A New Year

The start of the 'tall' insectary mix goes in. These twenty-five different perennial species will be our beneficial habitat for whole farm pest control. 

The start of the 'tall' insectary mix goes in. These twenty-five different perennial species will be our beneficial habitat for whole farm pest control. 

Week 2, 2017

After years of pushing northern springs, I am holding back the horses, and waiting until Groundhog Day -- a cross-quarter season -- to start greenhouse seeding for the year. That said, I was overdue to cold stratify the perennial flowers, herbs, and insectary, so I got to cheat, and had a bit of a dry-run in christening the greenhouse seeding bench.

The flowers and herbs went into moist paper towels, which went into zip-lock bags, which went into the fridge. The insectary crops -- some 40 different flowers and herbs meant to provide habitat for beneficial insects -- I mixed by the pound into a bucket, properly added nine parts sand, watered, and placed in the shade outside. All this to belatedly mimic the cold and wet conditions of winter, but in a more manageable fashion. In the spring, the perennial flowers and herbs will find their way into greenhouse trays, and the insectary we will cast on every 11th bed throughout the farm, which are also home to the overhead irrigation laterals.

Come February, true greenhouse seeding will begin in earnest with the onion-family crops, then the hardy annual flowers and a round of the cabbage-family. By March we will have tiny tomatoes uncurling from their hulls, and new ginger roots toasty in their trays. Walking the fields, I call out to them, "I'll be good to you. Be good to me." Here's to a new year, and all that means.

The orchard's 'low-growing' insectary mix, 50/50 with white and strawberry clover, which we hope will not over-run the flowers. Time will tell.

The outside thermometer gave a low of 1 degree, though the greenhouse was up at 9, so I can't tell you just how cold it was. But, yes, in the office, in the morning, it was cold.