Springtime on the farm is fast approaching. Although spring doesn’t technically start until March 20th according to the calendar, springtime on the farm starts much sooner – as in next week for us! Based on our growing zone (8b), we always start our first round of seeds in the greenhouse during the second week of February. That is usually our unofficial kickoff to spring and the kickoff to “hold on tight it’s about to get really busy around here” season. To add even more to the start of springtime on the farm this year, our baby chicks are supposed to be shipped out early next week! So by next weekend we should have a brooder full of chicks and our first seeds started in the greenhouse. Talk about jumping into 2021 head first!
As far as our chick brooder is concerned, we decided to completely revamp it this year and – surprise, surprise – we haven’t started building it yet. Lucky for us, the little chicks can live in a large plastic bin-turned-brooder for a few weeks until we get the new brooder constructed. Doug has a master plan for the new brooder, so I am letting him take the reins on the building as always. I’m really excited to see his vision come to life! From what he has described to me, it sounds like the new brooder is going to be pretty awesome. And as far as our seed starting is concerned, we decided that we are going to try out soil blocking this year, so for the past few weeks we’ve been experimenting with soil blocking mixtures as well as practicing making blocks. We will do one more trial run tomorrow to make sure everything is good to go with the soil blocking process, and we will also be plugging in all of the seed mats and making sure that they are working and are ready to be used. The greenhouse also needs a little bit of organizing and tidying up, so we will be getting that done tomorrow as well. More to come about the new and improved chick brooder and our soil blocking endeavor in future posts.
This past week has been a pretty quiet one around here – definitely the calm before the spring, and definitely our last week of not having as many mouths to feed and seedlings to tend to. Besides doing the usual animal chores and farm upkeep, we have been really trying to harvest and eat the winter veggies that we’ve been growing. Although we never really have much luck with broccoli and cauliflower varieties, leafy greens like bok choy, kale, and swiss chard always do really well here. Our kale and swiss chard still have some growing to do, but we’ve got lots of bok choy that are harvesting size and some that are even starting to bolt because of our unpredictable warm then cold weather. So far we’ve used the bok choy in a tasty soup, sautéed as a side for dinner, and also in place of cabbage in a lazy stuffed cabbage recipe. Bok choy will always have a place in our garden. It is so versatile and easy to cook with, and we just love it! We also recently harvested a bunch of purple top turnips from a raised bed that we had completely forgotten about. Those were equally beautiful and tasty, and definitely a nice surprise! As part of our winter garden, we are also growing purple lady bok choy and tatsoi for the first time this year. Both have done very well, but we have yet to harvest any because we just don’t think of it. I’m going to try to make a point to harvest at least one of the two to use as part of our dinners next week. We’ll see how it goes!
That’s about all we’ve got to share from this week. Besides doing some prep work tomorrow, we will be spending the beginning of this upcoming week trying to enjoy our final days of being on cruise control. I have a feeling that once next weekend rolls around, things are going to get much busier, but in a good way. Stay tuned!