Chives are great. Usually considered a herb, and like many other herbs, chives are extremely low maintenance, compact, prolific, and never fail to please the senses. Cut them and they come back quick. What more could you ask for in the busy veggie garden?! The herbs section this year is serving mainly as a nursery for new crops (tarragon, lovage, a new variety of rosemary) and perennial holding spot, all for future herb production. It would be great to harvest a nice selection every week, but you also need enough of a market to justify the time spent snipping and bundling, and once you start, you have to keep it up: consistency generates word of mouth! And it turns out that most of the 50+ shareholders are picking up off-farm (mainly at the farmers’ market), else they could help themselves. So full tilt herb production is waiting on other things to move ahead. Meanwhile, no waste. Chives, along with curly and flat-leaf parsley, are occasionally making it into CSA shares. And there’s always…personal use!
Spearmint, peppermint and some replacement rosemary are all that’s left in—right outside—the Extended Milkhouse. Most of the spring seedlings are in the ground (a few are still in the greenhouse), and it’s time to transform the Milkhouse set-up from seed starting to overnight harvest storage and a place to take a break from extreme weather.
At work transplanting really tiny basil in the still-to-be-shaped-up herb patch, Andrea is doing her very first day of tiny farm gardening. It all worked out very well! After nearly a month of working with Conall, the all-new organic grower, almost every day, and having several other people out for a few part-time hours, it’s a different season for me compared to the previous four. Not less work (we’re planting way more than ever before), but the energy is different. Before, largely working alone, it was more of an against the odds thing as I faced the fairly massive task of each season’s start-up. I liked that solo mission adrenaline and challenge. Now, it’s more of a people puzzle, as this season’s small crew assembles. By the time it comes to more substantial harvests in three or four weeks, I’ll be totally reliant on teamwork to get it all done. No going back: it’s like, Tiny Farm II: People in the Field. :)
Picked up some herb seedlings from local growers at the farmers’ market yesterday. From the bottom left: peppermint, lovage, spearmint, rosemary (started here from cuttings), and tarragon (peeking in from the corner). I generally grow everything possible from seed, so the ones from the market are a bit of an instant treat. I’ll buy a couple of seedlings and multiply them myself to production quantities, which in this case means next year, at least, for the lovage and tarragon. Last frost date was May 18, the 15-day forecast is well above zero C, so it’s now time to get all of the seedlings in. It’s also time to direct seed the flowers. Lots to do…
One part of this year’s plan is to expand the herb area from a few beds into a real little herb garden AND to create a home veggie garden. Here is the starting point (along with my shadow). At the bottom of the photo in the overgrowth are sections of sage, oregano and thyme, all doing fine after overwintering with no cover whatsoever, other than the snow. They need to be cleaned up and I’m going to move some. Next, I finally transplanted the parsley from plug sheets started in February, two varieties, Plain Italian flat leaf and Green River curly. The open area is waiting for warmer nights—over the next couple of weeks, I’ll transplant dill, basil, and see if cilantro can survive the jump from tray to field, and direct seed a bunch of others. I haven’t quite figured out where cutting flowers will go, maybe some here as well. And then, in the top corner, marked by 6′ stakes for trellis netting, I’m doing a home veggie garden, 20’x25′, with a little bit of everything, a tinier version of the big garden… It’s a little crazy as far as making work, but the idea is to have a demo for farm stand customers who want to start their own gardens. The more veggie gardens the merrier! :)
Finishing off the potato planting. Sherry is a second year CSA member, Brian a regular customer at the farmers’ market. They both approached me to get into the field for a bit, and it fit with the People Year on this tiny farm. It’s fun and it’s tricky. Each little step away from the ultra simple model of just me and the field brings on more considerations along with whatever the improvement—in this case, the basic pleasure of sharing work that’s fun to do! Continue reading Potatoes and people
The seedling side of the greenhouse is already almost full. All of the tomatoes, eggplant and peppers in 3″pots (around 700) are out there, which is only almost a quarter of everything that’s going. I’m gonna have to make some space! There are many things to do. Last frost date is approaching and the long-range weather forecast, not worth a lot but still worth looking at, predicts temperatures steadily rising—planting out to the field will likely happen “on schedule” around the 20th. The farmers’ market is also starting, and I need to do some carpentry to finish up the new stand. Two-thirds of the potatoes still have to go in. There’s a whole list of seedlings that need to be started indoors. There are the flowers and herbs to tend to, separate areas on their own. The grass is jumping and the paths need a first mowing now! And so on. If you’re into a little higher pressure gardening, around here, this is the time of year for you!