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Garlic rising

Garlic in early April

The garlic really pushed up in the freakishly summery end-of-winter days, already around 6″ high. Don’t recall exactly how far ahead they are—there may be pics on the blog from this time in past years, I haven’t checked—but this is pretty big early growth. I’ve been wondering about deer tucking in as they are about the greenest thing around at the moment, but it seems they’re not to the deer’s taste. And they’ve done fine through a couple of -5°C/23°F nights, and a bit of snow. So it’s so far looking good for the first crop up this season!

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It’s gotta be summer!

Wayne doing tractor yardwork

Wayne doing early evening yardwork SHIRTLESS on one of his trusty old tractors means it’s gotta be summer, right?! Well, this is actually only the first day of spring, a balmy 27ºC (80ºF) one that even got the sweat rolling just a bit around midday walking around the field, and cooled down gently as it pulled into dusk. Nice, but freaky. Late March in the last few years around here has often been pretty clear of snow, but days and days of summer temperatures…never. Birds are twittering, the grass is greening, and garlic is already pushing up through the mulch. Crazy weather continues…

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Greenhouse out in the cold

Greenhouse in snow, early March

Checked out the greenhouse, haven’t been out to see it in a while. As usual, it’s there! I’m still always…pleased that it handles whatever weather comes at it, no problem. The first installation, it was in the middle of a 9-acre garden and hayfield, no nearby windbreaks, for five years unfazed, through real blizzards and windstorms that felled trees and took roofs off of houses. Reliable!

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Drip, drip, drip

February: snow vanishing again

This isn’t really winter. No-one around here has seen anything like this weather before. February around here means knee-deep in snow drifts. Deep freeze. Instead, it’s been…raining. The strange, roughly weekly cycle continues: a few days of cold and snow, then up goes the temperature again. Can’t say it is having a huge effect on me, though, because I’ve been mostly holed up for the last month. Soul searching, re-examining my life in tiny farming. Trying to put things in perspective… Well, not exactly. :) I’d love to do all that stuff (although it also sounds a little depressing), but I’m not really wired that way. How do you search your soul, I mean…where IS IT? Been reading a lot, and…online. Splitting wood and building fires when it does get cold enough. Gearing up for the new growing season by chilling out a bit now. Watching the weather…

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Nothing like New Year’s Day!

New Year's Day 2012

The holidays are fine and all, but in recent years, I’ve liked New Year’s Day! This is the view to the left from the front door—the market garden is about a mile down that road. Our little stretch of winter-like weather is holding, but it’s supposed to warm up and rain a little later, so most of this snow will likely soon be gone. For now, a nice, white and wintry start to what I’m sure will be an interestin’ year all round. I’m up for it. Happy New Year!

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Building Soils for Better Crops

Building Soils for Better Crops, 3rd Edition

Had the downloaded digital version of this book since the 2nd edition, for at least a couple of years now, dipped into it, but still haven’t read it through. I should and I will. This winter! The 3rd edition of Building Soils for Better Crops: Sustainable Soil Management came out last year and it’s even better, full of practical science for the upward-looking tiny farmer and veggie gardener. Here’s the blurb: “A one-of-a-kind, practical guide to ecological soil management. It provides step-by-step information on soil-improving practices as well as in-depth background—from what soil is to the importance of organic matter. Case studies of farmers from across the country provide inspiring examples of how soil—and whole farms—have been renewed through these techniques. A must-read for farmers, educators and students alike.” The PDF version is a free download, the printed version is about 20 bucks. There’s a fair number of soil books and books that cover soil out there, but for the tiny farmer, this is pretty much one of a kind.

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