February 8th, 2013 § 3 Comments
It’s hard to believe it, but it’s that time of year again.
Seeds are germinating as I type this. Our 2013 crop planting plans are done, we’ve inventoried seeds, ordered more where needed, and seeds we ordered last week have begun arriving already. I spent the day transplanting perennial herb plant starts in the greenhouse, giving them all some fresh soil, a bit of late winter fertilizer and some heartfelt words of encouragement. I LOVE this time of year!
We are spoiled for choice among some great new (and not-so new) northwest seed suppliers this year: Adaptive Seeds, Wild Garden Seeds, Uprising Organics and Siskiyou Seeds to name a few. All non-GMO seeds, often certified organic, grown by small farmers, and suited for the northwest climate. I’ve been trying to be good and not go off the rails with new varieties, but I couldn’t resist some of Adaptive Seeds more unusual kale varieties, and Wild Garden Seeds offered some terrible temptations as well. Well, they all did. It was tough to stay on target.
Kelly and Packy and I are planning a number of ‘Plant Trials’ this year to justify it all. Plus, we’re giving Kelly’s passion for Asian Greens some room this year, so look for more boy choy, komatsuna, napa cabbage and last year’s most coveted vegetable, gai lohn. (Or kailaan, or Chinese broccoli, or Chinese kale, depending on who you order from.) Plus some other surprises. I cannot wait to taste some of these plants…
We’re timing our plant starts to begin showing up at the Astoria Co-op in early April, and we’ll be selling at the Clatsop County Master Gardeners Spring Garden event on April 13th as well. I’ll also be speaking this year, which I’m super excited about- I love this event! It’s fun for me to be at a gathering with a whole lot of other people who love to geek out about growing plants, especially edible ones. My friend Jane Donnelly -who is organizing the speakers this year and roped me in to saying ‘yes’ with some neat verbal maneuvering- tells me that I’m speaking about ‘Extending Your Growing Season’, which is a great topic for our growing region. She and her fabulous husband Jeff are making a raised bed to auction off at the raffle, and we use it as a prop for the talk, showing how you can construct simple protection for plants, plus talk about how to get the most out of your raised bed space. I’ll post more info about the event when I know more.
It’s always so encouraging to me to walk into the greenhouse and smell the damp potting soil, and see tiny shoots emerging on all the perennial plants. We’ve moved flats of chives, garlic chives, Greek oregano, thyme, moroccan mint, sage and catnip inside to get them jump-started again, and they are responding beautifully. I’ll be working on more propagation in the coming weeks, and pretty soon it will be time to direct sow flats out in the greenhouse, and start transplanting some of the more tender stuff that’s living a pampered life under the grow lights in the basement right now. I can’t wait.
The chickens followed me everywhere, convinced that anywhere I stood there would suddenly be a bounty of worms–I made the mistake of turning over a few shovelfuls of compost full of worms and other grubby things for them once, and they’ve never forgotten. The cats also showed up to supervise, especially when it got to be time to transplant the catnip. Squeaky was intrigued by the plants, but even more intrigued by how my hands smelled after I’d been transplanting. It’s really hard to take a photo of a cat who is trying to smell your hands:
I also want to mention some other big news that I am beyond honored (and beyond nervous!) about: I’ve been invited to be on a panel of speakers at this year’s OSU Small Farms Conference on March 2 in Corvallis. The organizers selected four Oregon farmers who had all published essays in the Greenhorns book last year (remember that?) and have paired us with a ‘Greyhorn’, Frank Morton of Gathering Together Farm and Wild Garden Seeds fame. And, to make it even more cool and nerve-wracking, collectively we are the keynote address for the conference! As I said, honored and nervous. Honored and nervous. I’m sure it will be great. But being on a stage with Frank Morton, whose seeds I have been planting for years now, is huge for me. Plus the three other Oregon farmers I’m on the panel with, Sarahlee Lawrence of Rainshadow Organics in Terrebonne, Josh Volk of Slow Hand Farm in Portland, and Cory Carman of Carman Ranch in Wallowa are all wonderful farmers as well as talented writers. I’m looking forward to meeting them all and sharing some of those beginning farmer stories and lessons learned not only with each other, but with the conference community. I love the OSU Small Farms Conference, it always reminds me of how awesome the small farm community in Oregon is.
More on all of our upcoming events SOON, I promise! 2013 is shaping up to be an interesting, and pretty damn exciting year.