Sunday, April 29, 2012

April nearly gone..

Not much blogging going on this month because there is so much to do in the garden and greenhouses. No end of seeding, transplanting and transplanting again. The mesclun salad mix and radishes planted in the soil of the high tunnel look to be on schedule for their first harvest for our St Martins Farmers Market, opening may 20th.
Sometimes I imagine the plants are looking at me reproachfully.."Put me in a bigger pot, NOW !"
Things are more or less on schedule but for the end of the month cold snap..2 more nights of -3C forcast , 2 more nights of scurrying bleary eyed to tend the wood stove in the tunnel greenhouse twice a night. At the same time there are nocturnal visits to the barn to see if the mini foal has landed yet. The mare looks at me as if to say, "What you again? Go to bed and stay there!"

Instead of a series of young Wwoofers helping and learning this year we have Gudrun from Germany, here for 6 weeks to learn about growing for home and market in the Maritimes. A formidable woman with a set of bush nippers, here she is pruning the shoots off the big linden trees after singlehandedly pruning all the nasty thorny blackberries and the remaining raspberries.
We had a fun day off and did a road trip to Corn Hill Nursery near Petitcodiac for a learning seminar on grafting and pruning fruit trees, where we learned a lot. I bought my replacement raspberry and strawberry plants there. The raspberry patch ran down years ago but it was only last summer I was able to prepare new ground in an area with better drainage.

This is the new garden that grew a crop of buckwheat last summer, that was green manured, horse manured and had bags and bags of leaves turned under. Its a crumbly joy to work with and so full of earthworms. There are four  95' rows of raspberry plants (hard to see but all 200 of them are there) and a row of potatoes between each raspberry row.  I like to get the early potatoes in asap for market, and then I take my time with the late storage types. We should get a decent berry crop next year and a really magnificent crop the third year. Which is when I will probably be hanging out the u-pick sign.
Today the leeks finally got planted, we really do need more hours in the day...Gudrun is making holes with the dibble and dropping a baby leek in each hole , followed by a small bit of soil. This gets the base of the plant down deep where it will blanch. The rain will gradually wash in more soil as the top of the plant grows up out of the hole.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Little plants everywhere

Soooo busy with seeding and transplanting, moving flats about to keep tender seedlings in the warmest places, keeping the fire going at night in the plastic high tunnel... it feels like I have a large ever expanding green family to take care of.
Most things start off in the house under lights, with the really fussy stuff like peppers and tomatoes germinating all cosy and warm on a plug-in heat mat.

Then the messy transplanting work  to individual pots takes place in the glass greenhouse.

There is supplemental electric heat at night when it's needed.
In the plastic high tunnel the salad greens and radishes are up .
Here's the nasty surprise we woke up to yesterday ! Two very different perspectives in this house...Jimmy : " Wow ! Look at the beautiful winter wonderland !'
Me : "Oh noooooo!! #**!!%*!
We put a woodstove in the tunnel a few weeks back, which has enabled me to plant in late march.

I'm so glad I got this garden tilled up the day before. That's last fall's composted chicken house litter, all winter's wood ashes, a layer of grass clippings and some patches of fall rye being mixed under. Good stuff.
And here is tomorrow's project. I was SO excited to open this package today! I think this material from will be perfect to go with the painted compass in the cottage reno project 2 posts back. There should be enough to make two sets of curtains and a cover for the mattress in the kid's reading corner. Rain forcast for tomorrow...perfect!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ouch! that had to hurt!

My poor hen! This egg is HUGE! After a scarcity of eggs all winter the girls are making up for lost time and really cranking them out. I never cared much for eggs, its the icky texture i guess...but made into a kale omelet I can eat them even without a piece of toast to help them down.
This is the neverending kale, planted from seed last spring, transplanted to the garden where I picked it all summer and fall for the Farmers Market and csa boxes, then transplanted yet again in November back into the glass greenhouse, where I picked it all winter. It was unheated except for the winter sun, and unfazed by regular freezing and thawing. Now I need the bed space in the greenhouse for seedling trays so it's being transplanted back to the garden again.

I take a handful of leaves and chop them..
Whisk together with one or two eggs from happy free range hens. Those deep orangey yolks show that they're finding lots of green feed. Way less cholesterol and way more omega 3's and vit E than factory eggs.
Of course you can add chopped mushrooms, onion , whatever you like. I cook it gently with a lid on so the greens sort of steam a little.

Flip, add a bit of cheese and fold over... Flip
Enjoy a very healthy breakfast!