Shots from Spring

Well, I am not quite sure what happened the last couple months. We had the gnarliest spring in the past ninety years, complete with three floods, surprise snow storms, and a fair dose of no sun. All that is behind us now after the grand finale this afternoon with a lightning bolt and a deafening thunderclap. No more rain, no more cold, only sun forever, right?

Aaron and myself crack a beer after navigating waist-deep snow in the coast range on a no-work day.

Organizing our Chicory selections

Chicory selections (never mind that two days later the river jumped its banks and Hank and I risked our necks in a tiny kayak attempting to save them blah blah blah)

The scoopmobile, the prized scoopmobile, the valiant, the proud, the defiant, the noble, the scary, scoopmobile! Oh, and some snow.

James dreams of a better Spring, on the coldest/wettest planting day in history.

But at least we still got to eat cake.

 

Quino-what?

The power of the quinoa is in the hills, at least around our parts where we need a slightly cooler nighttime temperature¬† in order for the Andean plants to set seed. And so, on a mildly rainy day last week we disappeared into the coast range and planted the quinoa starts at Frank’s house.

quinoa gets buddy-buddy with an apple tree

We also found some space for the last of our radishes, which were quite happy to join the quinoa outside.

Hydrating the radish starts before going out to be planted

This young buck was living in our manure pile

At the moment, we have completed transplanting out all of this year’s lettuce, our greenhouse full of plants has dwindled to a few stragglers here and there, and we are beginning to weed what we planted a month ago. Overwintered kale and mustard is beginning to set seed and others are in full bloom.¬† Everything is poised to jump up very soon!

Spring Training

I just got back from a trip to Michigan to visit family, and wham, we are back outside working! This week we transplanted our first set of lettuce and spinach, and we will be planting more as soon as it dries up enough to prepare more beds.

Anaka and I ran the manure bucket brigade

The last part of the week was spent feeding some Scarlet Ohno Turnips, and Wild Garden Kale, with composted chicken manure mixed with terra preta.

It has been wet the past little while, and to get to the field we are currently working in you either need a high clearance four wheel drive vehicle, or a row boat.

too deep for boots, too shallow for boats; we scraped bottom

We also began work on an expanded deer fence for an old and new section of field. Friday was spent with an auger, gravel and shovels, securing the new corner posts.

When this fence is up, our seeds will be certified Deer-Free.

mapping out the new territory, known as "the back field"

Drill, baby, drill

Going Rogue

These days at the Wild Garden, we are doing our very first selections on the seedlings we have recently planted.  When planting, we sow more seeds than necessary in each cell of our flats. The

thinning

making the cut

plants then need some space when they come up, so we take that opportunity to remove anything that looks like it should not be there. I also did a different type of selection the other day, separating a variety into its black-seeded and white-seeded types.

separating seeds

don't sneeze

Additionally, we have been observing wildlife. Some hungry squirrels have begun to raid a compost pile in search of delicata squash, bits and pieces of which may now be found in and around nearby trees. One particularly defiant specimen has taken to eating on the front wheel of a subaru:

squirrel

*note: squirrel is cuter than it appears to be

March Onwards

floating the row cover

floating row covers really do float.

cutting vents

Cutting greenhouse plastic around the frames for the air vents.

vac-away

The best use we could come up with for these vac-away seed cleaners: a work bench

Around the farm this week: lots of new plantings, and our first lettuces are just beginning to want to go in the ground.

We also got some vents installed in the greenhouse, which will help give the summer dwellers a breath of fresh air.

Before you know it, we will be back out in the fields, taking care of the varieties that overwintered, and preparing the way for the new crops. Our hoes are freshly sharpened, handles oiled, and our boots recently told me that they are excited to be back in the dirt.

96% is an A+

In a current poll on the MSNBC website, 96% of the 40,000 respondents said that they support mandatory labeling of GMO foods, choosing the option “Yes. It’s an ethical issue — consumers should be informed so they can make a choice.”

3.2% say they do not support labeling, because “The U.S. government says they are safe and that’s good enough for me.”

0.8% of people say “Not sure. It all tastes the same to me.”

Anaka oiling a hoe handle, moments before getting online and voting on the labeling issue.

If you want to throw in your own vote, visit the poll here.

It’s Electric

Today we had some time to clean a little bit of Delicata squash seed from fruits that had been set aside back in November, in the hopes of being eaten. Unfortunately, we stashed too much and could just not eat it all. A bin of squash sat on my porch through a lot of cold weather and a couple freezes, and the majority were still in perfect shape.

Meanwhile, Hank wired an outlet in the new greenhouse and conjured up some electricity.

Following his show of electrical prowess, Hank was spotted leaving work with a six pack of de-seeded and pre-cut Delicata squash.

New Doors, New Seeds

This week, we completed the construction of our new greenhouse doors, enabling us to proceed with planting the next group of lettuce which included Crispino, Outredgeous, and Blushed Butter Cos, to name a few.

Frank bird-proofs the new doors to protect the latest plantings from avian consumption.