Happy Spring 2016 Everyone!
We are brimming with excitement and possibility as we always are in spring, when the possibilities and our hopes are soaring high and the thought of pests and predators are like faint memories.
Now is the time of year when many people begin to think about planting seeds and starting a garden, but we’ve been at it for a few months already. I mentioned last year the importance of starting our crops from seed rather than buying plants from the local hardware stores because (like most things in life) you can’t beat the quality of a homemade or homegrown product. It’s worth noting that most of the vegetable plants that you buy from big name hardware stores are sprayed with pesticides that kill bees and other pollinators.
Seed starting is an enormously fun and rewarding process for us, because in the dead of winter there are limited avenues to focus our farm-passion on. First of all, we get to choose our luscious crops from a sprawling library of heirloom seeds. Then, we diagram all of our satellite plots, carefully delineating where the sun and shade occupy the space so we can plant each crop in the places where they can best thrive.
This year we are very focused on increasing the yield from each crop. First, we projected our desired yield per crop and calculated how many seedlings were required to achieve our goal. Then, we push the tiny seeds into some fresh soil and watch as the miracle of life sprouts before our eyes!
We can hardly wait to transplant our more than 200 gorgeous tomato plants, 150 eggplant, 200 pepper plants and an array of herbs into the garden! And that doesn’t even begin to compare to the number of various crops that we will be direct seeding this year after learning that they do better that way – such as cucumber, zucchini, beans, and of course all the root vegetables. The recent frosty spring nights have made us thankful that we did not jump the gun and transplant early. The first crops that we are looking forward to harvesting this spring are the garlic and onion bulbs that we planted in October 2015.
We have so much more to tell you about our beekeeping adventures, our passionate search for more land, and most exciting yet: backyard chickens! Join us as we head into our fifth year as urban farmers — 2016 is going to be a wild and crazy beautiful ride!
Keim, Brandon. How your bee-friendly garden may actually be killing bees. Wired Science, June 25, 2014. http://www.wired.com/2014/06/garden-center-neonicotinoids/