Just a Tease

We hope you got to enjoy the balmy weather last week and this week. It does seem to have been just a tease of things to come. Later. Tonight the low is supposed to be 16F, and tomorrow - 4F! So, winter is still here, reminding us not to jump the gun. 

Still, the warm weather was helpful for getting some work done. We are currently designing and building tables to hold seedlings in our new greenhouse. You can see one below, partially filled with trays of onions! It's a bit of a work in progress, but we are ironing out kinks as we go. And we need to go - we seeded all of our onions this week, leeks will be next week, and it just keeps growing from there!

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The table frames are made from aluminum stock, and the tops are lobster trap wire, which is not only coated in plastic (won't rust!), but the alignment of the wires makes it easy to slide trays across the table without catching their corners. 

Here's a shot of the rosemary and marjoram we started last week. They are underneath a potting table to keep them out of direct sunlight. This allows them to give more energy to growing new roots instead of photosynthesis.

This week we will also have some Japanese Pussy Willow stems for sale - a little midwinter treat. The warm weather sped them along to the right stage to harvest, so they are ready now. They make beautiful dried arrangements, or, if you want them to leaf out, you can keep them in water and they will grow.

Stay warm, and see you at market!

-Ailish

Plugging Right Back In

Hi everyone,

I'm back from vacation. I got to enjoy some unseasonably balmy weather out west, and I brought it back with me. You're welcome. I hope everyone has been enjoying the warm days like we have. It got so hot on Wednesday we were down to T-shirts and tank tops in the greenhouse.

Speaking of the greenhouse, it's coming right along. We started seeds in it just this week! There's still irrigation, tables for seedlings, general organization and storage to do, but we will get there. Below you can see Ben and a friend of ours working on setting up the overhead irrigation system. 

As well as starting seeds, we also started some rosemary and marjoram cuttings propagating in soil. We keep the mother plants in a small hoophouse (see below), where they are able to weather the winter fairly well. We do have to use several layers of row cover (the white cloth on the outside of the beds) to add several layers of protection, which translates into up to 10 degrees of additional heat retention. The rosemary is on the right and the marjoram is on the left. The marjoram is going on two years old for most plants, and most of the rosemary is actually three years old! In between the herbs are some onions that may or may not thrive. Some mice discovered them in the early winter... quite a few of them have recovered, but not all.

Besides marjoram and rosemary, we also propagate and sell sage, thyme, tarragon, spearmint, and peppermint seedlings. Because the marjoram and rosemary are so protected, it's possible to start propagating them now.

To propagate the herbs, we cut fresh, green stems, strip the leaves off, and slip them into well-watered plugs. It's key that they stay almost damp and out of direct sunlight until the plants recover from being cut and start to put out new roots. Usually that takes about 4 weeks or so. When the newly grown roots have just reached the bottom of the plug, we pop the plugs out and grow them on in 4 inch pots, which we have for sale at market in the late spring and early summer.

Speaking of market, we will see you at market this weekend!

-Ailish

A Taste of What's to Come

Did anyone else feel like May or June had come to visit this week? In the greenhouse on Tuesday I had to stop working and look desperately for my summer boots because my feet were so hot in my winter boots.

But I was in the greenhouse! Starting seeds! It's one of the most exciting times of the year, when the small act of planting seeds in the greenhouse promises (literally) tons of bounty to come. We seeded all of our onions, leeks, and shallots - they require long growing seasons, so we have to start them now in order to harvest them in August, September, and October. We have also started rounds of spring greens - lettuce and spinach, arugula and mustard. Look for those to start appearing at the market in a month or so. 

The warm winter meant that the rosemary I have planted in one of our high tunnels stayed quite healthy, and we were also able to start propagating rosemary cuttings this week. Rosemary is in the mint family (which roots from cuttings well), but it takes longer than mint to put out roots - about 3 weeks to a month. Mint will put out new roots in days! It will probably take these rosemary seedlings about two months to grow big enough to sell at market. 

We are trying an experiment with our mushroom logs. We have taken a stack of logs that put out its first mushrooms last year, so they should still have plenty of fruiting to do, and put them in the greenhouse. We will shade them there and water them well, with hope forcing them to fruit in the next week or two!

Our featured recipe this week is a Chile-brined Fresh Ham. Ben followed the recipe almost to the letter, so instead of rewriting our own version, I will just direct you to the original. The one change we made was to use 3 tablespoons of our own dried chili powder instead of fresh chiles, however, our frozen Krimzon Lee chiles would be a good medium-heat subsitute for the serranos. We will bring copies of the recipe to market.

See you at market!

-Ailish

We Keep Telling Ourselves...

That Spring is right around the corner! And it is, even if it hasn't felt that way the last few days.

We have received all of our potting mix (see below) from Living Acres in New Sharon. We have five more pallets of it - this is all we can fit in the greenhouse at a time. We use the potting mix to make soil blocks for our farm seedlings and to fill pots and packs for the seedlings we sell at market.

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We just had a new heater installed in the greenhouse, so we will jump into seeding next week with onions and some flowers. This week, even, Ben direct-seeded some early greens such as arugula, spicy greens, and leaf lettuce. You can see the furrows in the photo below, which are created by the seeder (photo below that). The seeder drops seeds in one long, straight line, and it also packs them down as it goes. We use this Jang Seeder for all our direct-seeded crops. 

Our recipe this week is for Kohlrabi Hash Browns. The recipe was given to us by a customer, Karen, who made the recipe for a class at the FARMS Community Kitchen. Ben and I made them last night, and we found that for extra crispiness, make the patties fairly thin. Yum!

See you at market!

-Ailish