snake to slide in. A 128 tray is a tray with 128 cells.
I picked up two more schools in the Farm To School program after a long conversation with the superintendent.
It’s an excellent winter to be a four season farmer. It’s warm! We’re regularly in the high 30*’s and 40*’s and some parts of the state are hitting 50* now and then. We have about 4″ of snow not counting the dusting we’re getting this morning. The largest high tunnel is planted and thanks to a small snowbank behind the house and warm temps, the seeds are well watered in. I ran 300′ of hose yesterday from the outside faucet to the tunnel and soaked everything. I’m normally not able to get to the outdoor faucet until some time in April. Once I patch a very large hole in the small tunnel I’ll fill it with beet greens. We could still get a lot of snow. March is typically our snowiest month. When it snows in March though we know it’s not going to last long.
I’m hoping to know the outcome of the high tunnel grant by the end of the week.
We spent a full day at a working retreat for Washington County Food Alliance last week. We got a lot accomplished and left with to-do lists and visions for the future for food producers in Washington County. I feel like we’re a lot more organized on one hand and beating our heads on the wall on the other hand. There’s so much to do to build farming infrastructure in this county. Maine is a huge state. All of the other New England states would fit inside Maine’s borders. We have only 16 counties. Washington County covers a huge area. So much to do…
Steve is ice fishing with Jon today and Taylor’s still asleep. She’s been on vacation this week. She went to Bangor to the basketball tournament game for her high school’s boys team. They lost so that was the end of tournaments for them. She had an orthodontist appointment Thursday. Other than that, she’s been holed up at home working on one of her college classes and hanging out. Her employer is closed for the week so she’s had a real vacation.
The first of the tomato seedlings are up and growing.
This week brings a skipped school day to shop for a prom dress and shoes (being an awesome kid comes with advantages like a mom who lets you skip school and takes you shopping and out to lunch), a Farm To School meeting, a best friend’s birthday luncheon and sunshine. It’s a good week!
I didn’t realize I hadn’t written in a month.
Seriously. What a summer. August was nice so what’s left of the garden is producing well. The tomatoes that haven’t been wiped out by late blight are doing well and ripening. The potatoes didn’t fare as well. It killed all of them but I think they had a chance to produce well. We’ll see soon. I’ll start digging later in the week. The eggplant is gorgeous. (I started this several days ago, the Red Pontiacs are fine.)
The meat chickens are remarkable. They’re smart. Raccoons killed three the first night in their pen so we moved the chicks into a lobster crate and kept them on the sun porch over night. They quickly learned to come to the front of the pen and wait to be put in at night. In the morning they started flying up to the edge of the crate, jumping down and putting themselves in the pen. They’re friendly. I wish my dumbass layers were this friendly. If the butcher will take them the meat birds are going out to be slaughtered. I remind myself every time I see them that they are not pets. They’re always on the move and growing well. They came from Welp. I’ve been very pleased with their birds both times I’ve purchased them.
Three of the four coons have been trapped and killed. We have a male and two kits so far. The mother is still out there. Nasty nasty animals.
Animal count : two bears, a young moose that meanders through even if I’m outside, raccoons and the latest, coyotes that yapped 200 yards from the house. The coys were here two nights ago. The kitchen door was open and the screen door wasn’t locked. The dogs heard the coys and all three went after them. I didn’t hear them last night. A flock of turkeys passes through but aren’t doing any damage yet. The poults are young and small for this time of year. The bears have disappeared. Someone told me the problem bear was shot but I don’t know that it’s true. There are plenty of apples for them now so they shouldn’t show up again.
Taylor’s back in school and working. Her coarse load is wicked this year. She’s taking a college history course, trig, CP chem, honors English, advanced art and more. She’s making good money at Nook & Cranny. She earned enough to buy herself a very nice laptop that will be delivered tomorrow and more school clothes. She’s an excellent shopper. She paid $106 for $262 worth of clothes from her favorite brand name.
We’re working on the new greenhouse. We’ll have ribs up and baseboards on this weekend. I’m ordering baseboards and wiggle wire today.
I still love the tractor. Steve’s used it for some town work. He’s donating the equipment and his time to save the town some money. I’m getting the weed seed bank under control and making the ugliness of this year’s growing season disappear.
I’ll be supplying a new wholesale customer next year. I no longer go to farmers market. I have enough poly to make 1,250 sq ft of low tunnels for the winter.
I’m making the transition from full time farmer to full time writer several months earlier than normal. I usually spend six weeks writing full time in the winter. I’m doing that now. The first children’s book is waiting to be put into an envelope and sent to publishers. The weather is too nice to figure that out right now. The ten day forecast is incredible. Clear sky, warm to hot days, cool nights, low humidity.
I bought a 1600 sq ft hoophouse this afternoon. When I called about it a few days ago I’d missed it by a couple of hours. The seller kept my name and number just in case and fortunately for me, just in case happened. It will be delivered in a few hours! This brings our covered space up to 2,800 sq ft (not counting the seedling house). I think that might be enough. I’ll spend part of next week planning what to plant, the layout and crunching some numbers to see what I might be able to come up with for a true profit in the first year. It will pay for itself easily. Here’s the ad:
Greenhouse is all disassembled at this time. Included in this package are the hoops, purlins, drive legs, Poly covering, poly pipe with watering drops, several wire top benches and an amount of concrete blocks for support of the benches.
With delivery included, $1,400. I was expecting to pay $3,500 for 1,000 sq ft. As soon as the broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are done I’ll pull the plants and we’ll start building. It will go up as two houses rather than its original 88′ house. I’ll fill the houses with cold weather greens for the winter and tomatoes and eggplant next summer.
We secured financing for a tractor right after it was sold yesterday. It was sold pending financing. Being able to say “I have cash” helped me get the hoophouse today. I’m hoping the same sentence lands the tractor in a few days!
They didn’t really “range” any where but I’m going with the term anyway. Late last summer I neglected to clean up onions that went to see in the cold house (high tunnel/unheated greenhouse/hoop house) and they started to grow last fall. They were dormant for a while before starting up slow growth. One plant started to send up a seed stalk yesterday so I pulled a couple of them today. Wow! I’m impressed. They aren’t huge but they look and smell great. I think they would have been larger if I’d started watering sooner. I will plant onions intentionally late this summer for a next May crop. Having onions on opening day of farmers market in May of ’10 will be something they’ve never seen before!
I know it snows in late March in Maine sometimes but that doesn’t make looking at it better. Ugh. Enough already. I do feel a little tropical this morning though. I’m writing to you from the tomato plant jungle. Note to self: late January might be a little early to start seedlings. They resemble redwoods. Some don’t fit under the grow lights anymore. It’s still colder than I’m comfortable with in the gh’s at night so I’m shuffling plants around. They can go outside on 40* days as long as it’s not windy. The eggplant are fantstic too. The first batch of peppers are up.
The greenhouse has the “in-between” look. It’s in between winter and spring crops. I toasted some endive seedlings yesterday by not paying attention to the temperature. By the time I realized how warm it was outside it was too late inside. Some of the leaves were crispy. They hadn’t finished acclimating to the cold over night temps before I let the temp climb to 125*. Dammit. I don’t often believe in luck but in this case, I was lucky just a few plants were killed. They’re still in the soil. I can afford the time to see if anything grows from the center of the plants. If not, let’s just call it a mini green manure crop. ;)
We’re going to pick up rockweed tomorrow. It’s a kind of seaweed. It’s full of micro nutrients from the ocean. When the snow is gone I’ll spread it on a spot in the garden and let it sit. When we’ve had four or five dry days in a row in April the weed will become dry and crunchy. It’s easy to rototill in then. If it’s wet it gets tangled in the tines and results in language I shouldn’t repeat here. I’ll start a big batch of rockweed tea to use in the greenhouse and watering seedlings, mix some into a cold compost pile in the gh, give some to the chickens to scratch in and pile the rest. When I mention picking up rockweed someone (same guy each time, I delete him without allowing the message through) gets upset and leaves me a nasty message about how picking up weed is illegal and I’m killing a valuable resource. It’s not illegal to pick up the loose weed on the beach. We can’t gather live weed connected to rocks. We pick up so little weed over the course of a year that it’s truly insignificant. And to Martin, in case you’re still reading, don’t bother. You haven’t answered my question to your response last year.
I’m going to seed trays of broccoli and cabbage today. The soil block maker is here. I’ll find some sand and try it out. The pepper seedlings I mentioned earlier need to be potted up into six packs or maybe soil blocks. Steve’s going to a Northwoods Mafia meeting tonight. It’s an informal group of men who work in Maine’s northwoods. There are contractors, foresters, wood buyers, equipment operators, truck drivers – anyone you can think of involved in the logging industry. They get together every two or three weeks to relax, have a few drinks and eat good food at someone’s camp. The location changes each time. Tonight the host is making a New England boiled dinner. Steve won’t be home til tomorrow morning so I can have a relaxed day of not watching the clock. Taylor will make supper for us. I can poke around doing as I please all day as long as I get everything done. It’s a good thing.
Wonder what kind of hits the blog will get in the next few days. I’ve talked about weed (those folks are going to be disappointed if they try smoking this weed) and the maffia.
I haven’t had a great desire to use soil blocks. Steve saw the makers, the soil and the clincher – got a lesson from Eliot Coleman. Using them will cut back on the amount of plastic I use, always a good thing, and supposedly save me time. I need to drop in at Lucy’s blog with a cup of coffee soon and read up on them. There are things I didn’t think I’d ever be able to have in the business but thanks to Steve’s increased interest in what I do, I’ll have them. How about a heated bench under a low tunnel inside the seedling house for seed starting? Gettin’ it. Greenhouse on wheels? Gettin’ it (not this year).
I’m searching my backups for photos that were deleted when I changed servers.
Eliot explained the new six-move rotation he’s worked out for his new movable green houses. One 1,000 sq ft greenhouse covers 6,000 sq ft of ground a year. We paid close attention.
Sarah, Keith and Alison are here from Kentucky. Why someone leaves 71* and sunshine to come snowy Maine (and fall through the ice, but that’s another story) is easily explained. We’re going to visit Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch today. Keith would like to start four season farming with vegetables on his farm, Black Bridge Farm. Sarah was here three years ago to visit Eliot with us. Keith came along this time so that he can see in person who see how easy this is.
I’m taking a blank SD card and will bring back lots of pictures.
I’m settling in to Steve’s pending unemployment. It hit me hard even though I knew it was likely to happen. Rather than let it sink in and catch my breath I jumped into action. Then I sat back and wondered what I’ve done and a whole list of “holy crap!” worries. It’s ok now. News got out Thursday and on Friday he was approached for a job. It’s too soon to jump into that but it’s nice to know the options are still open.
So, I said I jumped into action. By the end of the day Thursday, the day we got the news, I made arrangements to rent land from Jan and Paul. When I called Steve to ask what he thought of renting an acre he said, “Why not two?” By Friday my thought was “TWO?? What was I thinking? I can’t manage three acres without bigger equipment.” I think I’ve worked that out. I’m working out the details of what to grow and have people lined up to sell it all. Between Jan calling me to ask if I’m ok as soon as the news broke Wednesday, another friend who called to check on me and friends Melissa (my sister), Mary, Elaine, Tammy and Jamie stepping up to say “we’ll help” I’m much more confident. There’s a new urban farm 30 miles from here. I think they’re interested in wholesale purchases this year. Elizabeth Sprague from Down East Business Alliance told me about them. I hate hate hate saying “I need help” but when I did I certainly found it. I’m grateful, and when I think about how many people surrounded me, I’m teary eyed.
Enough emotional girly stuff already, huh? ;) I have until next Friday to figure out what I’m going to grow on the unexpected two acres. Now that my stomach and head have settled down, I’m excited! I know we’ll have pumpkins, winter squash and corn there. I’m not sure of what else yet. This means I’ll put in the Nights of Rodanthe dvd for the fourth time, make a pot of tea and get out the Fedco catalog. We’re going to Fedco Friday to get my supplies. I’ll shop in the seed warehouse while I’m there.
It’s going to be warm enough to transplant the cold weather greens seedlings I have in the house out to the big greenhouse next week. I’m looking forward to it!
Taylor’s driving today. She came home with an application for a program that might take her away for six weeks this summer. She’s incredibly independent. And she’s going to the prom wearing her 8th grade graduation dress with her girlfriends as her date. Prom is kind of bizarre here but after 18 years I’m getting used to it. Taylor can go as a sophomore and have a great time with her friends. The “real” proms for her come in the next two years.
In one of the greenhouses today:
Tatsoi. The seedling on the right had been nibbled on this morning. When I went back in this afternoon to put the row cover back on the plant on the left had ben eaten and more of the other eaten. I put traps out. Meadow voles will go into a box, walk over the snap trap and be caught without the trap being baited.
Winter Density lettuce seedlings.
Covered for the night. Notice the snow 4′ away, against the greenhouse walls.
Thankfully, not in the greenhouse but one of the greenhouses in the background.
I read that Jan’s ducks are laying. Mine are not. “Ok ladies, I know you’re not spring chickens…err...young ducks…but let’s go. I’m feeding you. You should be feeding me.” We’ll see what tomorrow brings.
I started seeds for sage, endive and lettuces today. The tomatoes, sage and eggplant have been potted up into six packs. They’ll go into 4″ pots and then maybe 6″ pots before being transplanted into the unheated greenhouses. The seedlings in GH1 are doing well. Seeds are slow to germinate for some things. Sunshine would help but instead, we have 7″ of snow coming Thursday.
The raccoons are out of hibernation for mating. It’s a regular wilderness out here these days. I have to make sure the doors to the hen house and barn are closed well at night in order to have heads on all the birds in the morning. The dogs have been eager to tree coons. The secret word is MOFGA. Steve said they put up a big fuss after I went out last night to get Taylor at the high school.
Maine Vegetable & Fruit School. I’m meeting Jj there. Steve looked at the workshops and decided to go with us. We’ll be at the March 31 session. We’re interested in all of the topics and I’m excited to meet Vern Grubinger.
Time to close those doors – it was dark an hour ago.
I love a fresh start. This week is a bit busy but should off the farm be productive. The Downeast Athletic Conference championship bball games for boys and girls are today. Tomorrow and Wednesday have me out. I think I’ll read a book I’m going to review Thursday during the bad weather and prune Friday.
I spent part of yesterday in greenhouse 1 transplanting lettuce seedlings that were crowded. The onions that self seeded last year look great. I’m surprised at how good they look. Seeds aren’t germinating yet but the plants are growing and looking good. I need to start watering more often, a real pain without a hose. Maybe I can come up with something to catch a lot of water in Thursday’s mixed weather. If I had a piece of corrugated roofing (?? maybe I do ??) I could rig it up some how…need to think about this some more.
It kind of feels like spring, or as much of spring as you can get when it’s 6*. This morning it was cold but the sky is clear and so incredibly blue that I squinted against the bright sunlight. The birds have started their spring songs. Male bluejays are tapping out their territory warnings on the telephone poles. My turkeys, yes they’re still alive grrrrrr, are gobbling back and forth at each other and strutting around. It was too cold to butcher two weeks ago as planned. Maybe this coming weekend? My tomato seedlings have their first true leaves. When I walked under the apple tree this morning I snapped off a branch. It’s very old and has no new growth other than buds but I’m hoping it will open anyway. I put the branch in a milk glass and put it in the window. I should put on my snowshoes to gather birch branches and give them a try.
I’ve created a late winter/early spring to do list. In no particular order:
- prune apple trees. I can reach up higher into the trees when the snow is deep. Saturday’s rain and yesterday’s 45* helped make the sold more dense. The cold temps now will make it solid enough to walk on with snowshoes easily.
- prune lilacs
- clean seedling house
- pot up greenhouse tomato seedlings
- dig up grass in greenhouse #1
- order meat chicks and poults, layers and bantams
- plant onion seeds as soon as they arrive
- renew greenhouse license
- apply for new stocking permit (rainbows) for pond
- get other house ready to sell
- prune raspberries
- clean hen house
- start my broccoli, cauliflower, kale and cabbage
- start broccoli, cauliflower, kale and cabbage for early planting customers
- start the rest of the seeds
- clean duck barn
- build new fire pit at the pond
There are approx. 20 vegetables ordered from Johnny’s that aren’t on this list. If you see something “missing” it either came from Johnny’s, I already have it and maybe don’t grow that veggie. Some of the greens will be seeded into the soil in a four season unheated greenhouse, others will be transplanted and the rest will wait for spring.
Bean, Royal Burgundy
Bean, Indy Gold
Peas, shell, Coral
Peas, snow, Oregon Giant
Peas, snap, Sugar Ann
Cucumber, pickling, de Bourbonne
Cucumber, pickling, National
Cucumber, slicing, Market More
Squash, winter, Waltham Butternut
Pumpkin, Galeux d’Eysines
Squash, winter, Blue Hubbard
Beets, Early Wonder Tall Top
Beets, Golden Grex
Beets, Detroit Dark Red Short Top
Radish, Easter Egg
Turnip, Purple Top White Globe
Leeks, King Richard
Onion, Crystal White Wax
Lettuce, Black Seeded Simpson
Lettuce, Red Sails
Lettuce, Thom Thumb
Swiss Chard, Bright Lights
Endive, Tres Fine
Pac Choi, Prize Choy
Brussels Sprouts, Falstaff
Cabbage, early green, Gonzalez
Cabbage, green, Ruby Perfection
Cabbage, savoy, Frigga
Cauliflower, white, Charming Snow
Cauliflower, purple, Graffiti
Kale, Red Russian
Pepper, frying, Jimmy Nardello
Pepper, Early Jalapeno
Pepper, bell, New Ace
Pepper, bell, Revolution
Tomatillo, Verde Puebla
Tomato, large heirloom, Pruden’s Purple
Tomato, yellow cherry, Wow
Tomato, paste, Amish Paste
Tomato, hybrid, Juliet
Tomato, hybrid, Jet Star
Tomato, hybrid cherry, Super Sweet 100
Echinacea, Purple Coneflower
Marigold, Brocade Mix
Marigold, Tangerine Gem
Sunflower, Mammoth Grey Stripe