Spring Greens

IMG_1658What a spring we have had! Erratic whether, moisture, crisp cool air, and really spring greens like nothing better!  I have begun harvesting multiple pounds of Lettuce, Spinach, Kale, Chard and Chinese Cabbage every week and just wish I had more garden space to plant more.

IMG_1666If you are doing succession planting in your garden planning, timing and leaving space for the future is everything!!  You have to think about how long it will take for a head of lettuce to produce,(about 60 days in the spring) and then plan what you will pop in its place once harvested.  In these pictures above and below you can see I planted Cabbage babies among the cut and come again Lettuce, so that by the time the Lettuce is bitter the Cabbage will take over.

IMG_1799I usually plant a lot of cut and come again varieties of Lettuce, Spinach and Kale and Chard so I don’t have to keep planting…but this year I knew I could sneak in a bunch of head Lettuce before the warm season crops needed the square footage, so now the garden is full of butterhead and romaine varieties so I can remove the whole plant and put in warm season crops the same day…..lots of salad ahead for Mama’s Mini Farm CSA!

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The next three days are leaf days, so in go the last of my greenhouse Romaine starts and I will be sowing directly more Cilantro, Spinach, Arugula and Lettuce.  Possibly for the last time till mid July, as once my attention and garden space goes towards the warm season crops I simply don’t have enough room or time for greens…not to mention when the weather heats up many of these spring babies go bitter or bolt quickly.  Luckily my Chard and Kale keep pumping through the heat and I may not even need to replant them if I care for them right…

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Which is to say I have found that if you shade cool season greens in the high summer they really like it and last longer.  As you already know I am a huge fan of row cover for a long list of reasons… but when it gets too hot and plants don’t get enough fresh air they can get very flimsy and over succulent.  So much so that they couldn’t survive one day in full exposure and they will just turn to mush before your eyes, so I try to gradually remove the row covers for more and more hours at a time to toughen them up to the real world.

IMG_1810I often raise the row cover so wind and beneficial insects can find their way in on the ends, because another set back of having your crops under constant cover is pests, namely good old aphids can take over while you aren’t watching.

At some point when cool spring breezy days shift to hot summer days, Often around June 1st.  I take the row cover off all together and replace it with shade screen.  This lets light, water, and beneficials in, but it takes the edge off those sweltering afternoons that will cause a cilantro to bolt in one day!

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I have found in full sun gardens these shades are very helpful for almost all crops even warm season crops, throughout the whole summer. I have learned my lesson with more than one June hail storm destroying my precious babes!  More info on what to use is in  this previous post.

So if you aren’t out there already….get sowing!! You can plant pretty much any cool season crops, flowers and roots right now and in a few short weeks it will be tomato time!! Hooray! IMG_1670

 

 

 

Seed Starting Class

IMG_7331Just a little reminder that this Saturday and Next Sunday I will be teaching my seed starting classes.  If you need a little guidance this season on what to start, where and when and of course HOW!!  Come on down.  There is lots of room in this Saturdays class so join us at the beautiful Botanical Gardens on Museum Hill.

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I know I started things a little bit early this year, but now it is REALLY time to get in there and plant your spring garden and plan you sowing schedule for the whole season.  The classes are SUPER affordable and gonna be lots of fun.  If you come this Saturday you will even go away with your own flat fully seeded,  so I hope to see you soon.

Easter Sprouts

IMG_1081 (1)I have written many times about growing sprouts at home cause it is just so darn easy and rewarding.  I have lots of friends out there who simply can’t start vegetables indoors but sprouts only require attention for 10 days or so and really only need heat and water and a little sunshine.

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You can grow them with kids and they just love it and you could just keep that going and forgo a garden altogether and still get a constant supply of yummy fresh food for your table.

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Field Peas Day 1

Here is last years link on growing sprouts and Micro greens. But seeing as today and tomorrow are leaf days I thought I would remind you to sow some sprouts indoors.

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Field Peas day 7

If you do they may just be ready for Easter salads, and Easter baskets for that matter.  Why not grow peas shoots or sunflower sprouts this year instead of grass and when the thrill of Easter morning has worn off, snip the sprouts into salad and get double your money…

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Field Peas Day 13

Happy Spring everyone and Happy Sprouting!!

 

Class Change

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Peas shoots ready for munching!

Just wanted to let some of you know I had to postpone my seeding class today.  I was so delighted it was full with a growing waiting list, so I thank you for your interest and support….However I am home alone with two very sick children who need my full attention today.

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Too tired for bed!

 

Homegrown and rescheduled it for April 3 so we don’t miss important seeding windows!!  Since your Sundays has been freed up, why not play in the garden today?  It would be a great day to plant potatoes (if you have them), as it is a root day.  I know it seems early, but I have a feeling they would do just fine!

With the moon being in an earth sign (Capricorn) enjoy your home, your garden and your family today, and I will try to do the same, thanks for understanding.

Seedy weekend!

IMG_1482Today is a flower day and since this June I want to be filled with flowers I am starting Cosmos& Snapdragons in the greenhouse today.  It is an experiment, as usually I am too focused on vegetables to even think about flowers this time of year and frankly I direct seed most of my flowers anyway…But today I plant flowers inside and so might you if you wish to experiment.  These are both pretty cool hardy flowers so they will go out sooner than the other things and hopefully provide me with early blooms.

IMG_6293Friday is a flower day too and then goes into a leaf day.  Saturday is full leaf day and so I hope to tuck in those Spinach seeds I didn’t get to last weekend.  The chicken are in the chicken tractor right down doing the tilling for me.

IMG_2847I will then boldly plant peas outside for Sunday, Monday and Tuesdays fruit sign (Leo).  I will soak them over night first and then tuck them in, as I think my soil will be warm from here on out and I have seen peas in the snow anyhow!  I will also use Leo to aid my greenhouse plantings of Peppers, Eggplants and Tomatoes, (I usually start the big slicers first, the cherry tomatoes can wait till later).

IMG_9988I plan to share my happenings here, but wanted to you to get prepared and dust off those seeds if you plan to plant along.  Since it feels like May out there we might as well act like it!!

Wrapped in love

To stray from the rise of gardening spirit for just one moment, I simply must share that today is my daughters first birthday.  She was born in the evening, in front of the fire and her birth was indeed a fire birth if you will.  She is turning out to be a little fireball herself and I simply couldn’t love her more!  I love her so deeply, as all mothers do, but I am just astounded at how much she has taught me in this short year.

Her first lesson to me was “you can not do this alone”.  I love community and people but I can also be quite the loner, especially when it comes to hard tasks and challenges.  She told me loud and clear, “Gather the troops mama, you will need them this time around!”

So I boldly did.  I asked for something that required attention, care, focus and most of all time, which is solid gold to most mamas I know.

IMG_0310I asked them to weave together a net for Eva and I to catch us when we fell, ( which we in fact did about 5 weeks into her life).

IMG_0504I asked them to knit us a blanket to warm us with motherly love in the coldest, darkest days of the year (and what felt like the darkest days of my entire life at the time).

IMG_0321I asked for them to stitch us a rainbow bridge which we could cross over, into the many phases of our life together….

IMG_0502And so they did.  Without any hesitation, they got to work, rummaging through their stash baskets, finding a simple form for all to fit into, holding gatherings to knit and laugh and do what needed to be done.

 

Stitch by stitch, square by square we all prepared for the day of her birth, together in our thoughts of this little girl who would come and be a part of our woven fabric of womanhood.

Each hue handed to me with a prayer and a kiss tucked inside.

And then, ever so carefully and communally, the rainbow was woven together, stronger than any net ever made, brighter than all the colors in the universe, and warmer then any blanket on the coldest of winter nights.

I had it to lay my baby on the day she arrived in my arms.

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It caught us and cradled us, warmed us and brightened us, all because of the women who rose to create it.  They kept coming too, with food and flowers and friendship and still do, even a year later, and I have no doubt they will be with us till the end.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 11.09.09 PMOn this day I weep in love not only for my daughter and her wisdom but for the women who rise every time, in every way, every single day to do what needs to be done, to care for, to feed, to comfort, to celebrate, even to scold.  These are the women of the whole world and I am proud to raise up yet another woman on this spinning earth who I know will be taught by the very the finest, to do what needs to be done and to not be afraid to ask for help when it is needed.  I am proud of my women today and proud to be a woman who loves so freely, so fiercely and so necessarily!

I was also taught by my daughter, to give thanks for what you are grateful for and to sing that thanks to the world.  So sisters, Thank you, from the very bottom of my heart, there is not much more to say than I love you.

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Adapted by Katie Feldspausch from ‘The Tapestry Poem’ by Corrie ten Boom

My life is but a weaving,
Between my world and me.
I cannot change the color
For Life works steadily.

The dark threads are as needful
In the skillful weavers Hand
Aside bright threads of rainbow
The world’s stitched up in my plan.

Often times It weaves in mystery,
And Many days of cheer,
Wrapping it all around me,
My world is far from fear.

Now the room is silent
And the wool will lay to rest,
The life weaved in this blanket,
Will forever be so blessed.

  • Read to me with the gifting of the blanket

When to plant what?

For the past three years I have made a planting calendar that combines the Biodynamic planting recommendations with my own gardening experience here in the high desert.  This was mostly made to assist my fellow gardeners and to answer the question all my students ask most of me, ‘When to plant what’?  It is also a great tool for me to record everything I did in one place (I am awful at record keeping) and cross reference in the following years…..

IMG_6966 What can I say, this winter has brought lots of hibernation and big changes that have needed my attention….so my friends, sadly there is no calendar this year.  Luckily these hands know what to do and I am happy to share with all of you through my blog what I am up to in the garden and greenhouse this season.

It may make for a series of short, possibly boring posts, but if you are one of my many gardeners out there you can just follow along as we plan and plant for an abundant season ahead, ( I hope you have been collecting all this moisture in your water tanks!).

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I am also teaching a few classes this spring on Seed Sowing if you are new to all this Seedy business for Homegrown and the Botanical Garden.

The Planting Report

So for now the planting report is this….Last Saturday I went ahead and planted a ton of tomatoes (I think somewhere near 300, lord help me!!).. My Biodynamic calendar said it was an “specially good”day and I just couldn’t help myself!!

This Friday Feb 12th, is a Leaf day and I will be planting Celery, Lettuce, Kale, Chard in the greenhouse.  I probably could have done all these a month ago, but I just didn’t feel the seeds calling.  Now that Bridgid has blessed them all it feels time.

IMG_7324If I set up some row cover I may just plant Spinach outside…But then I have to start watering out there and I am not sure I am ready for that!  But let’s just say I Could.

Planning Ahead

Have you ordered you Potatoes and Onions sets yet?  Those go in around St. Patrick’s day and lots of companies sell out of certain kinds, so order them soon.  I often buy Potatoes from Ronniger’s which is based in Colorado, or Irish Eyes which have lots of organic varieties.  I have bought onions sets from Dixondale farms in the past and wow, serious onion bounty!  Both Potatoes and Onions can be bought locally as well from Aqua Fria Nursery and lots of other seeds companies you may already be loyal to.

IMG_7071All this said, I do have a passive solar greenhouse and have very particular temperature and light conditions, so even though I can start stuff indoors it may not quite be time for you.  The best way is to try of course, or your could come to my class and I can help you find the right conditions and timing for your situation! Happy gardening!