Spring is Near

This is a difficult time. The seeds have all arrived. The onion plants have arrived.  Waiting…

…..and the rain just keeps coming.

A few days without rain are all that are needed to start working up ground.

Last week was beautiful. Mike had the tractor out, discing to loosen up sticky soil made heavy by winter rain. This is the first step—cut into the top layer to open it up and let oxygen in, so the water can evaporate. And it works quickly, even if the temperature is not very warm. In three days last week all the puddles disappeared, the back field was nearly dry enough to prepare for potatoes, for that is where they will land in the rotation. Broccoli and cauliflower two years ago, winter squash last year. Now it will be potatoes’ turn.

One more day was all that was needed. And then the rain returned. And it’s still raining. While we were at Della’s first track meet, we stood soaked by the downpour and wishing it would stop.

The January ice storm crushed all of our greenhouses.

After. Much better, the crushed arches replaced with heavier steel.

But all is not lost. The greenhouses are all repaired. The big one that we planted with carrots, beets, and salad greens is doing well. The next one that we planted in spinach and radishes is nearly sprouting. Inside, the temperature is at least 10° warmer, even if it’s cold and rainy. Even warmer if the sun peeks out. We can fabricate spring if we need to.

When we start harvesting next week for our Spring Season, we will have rapini, kale, green garlic, spring onions—all overwintered from last fall. Soon, the purple sprouting broccoli, spinach, pea shoots, and swiss chard will be ready to harvest.

My work begins in earnest now, to fill up Greenhouse #1, Arizona, with many, many flats of starts that we will plant out in 4-6 weeks. Lettuces, cabbages, scallions, those earliest broccoli and cauliflower—crops that will be ready for the end of Spring and beginning of Summer Season, late May-early June. Cucumbers will go in Greenhouse #2, California—those sweet, seedless, Persian cucumbers that we fell in love with last year. We didn’t lose our indoor cucumber plants in the short summer, unlike all of the outdoor cucumber plants that succumbed to the mysterious cucumber virus of 2011.

We started these pullets in November, so they'd be ready to lay eggs in April.

The pullets (young hens) we started last November are nearly ready to start laying. They will move into their new house this week, fitted with nest boxes and straw. Plenty of space to be comfortable. The older hens are picking up the pace now, just in time for Easter. Eggs are plentiful in the spring, but the hens need to be re-instructed on where to put them so that we can find them. This is the real Easter Egg Hunt, every day.

One response to “Spring is Near

  1. Wow! What a great box to kick off spring 🙂

    I have grand plans for the rapini, broccoli, and chard. I’m excited to see all the lovely greens. The last few days I’ve been laid low by a spring cold and reading “An Everlasting Meal” by Tamar Adler. I always use as much of my box as possible, saving anything I can’t eat this week by freezing or preserving.

    I’ve been inspired by Adler to “Catch my Tail” and use veggie odds and ends that might otherwise become compost, to make a
    spring tonic to help give me a boost. Just knowing I’ve got fresh healthy veggies, so alive with sun and rain, makes me feel better already. Here’s to a great growing season!

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