The weather has finally started to change here in upstate New York. The maple trees are producing sweet sap that we turn into maple syrup. The robins have also returned and so has the mud. The spring means its time to get back to work after a long snowy winter. The coop needs to be cleaned out and the droppings composted for use in the garden.
One of the first things we do in late winter and early spring is start planting . Here our last frost date is in late May so we start many of our seeds indoors. We order our seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom seed company. They have a great variety of seeds and we like to experiment. We mix our own starter soil for our seeds. We use a mix of 50 percent peat moss, 40 percent vermiculite, 5 percent perlite and 5 percent organic fertilizer. Usually the compost pile is still too frozen to add to our mix.
We then start the seeds in trays under a simple shop light in the basement near the wood stove for a little extra heat. When the seedlings finally pop out of the soil we know spring is on the way.
As the weather warms, we transition our seedlings to our small Harbor Freight greenhouse. These greenhouses are inexpensive and a good way to get started a little earlier in the spring. If you decide to buy one be warned they have the worst instructions ever. We did a video to help guide you through construction.
Once the seedlings are in the greenhouse, we enjoy spending time watering them and transferring them to bigger pots. The greenhouse is a nice warm space on a cool spring day, sometimes we may even have a glass of wine in the greenhouse while surveying our hard work.
While the seedlings are enjoying the sunshine in the greenhouse, signs of life are beginning to show up on the homestead. Garlic planted in October is poking it’s head up above the soil and hop vines are starting to sprout.
We start preparing beds for cool weather crops . Peas, kale and cabbage all like the cool weather. Onion sets go in the ground along with potatoes. We covered planting potatoes in another youtube video.
Even our vineyard starts showing signs of life. Usually we see our bees starting to stir, but this winter we unfortunately lost our hives. But, don’t worry, new ones are on order and will be coming soon.
Getting beds tilled and seeing your first peas sprout lets you know that spring is truly here. Happy dirty hands will be the order of the day along with sore muscles that have not been used all winter. The hard work we put in now pays dividends in the fall. When we plant a seed we believe in the future, and not all seeds are planted in the soil. Planting will teach you to nurture and to be patient as you watch your crops grow. There are few things in life more satisfying than growing your own food. Sowing, growing, and harvesting have been happening since man stopped wandering. When we plant our crops for the year we become part of the unending cycle of the earth and of mankind.