Tag: southern tier

A Season of Hope

I took full advantage of the weather today.  I started to finish the work I started last fall.  I clipped, trimmed, and pulled lots of dried and dead plants.  The Micro Farm is starting to look like it should.

Clean up was partially motivated by seeing the seedlings starting to pop up out of the soil

Tomato and onion seedlings
Tomato and onion seedlings
Onion seedlings
Onion seedlings

Seeing the seedlings has brought excitement to the new growing season.  I was feeling overwhelmed by the clean up I would have to do.  After a few hours of clean up today, I know (with a little good weather) I can get everything done quicker than I then I thought.

After clean up I had energy and decided to keep going.  I started a few more seedlings.  My order of Yankee Bell pepper seeds arrived late last week so I planted those.  I also ordered container strawberry seeds.  I started those.

In the next couple of weeks they will sprout and we will see how many plants I have.

Peppers and strawberries under a plastic blanket
Peppers and strawberries under a plastic blanket

I always start a new journey with such excitement and with dreams of all that could be.  I know there will be difficult times ahead.  I know there will be days when I do not want to go out and do the work I should do.

I hope you are excited about this growing season.  What are you excited about?

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.

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Productive Two Weeks

Home repair projects have a way of interrupting life in ways you would never expect.  My project has been slowing life, a bit, but I am coming to the end. Just in time for spring to come around.

I know spring will be here before we all know what happened so I started a few seedlings on Friday.

DSC06378
A “big picture” view of my seedling setup. Don’t forget to give your seedlings 16 hours of light.
DSC06379
A “close up” of what is under the plastic

I am growing several varieties of plants (for example, onions) that require over one hundred growing days.  Even here, on the New York and Pennsylvania border, we typically do not  have that many growing days.  So starting inside is a must.  I start my seedling earlier than most, because the temperature they are growing in is lower, and the cooler temps slows germination and growth.

I put in my second seed order of the year, and it should be here this week.  It has a plant or two that will need to be started right away.  Hopefully I have enough room under the lights.

As I planted seeds this past week, I have been thinking to this same time in 2015.  I am going to try saving different varieties of seeds this year.  I have a lot to learn, but I started by taking a few notes to help me next fall.

My Field Notes notebook, seed saving instructions from Fruition Seeds
My Field Notes notebook, seed saving instructions from Fruition Seeds

I have grown to love a brand of small notebook called Field Notes.  They make a series called “Country Fair” and I chose one of my New York notebooks to start me seed saving notes.  I am growing to varieties of plants from seeds I purchased from Fruition Seeds.  They are a local seed company, and they encourage seed saving.  They include seed saving instructions and tips in each packet of seed.  If you are interested in getting started check them out at Fruition Seeds.

I have some heirloom seeds from other sources that I needed to take notes about. I used Susan Ashworth’s book Seed to Seed, that I was able to get from inter-library loan.  It is a wealth of information.  There are other great book available just check out your local library.

I am feeling productive as I reflect on the past two weeks.  While spring has tempted us this past weekend.  Winter is not leaving with out a fight.  We have some more cold temperatures coming this week.  Fortunately, the seedlings will not know the difference.  I will feel encouraged by getting my hands in soil again.  Maybe, just maybe, I can finish that home repair project too.

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.

 

Back for 2014

Sometimes getting back on the bicycle is harder than you would imagine.   I took a break from almost three years of weekly blogging just before Christmas.  I vowed several times to get back to it, and I found convenient excuses to start again. Over the past weeks there have been to many events and special occasion to recall them all. So I will go forward.

Looking at the calendar got my micro-farm juices flowing.  New ideas and goals have been thought about, occasionally thinking them through fully, and plans have been developed.  I am interested to see what will come to fruition. I will share those plans later as they develop. I am a bit nervous they will fail, and prefer to share potential (or actual) failure on my own terms.

I would like to share with you one of my winter projects.  I have been co-managing a winter farmer’s market.  You can see our Facebook page here:  Corning Winter Farmer’s Market.  It has been full of challenges.  However, I have been very pleased to see our local farmers doing well.

The most significant story around the micro-farm has been the weather.  I know for most of you in the US it’s the same story.

Where we are right now. Lots of snow
Where we are now. Lots of snow
More snow, and more cold
More snow, and more cold
And, more glorious winter weather
And, more glorious winter weather

While we have weeks of cold and snowy weather.  And. I think spring will never come.

We have a few very warm days and the snow melts.

Random days when the snow melts.
Random days when the snow melts.
The grass may not be green, but we see it every so often
The grass may not be green, but we see it every so often

We appear to be caught in a another bought of cold and snow.  I am amazed at how warm 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the Sun feels.  When the cold gets me down I do try to remember it is killing all those bugs and plants that do not belong here in the Northeast USA.  So I look forward to a few less bugs this spring.

So here I sit and I am learning from the past, enjoying this season, and looking forward to the next season.

I hope all is well with you and yours.

The Big Three

This is one of my favorite time of the year.  I enjoy going to the mailbox and waiting to find it filled.  This week I received to of my favorite seed catalogs.

The big three.
The big three. Left – Seed Savers;                                  Middle – Fedco;   Right – Johnny’s

My favorite three catalogs have trickled in over the past couple of weeks.  I have only had a few minutes to glance through each catalog.  I enjoy these catalogs because they are more than just pictures and prices.  They have lots of valuable or interesting information.

Seed Savers –

Here is an example of what you find inside
Here is an example of what you find inside

To support their mission to save seed varieties. Inside there are growing tips and planting instructions.  They also share stories about how the varieties were acquired or brought to the United States.

Fedco –

Inside the Fedco catalog.
Inside the Fedco catalog.

Fedco is probably the most interesting seed catalog I receive.  They include political opinion, random quips, and general wisdom.  Fedco challenges me, with only pencil pictures and everything in black and white.  I have to use my imagination, and sometimes I imagine in the wrong direction.

Johnny’s –

The inside of the Johnny's Selected Seeds catalog
The inside of the Johnny’s Selected Seeds catalog

Johnny’s has great pictures and information.  They have a wonderful amount of varieties.  Johnny’s is my standby.  I know whatever I order from them will be successful.  They may be a bit more pricey, but they are definitely quality.

Do you have a favorite seed catalog?  Which one do you enjoy reading?

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.

 

Thankful for Beauty

Another week of cold weather.  Before Thanksgiving we had a small snow storm that mixed with rain and freezing.  We spent part of Wednesday shoveling and clearing ice.  I woke up to a beautiful morning Thanksgiving day.

A gorgeous winter scene.
A gorgeous winter scene.

I cleared a light and fluffy inch of snow off the driveway.  It was great being outside.

I also received my first seed order this past week.

My Seed Savers Exchange seed order
My Seed Savers Exchange seed order

Seed Savers Exchange is an organzation that promotes saving seeds  varieties that are old or unique.  They have excellent resources if you want to participate or learn about seed saving (click here).

One of my winter projects has been growing a box of greens in a greenhouse.  My neighbor and I embarked on this experiment in her greenhouse.  This year the temperatures dipped to low to fast.  Had we started one month earlier I think they would have been successful in the greenhouse.  Now I have them growing on the kitchen table.

Greens on the kitchen table
Greens on the kitchen table

Not ideal for using the kitchen table.  However, they are doing to well to stop now.

Last year the weather was warm late into December. The warm weather encouraged me to get outside and finish up my work.  I was taken surprise by the cold this year.  I came just to fast for me.  Not only did the cold come fast, but it was a deeper cold than I expected.  Fall in the Northeast can be unpredictable.

What has caught you be surprise this year?

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.

 

A New Beginning

I want to wish you and your family a happy Thanksgiving.  Here at Cohocton River Rock Micro Farm are celebrating with family, friends, and fresh vegetables. Although, I might have to use a pick-axe to get the parsnips and carrots out of the garden. The temperatures have plummeted over the weekend.  I heard today it is the coldest since February.  It really feels like we are in the deep freeze.  I will be able to keep things “refrigerated” outside over the next few days.

Those last few tasks around the farm I did not get down will have to wait for a warm day.

Today, I started working on my garden plan for next spring.

The beginning
The beginning

Tomorrow I expect to receive my first seed order for next year.  I could not hold back, all the seeds were half price.  Now begins the process of trying to fit everything in.  Before I begin my plan I create several guidelines or rules.  First, Nothing is grown in the same bed as last year.  Second, plan for succession planting. Third, tall things in the back or closest to the house.  With those rules in place I plan my garden out.

  1. I may sound easy, but it never is.  Also, a good plan is made to be changed.  I have not followed any of my plans to the exact detail.  With out a plan though I am not as efficient and end with seven rows tomatoes.

What are your plans?

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.

 

Mulching Fun

Today was one of those days when I put off going into the garden, but once I get there I wondered what took me so long.  This time of year working around the Micro Farm means at least a sweater and always a winter hat.  Looking ahead at the weather forecast we will be having several nights in the 20’s.  I thought it would be good to mulch the young or tender plants.

Last week I planted a row of garlic.  The final step to prepare them for the winter is to cover them in several inches of mulch cover.  Fortunately, the pine tree in our yard provided plenty of material for mulch.

The pine needle provider
The pine needle provider
The garlic bed before.
The garlic bed before.
The strawberry patch before.
The strawberry patch before.

Using the pitchfork I put about six to eight inches of needles over the beds.  My experience has been that the needles will settle down to about two or three inches.

The garlic bed after
The garlic bed after
The strawberry patch after
The strawberry patch after
Blueberries after
Blueberries after

I have two blueberry bushes, that I also mulch, to protect them over the winter.

Other work around the Micro Farm has begun to slow down.  Most of my outside work is preparing for winter and snow.  I still have several projects around the house to do, but my favorite projects are always in the garden.

What are your last-minute projects?  What garden projects do you miss?

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.