Deep Roots and Flexibility… get us through Uncertainty
I don’t know about you, but for me it has been yet another year of personal upheaval. At this point, I’m getting fairly used to abrupt changes. Yet one thing remains constant…
I am remaining determined to focus on improving my approach to food production and self-sufficiency. There is a palpable sensation of society breaking down on some levels while simultaneously building up through necessary rapid adaptation. I sense desperation and the willingness to do whatever it takes for survival.
As Earth’s magnetic shield has been dramatically weakening, all life and weather patterns are being affected by the influx of space weather. This is a time to learn quickly. Get real with what it is you are supposed to be doing and where you are supposed to be living.
What meaning have you created in your life?
Are you in alignment with your true authentic Self?
Farming skills are a lifelong tool forged through the willingness to do what it takes to be successful regardless of the trials and tribulations. There is a steep learning curve when you go all in and headfirst. Those initial learning years are like gold. In addition, you may do well to have some mentors to learn from and a stocked home library for resource information.
If you’re well into your gardening years, then perhaps it’s a good time to share your wisdom and teach those desiring to learn. However you decide to approach it, let this be the year that you accomplish new food production goals!
Here is a quick rundown of what’s been happening on my little homestead
North Gate Farm
This year we are going for a purple theme in the varieties we are growing. From purple carrots and beans to purple tiger stripped peppers, midnight purple peppers and purple tomatillos.
My favorite purple vegetable thus far is the Early Spring Purple Broccoli. I immensely enjoy the brilliant color, flavor and growing cycle of this variety. It is started by seed in the middle of Summer, grows all through the Winter and will begin to flower in early Spring. It is very hearty! Mine were covered in several feet of snow, stalks broken, the birds ate all the leaves, and it still regrew its foliage and made flowers, amazing! This year, I’ll provide better protection from the heavy snow and hungry birds. The flavor is distinct with a hint of pepper spice to it. Its vibrant color will remain after cooking, unlike other purple vegetables. I recommend you give this one a try; it’s really nice to have something ready to eat in the garden at this time of year.
Kale is left in the ground over Winter as it is very cold tolerant and will do well even if it is buried in snow. It was eaten to the stalk by the birds a few times, but still filled out with young spring leaves and eventually the birds moved on. The kale will begin to start flowering, and at that point we decide to leave one row and take out the rest. This remaining row will go to seed and provide a large amount of stock for future plantings, microgreens, and chicken fodder. Chard is also left in the ground and will go produce lots of seed in the Spring. We have already started a fresh round of kale and chard to replace last year’s plants.
There are a few crops that we are going to plant successively so that the harvest can be spread out over a longer period of time. Starting with our earliest directly seeded crops of peas and carrots followed by additional plantings every two weeks through May. Golden, White Globe and Purple White Top Turnips along with Purple Plum radishes have also recently been planted and are already starting to pop up.
The broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts have made it into the field and are pleased to be in the ground. This is a good time to get an early start with sprays for white cabbage moth and other hungry little caterpillars that can really setback your young plants. I like to use organic Spinosad.
Later in the season aphids may become an issue. They have always been a problem for me, and I am learning about how to fix my soil so that these bugs are not such an overwhelming problem in the middle of Summer. All I can say is be diligent about cleaning the plants of any dead or damaged leaves and harvest regularly. You can use an insecticidal soap, or make your own with Dr. Bronner’s soap. Some people say to just spray them off with a hose, but I find that the little buggers just climb back up the plant! Ladybugs are a great idea also, but I have too much kale to cover for that to be economical. Surely the resolution is in fixing the soil and creating more biodiversity to attract beneficial insects and deter the predatory ones.
Lettuce starts are in the ground, although we may still get a frost. I’m not too concerned because I can throw a frost blanket over the top of them if the temperature dips too low. My plan is to start lettuce every two weeks. I’m going to plant through the Summer as well and experiment with growing under a shade cloth in a partly shaded summer plot. I want salad greens all year!
Darling of every garden, the tomato. I have finally started to learn my lesson about not starting tomato plants too early. At first, I thought that getting the plants really large in one-gallon pots was the way to get early tomatoes. What happened is the plants started to flower while in the pots and this can set them back a bit after transplanting. The larger plants are also more difficult to deal with and can take up a lot of greenhouse space. So, this year, I started them at the standard time of 6 weeks prior to the last frost. I started them indoors under lights and planted them in rows in a 10×20 tray. Soon I will be transplanting them to a 4 “pot and then transferring to the greenhouse for another month before planting them outside.
Peppers take longer to germinate and so I started those in February. They will soon be ready to move out to the greenhouse and will likely get transplanted into 4” pots before their final destination in the garden. I’m not certain why some of them look healthy and others are struggling, but my best guess is that the soil was possibly contaminated by one of my cats!
I have recently come across ‘soil blocking’ as a technique for starting seeds. It led me to discover Eliot Coleman and his books on organic gardening. He is known for bringing back the old tradition of using soil blocks. It appeals to me because I want to be done with the plastic. Also, it allows the plants to air prune rather than wind around the bottom of the pot, which leads to less transplant shock. I’m going to start experimenting with some different techniques on the next round of seed starting. I’ll be keeping you updated on that little adventure.
That about sums up where things are on the farm. I can’t believe it’s April! We’ve been very busy bees and I hope you are too when it comes to planning for your 2022 harvest.
So much to learn, so little time, but don’t let that hinder your efforts!
Give the best of care to yourself and loved ONES
thank you for reading
…Love wins the war…
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