What a couple of weeks it’s been! The day after we last posted news to the website, our farm – along with much of Southern Ontario – suffered through an ice storm. Ice coated everything in sight: individual blades of grass, our clothesline, and the apple trees at the edge of the vegetable garden. The century-old poplars that line the laneway to the farmhouse took the worst hit, with a tangle of branches down all along the lane.
Despite a few warm, sunny days in the last few weeks, the fields were still too wet to work in, though the last few days have been warm and dry and so we will be cultivating them soon. We have pulled the straw bedding off the strawberries and the rhubarb and they are perking up nicely. The rhubarb leaves are yellowish because they emerged without getting light from the sun, but they will green up and grow rapidly in the coming weeks. The garlic is coming up through its straw bedding, which will be left in place.
Most of our recent work has been in the greenhouse. We fill seedling trays with a mixture of composted horse manure and commercial potting mix to establish a good growing medium. And then one by one, we drop seeds into the cells of each tray, cover them with potting mix, and moisten everything so the seeds can germinate. Each seed tray is labeled and dated. We are rapidly filling the greenhouse with seedling trays and most of the seeds are germinating nicely.
We first seeded vegetables like onions, celery, celeriac, and lettuce. In the last two weeks we’ve added several varieties of peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, melons, cucumber, summer squash, chard, pak choy (baby bok choy) and tatsoi. Our first seeding of fennel didn’t do well, so we have started a new tray. Fennel was popular among CSA members last year, so we’re hoping this planting will do better.
We’ve also started a large numbers of flower seedlings for the cut flower garden. In addition to the sunflowers and zinnias we gave CSA members last year, we have trays of snapdragons, sweet peas, gazania, rudbeckia, salpiglossis, scabiosa and asters germinating in the greenhouse. You may not recognize all the names yet (we didn’t) but we think you’ll enjoy the bouquets!