spring thoughts

Before the snow came back, the girlies loved the last week of sunshine.

 Today its pretty cloudy and grey and snowy again out there, but we're starting to get some of those bright, sunny, and pretty darn cold days--classic for a Wisconsin January and February.  But you can already feel a change in the sunlight, and plans are forming in my head, if not yet on paper, for next year's garden and the bigger hoop house.

Sad spinach harvest, but D reminded me it was only 18 degrees outside (daytime high).

I've got a bunch of books out from the library--the polytunnel handbooks, and some more hoop house and salad green reference books.  Besides reading, winter is good for observation, I've spied a few things to guide me with next year's project:

The future hoop house site gets quite a bit more sun than my original choice (where my low tunnels are now).  It gets better morning sun, and an hour or so longer in the afternoons.  An accidental advantage.  It may get a little more shade in the summer and fall, but that's actually okay.  So delaying my plan might have worked out for the best.  Funny how that happens more often than not.

Our local farmers market pretty much ONLY has spinach right now (besides storage veggies).  It's fairly possible that this may be my only mainstay for January/February.   And I realize I'm okay with that.  I can still experiment with more unusual greens (that might not be as productive or saleable for the market audience).  But I thought about a worse case scenario--half the hoop in spinach, the rest in overwintered plants waiting for February and March to revive--and that's fine with me.  Plus I'll still get a few extra weeks in fall and spring added to my season.  For the size we're building (10 x 12) it's good to have realistic expectations.

And , my first seed order has arrived!  I have a few things to pick up locally, but my main order was from Johnny's this year.  Mostly I'm just replacing seeds I'm low on (beets, cabbage), but it's always fun to add some new stuff to the mix:

Caraflex Cabbage:  It's pointy!
Fairly Tale Eggplant:  I was out of my striped variety (Tiger) and these were lovely looking, and are supposed to be prolific.  CAN'T grow enough eggplant.  
Radicchio:  Because it's traditional to grow one new thing that you've never eaten (don't laugh).

Plus, more kale (since I now have eaten it and love it, see how that works?), fava beans, and a larger Jalapeno variety to aid in our obsession with grilling cheese-stuffed, bacon-wrapped poppers.   Ahhh, I can't wait.

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  1. Kale! That gateway drug to harder things like...radicchio!

    (My fave way to eat radicchio is atop a pizza with blue cheese. 2nd fave: seared in a skillet, drizzled w/ balsamic & breadcrumbs.)

    I am so excited about your greenhouse plans. However, I despair over your lack of anything but spinach to eat!! Do you have arugula seeds around? You can sprout them indoors in a plastic-lidded takeout container, harden them off in an unheated porch, then stick them under the hoops (provided the earth isn't rock-hard; maybe after a sunny day?) when they're beyond the seedling leaf stage. I am doing that now (along with some lettuce) b/c I *need* to see more tiny sprouts than I am currently seeing. rotation is the name of the game!

  2. Ha on the kale! :)

    It's not that all I'm trying to grow is spinach, it's just the worse case scenario, which doesn't seem that bad.

    Def have seeds for arugula, tatsoi, mache, etc. Most of those are still growing in my low tunnels too, just not very big (and possible dead after last week). We'll see.

    I am totally jonesing to start some seeds, I'm trying to wait until groundhogs day ;)


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