The Ball Begins to Roll
Well, the proverbial ball begins to roll this time of year. We have been extremely busy in the past few days on the farm. We pulled new plastic on our main hoop house after expanding it an extra 8+ feet, built a small greenhouse off the barn, just opened the stand Thursday through Sunday for fresh egg sales and have begun the process of sanitizing seed trays, gathering material, setting up light tables and going through our newly arrived seed packets with a calendar and sharpie marker in hand. It looks like the first seeds will be sown around the 18th of February and then the ball picks up speed from there! We hope to have some excellent selections this year including more plants for sale! These: (herbs; multiple varieties, tomatoes; multiple varieties, a smattering of other vegetables, and even some flowering annuals including DAHLIAS) should be out and available by the 2nd to 3rd week of May. Keep posted to our Facebook page for exact dates as they become known. All this work helps keep me from the winter doldrums thank heavens. Unfortunately, not everyone out there has this work to help them get to spring. For those of you who need something now to keep you going, I would suggest a small window-sill garden.
This can be as simple as growing wheat grass you can use in your green smoothies or else picking up a packet of mixed micro-greens seeds to add to salads, sandwiches or to use as a bed for poached salmon. All you will need for this to work is a warm, sunny window-sill, a medium to large strawberry clam-shell container, some seed starting soil, a spray bottle, some basic herbal tea (chamomile is best) and a waterproof tray that will fit under the clam-shell.
In a bowl, mix some seed starting mix with water, adding little bit of water at a time. When the soil is just moist enough that you can squeeze a handful of it into a ball and it mostly keeps its shape, its done. Transfer the soil into the clam-shell to about 4 inches deep. Plant seeds at depth on packet, generally, this means sprinkle the seeds on top of the soil and sprinkle some of the moist soil over it to a depth of less than 1/4". Your spray bottle should be filled with a warm (not hot) or else cool but not refrigerated cold, diluted mixture of chamomile tea and fresh water (if you have heavy minerals or LOTS of salt in your tap water, use bottled or purified water.) Spray the seeds until the top layer on top begins to sink down (pack in) but it shouldn't be swampy wet. Close the clam-shell, place it on the waterproof tray on your sunny window-sill. Check for water daily by opening and touching the soil lightly with your finger. The soil should be moist but not saturated. Notes: The packet of seeds will tell you how many days you can expect to wait for germination. It is that number, plus of minus a few depending on the windowsill conditions. Also, if your clam-shell has excessive holes in the lid, you can cover it with plastic wrap.
In as little as 7+/- days you should begin to see signs of life! Harvest your greens (remember to wash them before eating them as bacteria can grown in micro-climates like clam-shells) and enjoy!