Sunday, March 25, 2012
My Favorite Color Is Green....Is It Really Still March?
Our valley landscape is quickly changing from shades of brown to shades of green. The buds on trees are opening, and some of the trees are flowering. I was thrilled to see the hazelnut trees we planted last spring in bloom! The spinach field is full of gorgeous, deep dark spinach leaves that are so full of flavor...I can't get enough! The floor of the woods has exploded with all kinds of green plants and the hillsides in the ramp woods are full of delicate ramp leaves as far as you can see. The garlic continues to amaze me with how quickly it is growing....green garlic is not far away. I even harvested some chives and sorrel today!
The peeper frogs have been joined by a whole host of critters that can be heard and sometimes seen at all hours of the day and night. Last night we went to sleep listening to the coyotes howl and yip somewhere on the surrounding hills with owls in the background. Today I spotted two different bees out in the woods and was happy to have a huge bumblebee trail me on my walk. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of a bald eagle since I wasn't far from their nest, but today wasn't the day.
The greenhouses are filling up quickly. Last week Hector and Felipe worked very hard to prep the flower tunnel for planting and by Wednesday the tunnel was planted and the irrigation was running to water the seeds so they will germinate. We still have some violas to transplant in there, but it looks like we should have flowers in time for the first salad mix! As soon as they finished the flower tunnel, they moved on to our cold frame greenhouse. This proved to be a big job getting the soil worked up and grading it for better drainage. They worked very hard and I'm very pleased to report that it is ready to receive plants on Monday. Good thing because the broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi and cabbage plants are growing really fast and need to move into a cooler environment where they will have a more moderate rate of growth to form a stronger plant.
We transplanted the first of our celeriac plants last week and will finish those up this week. The lemongrass plants came last week and they are already potted and starting to sprout. The first round of fennel is up and those flats will move to the Big House tomorrow to make room for basil and a second planting of broccoli and cauliflower.
The packing shed crew is pulling double duty right now as both packing shed and field crew. Monday and Tuesday we'll be busy washing and packing overwintered parsnips and sunchokes. By midweek though, we're planning to harvest spinach for the first time. It's time to take our salad area out of winter storage mode and get it cleaned and ready for washing greens! Simon will be busy Monday and Tuesday getting the salad washing equipment cleaned and greased.
Ramps should be ready to harvest in about one more week....and we anxiously await the arrival of our harvest crew. In the meantime, we're watching the fields to take advantage of the opportunity to start planting. We thought we might be able to get in this afternoon to plant some salad, but we had a really heavy fog in the valley this morning....so heavy you could see the moisture in the air.
I've been craving green things and hate to say it, but I am done eating turnips until we have those tender, delicate, sweet baby white spring salad turnips! Lunch today....Spinach and sorrel salad with almonds, blue cheese, apples, a drizzle of olive oil and a splash of apple vinegar. Dinner last night....Overwintered spinach salad with a creamy garlic dressing and marinated flank steak. Lunch yesterday......Burgers topped with sauteed shiitakes, ramps and Wisconsin Cheddar. In the works for dinner this week....meatballs with a creamy sorrel mushroom sauce.
Only 4 weeks until the first Farmer's Market and 5 1/2 weeks until the first CSA pack. One more week of March....it's going to be a busy one!