Hope springs eternal
Locations have been planned. Varieties have been selected. Supplies have been procured. It's seed startin' time. Strap in, kids - Mama made a spreadsheet!
Ho yeah! A hundred and thirty-eight varieties on the list this year, and counting (don't tell Farmer Pop).
I love this time of year, planning is the most fun part (next to eating). It's so full of promise. Look at all the neat-o awesome stuff we're going to grow! I'm sure they'll all produce bountifully like it says in the catalog description and be magically disease resistant and maybe this year the bugs and weeds will just decide not to show up yes that's probably what will happen since technically it's possible! I mean, I've got a pretty sweet spreadsheet here. Things are going to start happening to me now.
Here at Pure Land we use all organic seeds (provided we can source them). My favorite vendor is High Mowing Seeds in Vermont, but Johnny's Selected Seeds is also great and Baker Creek is unmatched for interesting heirlooms.
Currently we find ourselves in the dangerous position of having a little bit of knowledge, so we're refining our roster a bit. Sometimes that means growing more varieties of one vegetable type; summer squash do well for us, so I've diversified the collection ("my squash go up to eleven [varieties]"). Lettuces too. Other times whole groups fall into the not-even-gonna-try-anymore camp, such as stupid cauliflower. The one type of determinate tomatoes we grew produced like a house on fire while the vining types floundered, so we're trying all determinates this year. Stuff like that.
To boot, it'll be the first year our blackberry canes and peach trees are producing too! I'm beyond excited to see how they do (meaning, taste).
Last week we started another thousand heads of lettuce to join the couple thousand already in the field, growing slowly in the cold alongside what looks like a few billion carrots and beets. I'll sow another set of those root crops as soon as it warms up a little bit so they can germinate, and we'll start yet another set of lettuce as well. We're working on having a better stagger of plantings this year for a more continuous harvest. Here's a handy Go Texan chart for a rough guide of what's in season and when (it would be particularly useful for the poor guy who asked me if I had tomatoes at market last Saturday. Click that link, guy).
When I say "starting" transplants, I mean plunking one li'l seed into each li'l block of soil and popping them under grow lights for a few weeks (then into the greenhouse for a few more weeks, depending on the crop). Then, when the conditions are right, we'll transplant those blocks into our rows of raised beds. Some warm weather crops (tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant) take 6-8 weeks to get big enough to transplant at the appropriate time (after the last frost of the season, mid-March) so when it's time to start 'em, it means Spring is just around the corner! Right after we get these 12,000 onions in the ground.