Week Nine :Â Â Plant Babies!
Starting new seeds might be my favorite part of this whole gig. It’s so amazing to put those little pieces of magic into some soil and then see them pop upÂ as living, growing beings! Sunday we started several more trays including spinach, kale, lettuce, basil, and holy basil.
Several of the little guys we started last weekend have popped their heads up. The cabbages were first, followed closely by the cauliflower. A couple days later we got the tomatillos and eggplants and then the tomatoes. The chile and sweet peppers still haven’t made any signs, but the teeny little celeries are starting to pop their cute little crooked necks up today! We have two tables now with florescent light fixtures (one with purple plant bulbs and one with regular cool white) and space heaters, but I think the lights are to far away from the plants (and maybe too low wattage) to be accomplishing the amount of light those little babies need. They’re already rather long and leggy. (Which, of course, has us dreaming of a greenhouse just as much as ever!)
We’re looking at plans and a budget to build a prototype greenhouse using stock panels, PVC, or 2x4s and plastic sheeting along the south side of the hallway. I just finished charting the position of the sun throughout the year (azimuths and noon-time elevations for the solstices and equinoxes) to try to estimate wether we’ll get enough sun for it to be a functional space or wether the structure on the east side will impede its performance drastically. But that is, after all, the purpose of the prototype. If it works, we’d build it earthship-style with wood beams and glass panels and hope that we can vent heat into the house in the winter and out in the summer.
The radishes in the garden are also popping up! And so are what appear to be new baby clover in the pathways!
We also finished measuring, staking, and mulching the remaining beds in the garden and since it’s getting confusing trying to describe exactly which section we’re referring to, I thought it would be great to name each set of beds as if it’s a crappy subdivision. We could have ‘Wolf Berry Park’ and ‘Orchard Lane’ and ‘Tunnel Gardens’ and eventually ‘Sunset Place.’ After those beds were happily covered under mountains of hay mulch, Kemper, Jack, and Evie seeded the rest of the pathways with cover crop.
I scored a couple blackberry plants thanks to Mick, a classmate from the Mother Course who works at the Hubbell House. He said they were getting torn out, so I think we’re going to put them in the orchard and build on our bramble collection.
This week’s class at Las HuertasÂ covered crop production planning and was a great overview to the principles that should guide those decisions. Sean is so amazing at bringing a balanced and wise perspective to what always seem to me as daunting and intimidating processes. He talked at length about fitting the production to the business plan and not vice versa, showed us tools for calculating seeding rates for different crops, emphasized the importance of thorough notes, and spent a lot of time talking about the observations and factors that should inform the plan. Then he asked us to come up with a goal or vision or mission statement to serve as a guiding focus for our decisions. I have a draft. With any luck, Kemper and I can agree on a vision for BlueFly Farms and let it guide us through the comingÂ months and years.
The biggest of the apricot trees we planted last year is flowering and gorgeous, and the peach has a thousand buds getting ready to burst. Meanwhile, along the whole valley, the cottonwoods are still asleep but the tippy-tops of all the elms areÂ glowing florescent green. The cranes seem to have all gone home. And cucumber beetles are appearing throughoutÂ the garden.
Looking forward to celebrating the equinox and the bursting of life and the goddesses of fertility and the miracle that is Spring.