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Apple a day…

Barcoded apple

Biting into the barcode on an apple, dreaming of the first garden meal…  This is one of the many little quiet-before-it-all-goes-crazy times that happen through the season, a few things already going, just waiting for the moment that seems right to start seeding the rest. I’ve been steadily reducing the time indoors for seedlings, and this year, with the greenhouse not yet moved and set up, and the disking of the newly plowed land being hired out—you can’t count in a scheduled date until the machine is in the field!—I have to keep in mind that there may be a bit of an extra delay, beyond the weather. So, I’ve been carefully waiting… With transplant seedlings, give or take a week or two or even three can make a lot of difference, or very little at all—weather, weather, weather!—and there’s nothing concrete to go on, just…instinct(?!)…a FEELING about when it’s right to start… :)



  1. Woa I wish I had that instinct-feeling… Never had the “green thumb”, which is why my family and friends are so surprised that I’m doing this “gardening project” (I actually like to call it “food security”).
    Does it come with practice? Does it hit suddenly?
    On the other hand I do love the uncertainty of it all, the being-up-in-the-air-until-it-lands.
    Love that picture!

  2. I know the feeling. Cant imagine living as far north as you are. Im in northern Kentucky, just planted the first potatoes and radish’s. I have tomato plants that are already 8″ high, just for an experiment. Onions go in this weekend, cant wait!!!

  3. I hate those veg/fruit stickers. I am good at removing them but other household members are not. Then they end up in the compost which I then spread on the veggie patch and then have bar codes everywhere. One of my pet peeves.

    Has your tiny farm experimented with winter harvest with crops like corn salad, arugula, endive, black & china rose radish etc etc? I am going to try them this fall in a coldframe & poly tunnel and was wondering if other Ontarian’s have had any luck with them?

  4. Dan I just read Eliot Coleman’s *Four Season Harvest* and am inspired to try a winter harvest as well. No experiences to share as yet, and not in Ontario either (Boston). Coleman’s new book *The Winter Harvest Handbook* is coming out soon, in April.

  5. A great blog you keep,  I am finding myself checking in now to see how your seeds are doing. 
    Funny about your apple sticker!
    Good luck to your farm and all you do . . .

  6. Oh, it’s  pinata! Love those apples! Are they hybrids?

  7. Mark: Well, I CAN imagine what it must be like to have a longer season! :)

    Dan: Little patches of barcode peeking up here and there through your garden–that sounds so odd. I can picture it. It would drive me crazy…

    I’ve tried corn salad in an unheated hoophouse over winter. Just small quantities. It grows great, amazing to see it actually growing with nights going way down into the subzero. It’s a plan to grow unheated winter crops (spinach, carrots, corn salad, etc), but I need a second, bigger greenhouse for small production quantities. Another future plan!

    Sarah: Thanks! Round about this time of the year, I feel like I might track individual plants right through the season! But when it gets a little busier, that idea’s hardly a memory… But maybe it’d be fun to follow a couple of plantings this year…

    Katrien: I don’t know much about apple varieties, but I think this one’s an Empire, from the supermarket. I like buying apples at the farmers’ market, at the last market we were selling at, the apple guy had around 20 varieties–chatting about which ones to buy was great… Apparently, a hundred years ago, there were around a THOUSAND varieties of apple on sale in North America.

    And, I agree, Coleman’s Four-Season Harvest is a GREAT tiny farming book, everyone should have a copy!

  8. Thanks for the info Mike. I am going to try about 10 different hardy greens along with a few hardy radishes, red celery & potato onions this fall & winter. I will keep you posted on what varieties do best.

  9. worldharmony

    Your photo brought back memories of the time I visited an “Italian” restaurant. While eating a salad, I bit into a tomato slice- and the brand-name sticker attached to it.  It was like having the 4th wall broken in a theater performance; the conceit of eating garden-fresh vegetables was ruined. 

    I am starting my own subsistence farm this year in Ohio and am excited about this adventure- no more brand name, barc0ded vegetables for me!

  10. Maureen

    We have  a few varieties of apples eg James Grieves ,Egremont Russell ,Lord Lambourne (which looks very like the red one in the picture )They weigh the fridge /freezer down in the winter so i make mincemeat which can be used to make cakes also  but a load of mincemeat only uses up 2 fresh apples  .Each spring before the apple blossom appears i feel  we might not have apples this year .Last year we had  only a few plums oand no  grapes either ,probably because it is just a small garden ,not a farmbut it might have been because i put some cat litter on greenhouse floor which might have been wrong PH for grapes We have planted rocket and blackeyed beans in growbags covered by plastic zipped mini green houses delivered from Scotland .Theyonlylooked small in th epicture but they are quite sizeable really .Wish  ihad bought more than 2 of them  

  11. EtienneG

    Beside Four Season Harvest, Coleman have also written (and self-publish) a booklet called the “The Winter Harvest Handbook”.  It is only 15$ directly from Coleman and from certain selected source (I think Johnny’s have it).  It is good, much more concise and dense (only ~ 100 pages, IIRC), and much more geared toward the small-scale commercial grower.

  12. EtienneG: I had a borrowed copy of The Winter Harvest Handbook a couple of years back. It was great, lots more detailed info specifically about winter growing than Four-Season Harvest. Now, it’s coming out (March 25!) as a full-blown book (Chelsea Green Publishing).  It’s listed as having 256 pages, so it must be way expanded from the original handbook, which was maybe 30-40 pages? Anyhow, that’s cool, can’t wait to see it!

  13. EtienneG

    Really cool indeed!  We need more literature geared toward micro-farming[1].  Coleman style is really unique, very straightforward and practical, totally usable for real-life stuff.  There are too few of those.

    [1]: I wish there was an English word that would convey the same meaning as maraîchage in French.

  14. Does it come with practice? Does it hit suddenly?
    It’s fantastic !

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