Pining and Planning for Spring

We may get snow in February, but the Purple Deadnettle is determined to stay blooming, just in case the bumblebees emerge and need feeding.

COMING SOON: An exciting, new, amazing season!

Two weeks ago it snowed and it was frozen for days on end. Our greenhouses aren’t heated, so we couldn’t even plant inside them because the ground was frozen.

We’re in a freezing spell—February is always the coldest month—but the Willow hedgerow is blooming. Pussy Willows are flowers, and their pollen is the first thing to feed hungry honeybees. They don’t really need nectar in early spring, they need protein-rich pollen to feed their babies, and Willows are the perfect source.

But March is a fickle month, and all you have to do is wait a day and spring starts to happen!

The first Purple Broccoli sprouts are coming. We started these last July, and put the plants in the ground in August. That’s 8 months of growing time. Can’t wait for the CSA to start in just a few more weeks!

I gauge the start of our harvest season, for both CSA and market, by the timing of the rapini and broccolini crops. Sprouting broccoli is already starting, but the kale, turnips, and cabbages are just not quite there. But they are getting ready.

I planted sugar snap and shelling peas in mid February, on top of a heat bed in the greenhouse. I’ll be planting them in the ground this weekend, and we’ll be eating them mid-May through June!

But what to do in the waiting time? Well, I have taken to going away to sunny places. Della and I travelled to New Mexico and visited the monuments and national parks. A week of bright sun. Next week I’m taking both kids to the Utah parks and Grand Canyon. Then it will be time to really focus on farming.

It’s finally not freezing, and the days are getting longer, so I’ve started planting greenhouses. This one is full of carrots! Another contains rows of radishes, arugula, salad greens, cilantro, dill, and chervil. Yet another will be full of baby turnips, beets, and more greens. These are the crops that we’ll be harvesting in late April and May.

In the winter weeks at home, though, we clean up and I plant. Here are the peas I started in February, on a heat mat. They’re ready to be planted in the ground this weekend. And the other greenhouses are full of carrots, beets, turnips, radishes, and salad greens. I can’t wait!

It looks like we’ll have a glorious weekend to get a spot of June greens planted, and the fava beans. Plus, we hope to get the potato ground prepped. The onion plants have arrived and they’ll be getting planted soon as well. Already, this year is shaping up better than last year. Because last spring, it didn’t stop raining until May. And we didn’t get anything planted outside until almost June.

Keep an eye on your email inboxes, because CSA startup information will come to you right after March 21! It’s the final countdown! I’m aiming for March 31 as the CSA start date, and first West Seattle Market date of April 1.

With the feed mill down the street, we always have a rodent problem here. Rats, mice, and voles. I have to set traps for mice and rats in the greenhouse, and right now they’re liking the peas, so that’s the bait I use. Later I’ll change to basil and cabbage seed. Our little terrier mix, Mario is an amazing ratter, and Cosmo gets paid a bounty for shooting them with his air rifle.

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