Saturday, January 5, 2013

Hungry For Change

I am hungry for change. Today I scooped some beautiful black soil out of the worm bin and set it into a quart-sized yogurt container. I sprinkled in some kale seeds. My little recycled planter is in the kitchen under a desk lamp-cum-grow light. I took out the regular bulb in it and replaced it with an agri-bulb of the same wattage. If it takes, you can expect to read a lot more about getting early garden transplants ready. I am even considering putting up some folding tables and hanging grow lights and heat-mats in the basement to get an army of seedlings started. I plan on putting up a few plastic-hooped rows soon as the ground thaws, too. Hot damn, I want some green food in the ground.

I love raising my own meat, milk, and eggs. I feel like livestock is something I understand. I know how to get an egg turned into a roasted chicken and how to turn goat milk into cheese—but I am craving the green life more than ever before. I'm not sure why? I just know I want more of it and I want to get better at it. I don't want this to turn into a vegetable farm without livestock, far from it! I simply want to use more of my land to plant and produce food. I want apple orchards producing, a pumpkin patch, a corn field, wheat and beans. I want a colorful groundhog-proof garden. I want a larder stored tight with canned and preserved goodies from the garden to last the whole winter. This weekend all I can think about is the glossy pages of seed catalogs and the secrets they keep.

What are you guys ordering for your gardens this spring?

P.S. If you think that image of a person-carrot isn't very realistic. You should see what came out of my garden this past growing season!

34 Comments:

Blogger Abby said...

I bet those seed catalogs have a lot to do with your recent green cravings. I know they have mine! Plus, with a lack of variety in my CSA box this time of year, I also find myself wanting for spring veggies.

I look forward to your upcoming garden posts. This is the year I'm making more of an effort in that area too.

January 5, 2013 at 3:34 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Why aren't you using the convertible greenhouse you talked about last year? The one that hooked to your house?

January 5, 2013 at 3:42 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Hi Jenna! This year I have ordered some heritage wheat seeds from Salt Spring Seeds and I am going to be growing a 100 square foot patch in my backyard. They say after about a years experience, you can get about 90 cups of flour from a patch that small. I live in Northern BC (for about 2 years now) and we have a very short growing season. I am trying to get better with what I grow in our vegetable garden. I think broccoli is on the table for this year.

January 5, 2013 at 3:43 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I can't wait to use that greenhouse, but it needs some serious installing. I need to level a stop on the south side of my house. I need to order lumber for it. And I need help. I can bend a few pieces of bamboo rod or PVC and stick it in the ground and wrap plastic over it pretty cheap and easy. The convertible needs extra help and when I had folks around to help we had more dear projects like animal housing and fences to get up!

January 5, 2013 at 3:45 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

I got Annie's seed 2012 catalogue and have decided it is prudent to choose all heirloom seeds from now on, and save at end of year. So, I am ordering seeds of tomatos, broccoli, variety of kale, spinach, mesclun mix, peppers, chard, corn, summer and winter squash. I am also looking into planting hardy dwarf trees as well as fruit bushes from other sources. Looking to be able to do most of our food on farm, from meat to veggies to dairy to fruit/veggies. Spending other time making draft dodgers as well as crocheting afghans while I catch up on Nova specials.
Holly in Illinois

January 5, 2013 at 4:21 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

January 5, 2013 at 4:22 PM  
Blogger barbsbirds13 said...

seed catalogs rolling in have given me the same inclinations. maybe I'll follow suit. please keep us informed how your kale starts manage with this early a start.

January 5, 2013 at 4:30 PM  
Blogger PansWife said...

I've always preferred cold frames to hoops when it comes to winter greens. Easier access and easier to throw some extra insulation over them if the weather gets real cold. You do have to remove the snow off of them like a roof to keep the light levels. The hardest part was remembering to sow in mid-summer when everything else is in full production in order to have greens now. I've never had luck with greenhouse kits, ours became a white fly, scale and spider mite breeding ground. I refuse to use pesticides, so gave to someone who now uses it for storage.

January 5, 2013 at 4:41 PM  
Blogger Moose Hollow Farm said...

What a weird looking carrot!!!!!
I have been doing the same thing ~ digging into my dozens of seed catalogs (including Annie's) and planning my garden. We started our seedlings indoors too late last year and they were leggy and not very productive ~ we ended up buying organic plants (very expensive). I will not make the same mistake this year ~ I will start my seedlings earlier and see how they do. I will order my broiler chickens in Feb for early Spring delivery. I'm glad that someone else is suffering from Barnheart this winter.

January 5, 2013 at 5:14 PM  
Blogger Ken Newman said...

Hi Jenna, I just sent you a sound file via email. I discovered this Spring that a ground hog can run through the openings in 2 x 4 welded wire fence as easily as we move through the air. I had to reinforce the bottom three feet with chicken wire after he took out the brussel sprouts, cabbage and most of the lettuce. They time the seed catalogs to tempt us when we're at our weakest. Here's a bright note, it's January 5th and we're still bringing in beets, carrots and parsnips from under the leaf mulch in our raised beds.
You'll love it...there's nothing like the taste of your own vegetables I wasn't kidding about the canning, it's a chore, but those stocked shelves give you such a warm feeling and they're pretty too.

January 5, 2013 at 5:16 PM  
Blogger R.M. Smith said...

Seed catalogs are in and my sharpie is circling lotsa goodies. Here in the high desert, nothing can go in the ground until late May. Have to stick to all short-season crops. Greenhouse going in within the next year. Hopefully that helps.

January 5, 2013 at 5:18 PM  
Blogger Jedediah said...

I want to try some zucchini on my balcony this year. And I've just learned how to grow mushrooms on old books, so I'll be ordering more mushroom spawn - and I don't even have to wait for spring to do it :)

January 5, 2013 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger Jeane said...

I love the carrot men! It immediately made me think of the forked, leggy carrots I got last year, too. I'm pining for green things, it never fails halfway thru winter. I started a bit of chard, cilantro, lettuce and peas in recycled trays in my apartment just a few days ago, so I'm right along with you.

January 5, 2013 at 5:57 PM  
Blogger Maine homesteader said...

We are going to grow flour corn due to a wheat allergy. Corn hand grinds very easily. Also, growing more dried beans. Southern Exposure is a good source.

January 5, 2013 at 6:10 PM  
OpenID smfarm said...

I'm looking forward to your posts about gardening, particularly if you go towards market gardening, as that's what we're considering as well. We've ordered kale, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc. It's hard to not order everything we want to try! We have a productive raspberry bed, grapes, asparagus, blueberries.

January 5, 2013 at 7:15 PM  
Blogger Tiffrz-N-Kidz said...

I was thinking the same thing today. The Annie's seeds gave me such a great return that I will definitely order more from them this spring. Alas, the rabbits devoured the last of the lettuces, but that's why they invented welded wire! Come Spring I DARE those pesky varmints to come round!

January 5, 2013 at 7:31 PM  
Blogger RamblinHome said...

Okay, seriously...were you in my house today when my friend and I were talking about this very same thing? We both have to stay away from the seed catalogs because they just make that need to grow something edible worse! I think I'm going to break out a planter and the leftover bag o' dirt in the shed and plant some lettuce in the kitchen. That might curb my agri-urge for a bit.

January 5, 2013 at 8:05 PM  
Blogger WillowBrookFarm said...

Jenna, I'd like to offer your readers a tip for free or very cheap fruit trees and bushes! This will only work for the ones that have spare time and want a part time job in the spring/summer. Big box home improvement stores hire vendors to take care of the plants and unload them. They are paid pretty decent, usually have flexible schedules AND they are always the first to know about mark downs on trees & bushes ( fruit trees, raspberries, blueberries, grapes) . Also these stores don't like to keep stuff to long so will often tell you just to pitch something, while the store employees are not allowed to take this stuff, the vendors company owns the plants and they don't seem to care what the vendors do with it! ( in my experience anyhow) I have done this for a few summers now and have a small orchard, many trees I've just paid a few dollars for, as well as a row of blueberry bushes and patch of raspberries. It's not for everyone but might be some good side income for a homesteader looking to expand their fields!

January 5, 2013 at 8:17 PM  
Blogger Margaret said...

At my house it is traditional to order seeds during the early part of January. I usually get this done over the New Year Holiday, but this year I'm not quite done figuring out what the garden will be about. I got my seed starting shelves and light out of the garage. so I guess I am on my way.

January 5, 2013 at 9:03 PM  
Blogger Margaret said...

At my house it is traditional to order seeds during the early part of January. I usually get this done over the New Year Holiday, but this year I'm not quite done figuring out what the garden will be about. I got my seed starting shelves and light out of the garage. so I guess I am on my way.

January 5, 2013 at 9:04 PM  
Blogger Jess said...

Check out the Hickory Holler Farm blog. She does a huge garden and is writing a series about seeds/crop selection that have been very informative. She also has a ton of recipes for canning and preserving.

January 5, 2013 at 9:43 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Mac said...

I stick to the basics (what my family will eat). Those seed catalogs are tempting. How about growing some sprouts in a jar .. they add a nice punch to a sandwich or salad. Can't wait for our ground to thaw too.

January 5, 2013 at 10:01 PM  
Blogger 3 Dogs Barking Farms said...

Just started serious work today to see what seeds I have from last year and what I need to buy for this year paired with all the new stuff I wont be able to say no too! Only problem is I did my provisional plan and have 36x60ft rows of vegetable going into 32x60ft of space. Looks like I still have some planning to do. We were just at the Town and Country auctions in Schuylerville and I had to get Tommy out of there before we came home with a goat!

January 5, 2013 at 10:04 PM  
Blogger T. Crockett said...

Just got my Annie's catalog and I'm having fun imagining.

January 5, 2013 at 10:25 PM  
Blogger Patty said...

Hi everyone. Jenna, keep the good work. I don't want to burden you by saying that you inspire me, but I am always impressed by how well you use your time, and follow your passion. After a learning curve, I have raised my chicks from day old babies to healthy egg layers. I am considering a move, and have already found a home in the city that has ready-made chicken coop, complete with next boxes! Thanks for doing what you do. Patty from Texas.

January 6, 2013 at 12:57 AM  
Blogger Kirsten said...

I order my seeds from Turtle Tree, Fedco and Johnny's. I'll be focusing on tomatoes and peppers again this year, plus greens. My chard was a total hit last year, and I have a little more space for something new - maybe broccoli or Brussel sprouts. I've been looking at the catalogs, too and will need to make a cold frame so my seedlings don't grow long and spindly like they did last year.

January 6, 2013 at 9:03 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Peppermint said...

Halfway through Barnheart ... came in mail from Amazon Friday. I knew it would be a great book when on page 18 there was this particular gem, "The gate was apparently being held together by spite and tetanus" - Totally stopped me in my tracks - and I had to wonder how you came up with that one. There are MANY others - but I didn't have a pen so now i can't find them. Can't wait for the next book!

January 6, 2013 at 10:03 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Peppermint said...

Got Barnheart Friday - 1/2 way through it. First great line, "The gate was apparently being held together by spit and tetanus" - Love it! I wish I had marked the other gems I found. Love your writing style. Can't wait for next book!

January 6, 2013 at 10:05 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

The cartoon and the carrot remind me of Margaret Atwood's The Edible Woman.

January 6, 2013 at 10:24 AM  
Blogger Kathryn Jones said...

We are having the same hankering! Here is the link the post on our blog on the same topic!

http://windwomenfarm.blogspot.com/2012/12/hope-springs-eternal.html

Just give us a shout Jenna when you are ready to put up hoop houses or tunnels...we have the bender and experience putting them up...

January 6, 2013 at 10:35 AM  
Blogger Lorie Hyten, adult services said...

I grew collards from seed a couple years ago...when I saw the lovely yellow flowers they produced I let them flower, they went to seed and I've had volunteer collards the past two years. Nothing beats collards simmered for hours (maybe in a crock pot) with a smoked pork hock and a few flakes of red pepper. With cornbread even better! They are a cold weather crop, so it means early greens in sping and greens late into fall.

January 6, 2013 at 2:50 PM  
Blogger E said...

For the best garden planning guide:
http://www.vintageveggies.com/information/planting_guide.html

Good seeds, too.

January 7, 2013 at 2:27 PM  
Blogger Steve Harlow said...

I Love that pic of the cartoon carrots! I'm right there with ya, on the "ready to dig dirt" itch. I'm fortunate to live quite aways further south. Still have some winter crops growing, and have garden plotted out, seeds in hand, planting dates and maturity dates written on a calender, and a schedule for my Greenhouse starts.

I might be just a little obsessive on my planning. :-D

January 7, 2013 at 6:49 PM  
Blogger Steve Harlow said...

I Love that pic of the cartoon carrots! I'm right there with ya, on the "ready to dig dirt" itch. I'm fortunate to live quite aways further south. Still have some winter crops growing, and have garden plotted out, seeds in hand, planting dates and maturity dates written on a calender, and a schedule for my Greenhouse starts.

I might be just a little obsessive on my planning. :-D

January 7, 2013 at 6:51 PM  

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