Spring Has Sprung!
This is such a thrilling time of year in the garden! It’s not colorful yet, or bursting with life. But after months of cold – most of which I really just want to spend hibernating with some good books, warm herbal tea and a knitting project – the sight of little green leaves poking up from the bare earth energizes me. It’s time to get my nose out of the seed catalogs and into the dirt.
I am excited this year to be Garden Manager at Laughing Buck Farm. We will be growing vegetables as well as culinary and medicinal herbs. We’ll be inviting the community into the garden for workshops. And of course, I am planting the herbs that will be needed for my Herbal CSA this year.
We aren’t starting from scratch so we began with clearing the rows of rocks and sticks and the heartier stalks and roots remaining from last year. The decisions that go into garden prep are not cut and dry. I was hoping not to till in order to preserve the integrity of the top soil’s microbiome. (Did you know that there is a complex system of microorganisms that interact with plants and very much influence their growth and health? Here’s a short article I found that explains it a little further.) But we decided that, this year, tilling was the most reasonable option with the time and manpower we had. We also discussed amendments for the soil. Ideally on the farm, we would have compost and aged horse manure but with Farmer Rosemary having just returned from a year away last Summer, all of the usual systems are still falling back into place. With the hard clay soil around here, we decided to purchase mushroom compost from Hazel Dell, a nearby mushroom farm that sells aged compost that they grew their mushrooms in. With a base of hard wood saw dust, they add bran and gypsum for nutrients and to balance the pH. We loaded up a pick-up truck bed and with some awesome helpers, got it spread over all of the rows. We also added a little aged sheep manure from neighbors; but because it hadn’t been composting for very long, we kept it to a minimum. We’ll be adding specific compost and fertilizers to the plants as needed throughout the growing season as well. I’ll tell you more about those when the time comes.
We’ve got some plants started as well! In the hoop house we have spinach, lettuce and broccoli – all cool weather plants. In the ground we have planted peas, kale, fennel bulb, and radishes. And indoors (thank you Laura!), we have a variety of tomatoes and peppers sprouting cheerfully! Even the perennials have begun to wake up. I have seen chamomile, lemon balm, and comfrey peeking out to greet the warmer days.
Spring has Sprung!