Market Season is Here!
We kicked off this year’s market season with another intense series of events—opening day at Downtown Growers’ Market, the Sustainability Expo at UNM, and La Montañita’s Nob Hill Earth Fest. After a long few months being holed up down here working, building, talking to plants, and fretting over the bank account it was SO GREAT to see all the folks we’ve been missing, and have the money flowing in a much more exciting direction. And it’s so fun to send our little plants home with people to start their gardens! And after that whilrwind week, it only took two solid days of vegging out and soaking in gratitude to be ready to get back to work.
Sparkling Flavored Water is Launched!
After a whole lot of permits and paperwork and a few struggles with our new kegs and carbonating system, we finally debuted our flavored sparkling water. We brought two delicious flavors—Peppermint and Lavender—to the first market and they were a great success! I’m obviously partial, but I’m completely hooked. They’re so fresh and yummy. They just taste of plants in the most true and delightful way. We have a batch of Rosemary brewing to add to the selection tomorrow, and it is super tasty, too!
Progress in the Greenhouse
With the exception of the liliaceae, the last trays of plants stuck imprisoned in tiny plugs have been bumped up to larger pots. We cleared out enough space at our first few plant sales to make room for a new wave of big trays and I hope the poor ones that spent so long in such tight quarters will forgive us and grow big and healthy.
Meanwhile, the ginger has begun sprouting and a few have moved into pots from their flats while we try to figure out the best way to build a raised bed for them. As the lavender comes out, the ginger will take its place and fill up a large space in the greenhouse.
The eggplants seem to be holding up well after tackling the aphids. No new mold has appeared and they continue to look strong and are growing consistently. They do, however, have a few holes now thanks to a couple tiny rogue grasshoppers.
It appears that the trouble with the tomatillos may have been entirely self-inflicted by yours-truly. Another search of the almighty internet revealed photos of plants with symptoms that look identical to what ours were experiencing and the problem was simply oedema–overwatering. With the troubled leaves removed, the new growth seems to be looking much healthier.
The tomatoes seem to be suffering from another issue, they are showing lots of yellowing and purple veins. Research led me to believe that may be caused by soil temperatures too low for the plants to metabolize nutrients. Kemper moved them into larger pots with added compost and gave them a round of fish emulsion to see if we can keep them a little warmer and supplement their nutrient needs. As soon as it’s warm enough for them to go in the ground, we hope they’ll be happy and healthy.
Plants in the High Tunnel
This week we picked up a load of compost from my brother at Soilutions and got our first bed—Chughole Meadows East—in the high tunnel double-dug, composted, and planted. Yay! We shuffled the original plan a little bit to get the most desperate plants in the ground first: beets, broccoli, and cauliflower. When I started beets to transplant, I expected to have beds ready to plant into by late March. Now that it’s nearly May… Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
It’s a ton of work to prep a bed that way with our solid hunks of clay, but the plants in Shady Acres that got the double-digging treatment are looking nice and healthy! So I continue to believe it will be worth it.
We’re also planning to implement better soil conservation practices through the winter. For any beds that won’t be growing fall and winter crops, we will either cover crop or apply alpaca manure and a heavy layer of mulch and allow it to compost in place through the winter. Completely abandoning the garden for six months as we’ve done the past two years certainly couldn’t have helped.
The onions, scallions, leeks, and chives (the last starts still stuck in tiny plug trays) are headed for the ground just as soon as we finish digging and prepping Orchard Estates East. We got partway through this morning before the rain came in and forced a tea and farm journal break.