Well, this isn't what you would expect for the second day of spring. Forecast calls for even more snow today and tomorrow. Though St. Patrick's day is the usual signal for us to get the peas into the ground, snow on the very last day of winter has deferred our plans giving us a little more time to plan.
This year we have decided to forego our seedling sales at the farmers markets and local plant sales and concentrate efforts on really perfecting things on our micro-farm. It's a bittersweet decision. We are relieved that the hard work that starts from February and ends around Memorial Day will come to an end but we are sad at losing that seasonal connection we have with our community. We've already gotten so many emails from people who have grown our plants in the previous seasons, wondering if we'll be doing them again. Marie from Nyack told us that she was only able to grow a certain Italian eggplant with our seedlings because of their strength and vitality; prior to that she had tried many times and failed. This makes me a bit sad, but with a toddler, I have the pull the reigns in and prioritize!
So the key words for this season are "simplicty and abundance". With that in mind, we're opting for less maintenance and more permenance. For example, we made our greenhouse just a place for dwarf citruses: Sweet navel orange called "Trovita", "Golden Nugget" mandarin orange, Bearss Lime, Keffir Lime and Meyer Lemon trees. We found a great source for them at Four Winds Growers in California. They were really exceptional at helping us choose what would work in the ground in a permanent greenhouse and we look forward to citrus fruits winter through summer.
Where we were growing things for large yields, we realized that you can actually have too much garlic. We are trimming back on the amount of garlic grown and using beds to plant low yield veggies that we're interested in like artichokes. We already started to seed them. They are tricky to germinate because they need to spend 8 hours in temps of 85 degrees and the rest of the time in temps of 70 degrees. A heatmat in the greenhouse will serve as a place for those alternating temperatures naturally.
New chickens will be integrated to our current flock that has been whittled down to 5 chickens after some illnesses and predator attacks (one that included our own dog). There's an art to integrating them so hopefully that will go smoothly. Two years ago we ordered day old chicks from Ideal Poultry in Texas and they were sexed properly - we didn't get one rooster! Look for updates in late spring... Speaking of animals, we are also toying with the idea of getting a cat to help keep the chipmunks and squirrels at bay this year but the thought of one more life to care for at this moment is definitely making me hesitate.
And finally, we want to better manage what we have already planted for the best yields. That means really paying attention to pruning and training especially after a year of grape vines gone wild. And we'll also continue more with the nutrient density soil management we were on top of before the baby came into our lives. Hopefully this mama will get back on track continuing the blogs about what we do here after a short hiatus due to sleep deprivation.
Happy Spring and may this season bring you simplicity and abundance!