Tiny farming: herbs

Gardens within gardens

Herb and home gardens

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! :)

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Potatoes and people

Seeding potatoes

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! More »

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Greenhouse filling up

Greenhouse filling up

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!

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Rosemary cloned

Rosemary clone

The little gamble on propagating rosemary from frail cuttings paid off at 20%. Out of about 40 starts, eight took root, this without any sort of rooting compound. I put them in 3″ peat pots yesterday. They’re headed for the summer herb garden.

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Chives

Chives

More tiny greenery from the trays! Chives are doing well, they’ve already been out in the sun and wind for a few days to toughen them up, and will be heading to the greenhouse soon to make way for others under the lights. Also in the herb collection this year: sage, parsley, thyme, rosemary, cilantro, dill, oregano, basil, and possibly fennel, marjoram and savory.

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Rosemary revival

Rosemary cuttings

A little experiment in vegetative propagation—replicating rosemary from tiny, stressed cuttings. Most of the potted rosemary taken up from the herb garden last season got toasted after too many -20°C nights in the unheated greenhouse (a bit of a random how-cold-can-they-go experiment). These tiny cuttings came from one that was taken indoors earlier. They’re kinda frail and stretched from relatively low light (“etiolated” is the typically uncommon technical term). They’ve already been three days in the tray, let’s see how they do. (results)

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