Thursday, March 7, 2013

Coming out of Hibernation

Wow.  Winter has been brutal this year.  The storms have been vicious in these parts.

This morning as I got out of my car in the parking lot at work, I saw two big, fat robins bouncing around in the dormant grass.  It was a refreshing sight.  Winter winds have been whipping and screaming around my little haven for a couple months now.  I’ve spent a good portion of those dark, winter evenings surfing gardening blogs, enjoying the offerings on Netflix, crocheting a ton of baby things for my Etsy page Curiosity's Piqued and making lots of cool costume stuff for Tadasana Tribal also on Etsy.  It’s been a productive winter.  I can say with all frankness and sincerity that I’ve had just about enough of that.  It’s time for spring to get here.

It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve managed to distract myself from the biting cold and drifting snow with seed catalogs and planning my garden, like any normal gardener would do. A few weeks ago I set up my seed-starting light rack and now there are dozens of little seedlings emerging from their little pots or peat pellets and stretching towards the light.  It’s a very restorative sight for me.

So far the emergent seedlings have been tomatoes, peppers and some flowers I’m toying with this year.  I’m also trying out some herbs like spearmint and chamomile for the first time from seed. I admit it.  I probably got a little carried away.  Maybe more than a little.

I really can’t help myself.

There are four kinds of tomatoes:  Roma, Beefsteaks (leftover from last year), Rutgers (a new variety for me) and Super Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes (also leftover from last year’s seeds).  They’ve all germinated nicely and little bitty, leggy seedlings have emerged.  Maybe I should up the wattage on my lights.  Mmmmm...cherry tomatoes!  I can't wait for them!  I started several plants so we'll have plenty to dry for next winter.
The peppers include: Jalapeno, Sonoma Sunset Sweet, California Wonder and something called Chili New Mexico.  We’re going to have peppers coming out our ears if we’re lucky.  It’s a salsa-making year, so I hope so.

There are also numerous flowers: Pinks, moonflower, 4 kinds of marigolds, corn poppies…and many others that I would have to get up and find my notebook to remember.  I write it all down, of course.  I’m turning 50 at the end of the month and I trust very little to my memory anymore.

Of course, there will be more soon.  I’m planning to start all my squashes and gourds inside in the little newspaper pots I’m trying out.  I'm hoping for better germination of the gourds.  And I have plans in the works for those squash plants and my nemesis, the squash vine borer.  A POX ON THE MOTH!
Good Friday is coming up so that will be potato planting day. After the smashing success last year growing potatoes in containers, I’m ramping that up from last year’s 4 little pots to 6 big plastic totes and 3 different varieties:  Yukon gold, Kennebec and a red that I've forgotten the name of.  They say the Yukon Gold doesn't keep very well, but we had the last of ours at Christmas and that's pretty darn good to me.  I’ve also got three kinds of onions in the standard red, yellow and white varieties and plenty of each of them.  I discovered last fall that drying and storing onions is an imprecise art form.  I hope to improve this fall.

I have plans to try many, many new things this year.  I finally got myself a pressure canner this winter and I'm anxious to give it a try canning some of those things I've never been able to can before.  A whole new world of canning awaits me!  Also,  I splurged on a Victorio food strainer and sauce maker  on the recommendation of another blog and I wish I could remember which blog it was.  That food mill looks like a dream come true for sauce and salsa making.  I also got the 4-piece accessory set to use for things other than sauce.  I expect this single purchase to take much of the tedium out of canning season.

But the very best thing for this season?  That's the subject of an entire blog all on its own, I think. 

It feels like there should be pictures of all this stuff, but I don't have them ready.  I hope to have some pictorials of all these goings on in the coming weeks.  It’s going to be a busy spring and summer...aaand fall at Almost An Acreage.  I can hardly wait.

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