We have a bumper crop of veggie seedlings poking their way into the world. And out in the woods, ramps and watercress add their wildness to our domesticated goodies.
Playing starring roles in the springtime adventure are our greenhouses within our greenhouse. Based on a design we came up with a few years back, they are heated at night by small electric bathroom heaters that keep everything at around 75 degrees no matter how cold it gets outside. We also use more conventional heated rubber mats that warm our seed trays from the bottom. And now we have turned a junked refrigerator –minus its cooling unit and plus a small heater — into a cozy germination chamber.
When the seedlings reach a certain size and the weather cooperates, they are moved into the larger greenhouse to “harden up” a bit. The last step before heading outdoors or to the big greenhouse.
We already have super delicious greens to eat — spinach, kale, bok-choy, arugula, and lettuce and will soon have radishes, carrots, and green leafy things of all variety. Our 20,000 heads of garlic are already 6″ out of the ground. Soon, the asparagus will be breaking through their winter covering, and we will be “wilding” watercress and ramps (wild leeks), long considered a spring tonic in these parts, all from far flung corners of the farm.
The warming weather is speeding everything along and we are grateful to have able bodied helpers. Kyle, our high-schooler who has worked for three years when not in school, is fixing windows in our woofer housing. Alex, our intern from Binghamton University two years ago is back with us part-time as he sorts out his career direction. Ellen is doing her thing in the kitchen with pesto and Fire Tonic while keeping an eye on the sheep and preparing beds for planting. Jared, our new full-time farmer is managing all the plantings, staying up late to create the best records and the best land use strategies we have ever had. And this week, our first woofer of the season, Zak — a New York City school teacher — is working for us during his spring break. We love our team!