Thursday, March 24, 2011

Forget the snow! Spring is here!

Benny checking onion germination. Very, very nice this year. Lettuce is also doing very well. You can see the lettuce seedlings peaking out from behind Ben. The weather is a lot colder than last year, meaning our expenses to heat are automatically doubled. It's a hurtful expense, but has to be paid. This is farming - working with the weather and in this business you just have to hope for the best and sometimes deal with the worse. March is unpredictable. Along with the onions and lettuce our field crops of kale, broccoli, leeks, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, celeriac etc have been approved by Pro-Cert to seed and have hit the dirt, have germinated and are holding their own.
These are some young cooking onion seedlings. These happen to be our own, but we have also successfully grown a bunch for various Farm Start Farmers. It feels really great to not only be growing vegetable seedlings for our own fields, but to grow for a 'new generation of farmers!' Ben and I really take pride in giving advice about the business of farming. It's important for folks to tour our farm, learn from us hands on.
So here's old Andy. He's saying quite plainly "Don't Mess With Me!" My sisters and mother find him hilarious and refer to him as 'zombie-cat'. The walking-dead farm cat! Andy has been around for ages and still ventures into the greenhouses each and every spring to lap up a few drips of the fish fertilizer. I guess I had to include him in our spring blog because I'm always fearful it will be his last year around the farm. Even though he is miserable, all in all, he's a good cat. He single handed takes on our young German Shepherd no problem! Three Cheers for Andy! You rock even though you are bitchy and don't catch mice anymore.
So our neighbour's 5 year old daughter likes to visit and bring me various things for our greenhouse. I love kid art! This little girl loves Lady Bug the horse. Really, what little girl wouldn't love Lady Bug? This is one smiley horse in the picture! Love it. Love the flowers. I can't seed everything myself anymore so it's nice to get presents once in a while!!
Greenhouse #2 March 24th..... Nature pots for Evergreen Brick Works, plants for Farm Start Farmers and seedlings for our fields.....
Me and early Spinach Bowls.....It's nice to have the houses 'greening up'!
Greenhouse #3 last week. A.k.a - the heirloom tomato greenhouse of 2010! We are doing a rotation therefore no tomatoes will grace this soil this year. This will be home to early Radish (this is what Ben the Bull is seeding in this picture). Later we will introduce cucumbers, peppers and beans to this 'covered field'.
So ignore the snow. Your seasonal vegetables are well on their way! In the meantime I intend on having a long overdue visit with my best girlfriends Jill & Ana tomorrow night. I deserve it. ;)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

And so it begins....

Spring has sprung at the farm!  These beauties are the first of the Heirloom tomatoes! They are set to be transplanted next week already! (Their home will be Greenhouse #1, directly into the soil come April!) It's so nice to have the greenhouses fired and seedlings emerging! It was a very, very busy winter on the farm so there really was no break or holiday for us once again. However, when my customers ask if I have some time off I always assure them that considering I love what I do, each day is an adventure, something new and exciting happening - holiday's aren't important to us right now.  I look forward to the end of cooking season and the beginning of seeding season each year.  When the sun hits the glass - it's summer out there! Success has a lot to do with the weather and so far it is a bit chilly, but the thaw is coming. We have to start onions seedling early, therefore we have to apply some heat to the greenhouse - it's not cheap! To help cut costs we are doing some custom growing for Farm Start farmers and also a huge project for Evergreen.  We will be handling an order of all sorts for them this year including many many herbs and vegetables plants for your urban gardens!  Thousands of onion seeds have hit the dirt and have nicely germinated and should show by next week.......
 We get asked often where we get our organic greenhouse soil from.  Well, it's actually one of our most substantial expenses right now.  We tried sourcing large amounts from Jolly Farmer out East, but it was still too costly once you factor in the shipping.  We buy in 28 litre bags from our seed supplier.  He is able to give us a tad of a discount because of some volume, but it's still very costly.  It's Premier ProMix's Ultimate Organic Mix and it works well for us each year.  It is essential to feed fish fertilizer as the seedling mature and grow.  I am still sourcing a bulk amount of this stuff out. Fish is excellent with all vegetables and herbs.
Most retail garden centers should carry this soil now.  If not, I would ask for it.  Most conventional potting soil has all sorts of crap in it, like wetting agents and synthetic fertilizers. The organic soil has the odd twig and stone and sometimes a sea shell, but all in all a very good product.  Parsley and other herbs have also hit the dirt.  Parsley tends to be slow to germinate therefore I always seed late February along with the onions and leeks.  Stay tuned....I'll be dragging the laptop out to the greenhouse soon to keep my orders in check and will make the time to blog more frequently and share lots of 'green' photos!