March is for….starting seeds.

Which is what we’ve been doing steadily for the past week or so. See the full garage for photographic evidence…

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I had a little of the panic when we arrived in early March and hadn’t yet started our first seeds of the season as we were usually starting our onions and leeks around Feb 15th in BC. It turns out that because the growing season starts a bit later here (we were in zone 8 before, and now in 5b) that it’s really not a big deal and we’re not really off-track.

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The seeding machine looks over his work

I had another minor wig-out after driving around for three days following various leads to source seed starting supplies that we can use for Certified Naturally Grown production. We plant most of our seeds into soil blocks which allows us to reduce our use of plastics and were making the soil block mix recipe recommended by Johnny’s seeds last year. We were really happy with the mix and were hoping to make it again, but it turns out that some of the fertilizer ingredients are hard to find here. We finally found something comparable from a fertilizer supplier who happens to stock certified organic fertilizer in their Quebec warehouse and were able to order it into their Brampton store for us. We’ll start making our soil blocks this week for our brassica and tomato seedlings. Anyways, the lessons learned is that we should probably get used to mail ordering most of our supplies here to avoid driving all over the place to get what we need. Good thing I am so good at internet shopping!

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The very first seed to germinate was a weed! Imposter!!
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But soon after the alliums started to germinate
and now they look like this! Cute little onion/leek babies. Mmmmm, can't wait to eat you!
and now they look like this! Cute little onion/leek babies. Mmmmm, can’t wait to eat you!

We’ve ordered a 20′ x 100′ hoophouse from a local builder which is currently being built for us. In the meantime we’ve set up our seedling shop in our heated garage. It’s quickly filling up so Pat is out getting the parts we need to build a mini, heated seed starting hoophouse so we can start moving these guys outside (they much prefer natural light to the grow lights we’re using, and we’d prefer to look like less of a garage grow-op in our new neighbourhood).

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Pat build this germination table to help us get started this year before our hoophouse gets here. We’ll turn it into our microgreen zone once we can move these trays outside.

I realize that this is probably a bit of a boring blog post for anyone who isn’t a farmer, so I thought I’d end it with a list of what we are growing this year – some of which we’ll start indoors and transplant out, some of which we’ll plant directly into the ground a little later on in spring. If you’re a CSA member, you’ll have access to all of this deliciousness and more!

Veggies: Artichokes, Asaparagus (available in year 3), green, yellow and purple beans, beets, broccoli, brokali, flower sprouts (a new gimicky plant we’re trying from Johnny’s), Brussels sprouts, red and green cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, endive, bok choi, sweet corn, collard greens, cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, eggplants, arugula, our special peppery salad mix, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, microgreens, onions, scallions, parsnips, peas, sweet and hot peppers, peashoots, potatoes, pumpkins, radicchio, radishes, spinach, winter squash, swiss chard, tomatoes, ground cherries, zucchini and summer squash.

It’s worth mentioning here that we won’t have garlic this year as we didn’t arrive in time to plant it in the fall. Oh poop. Next year!

Fruit: Strawberries (most likely available in year 2), raspberries (year 2) and melons.

Herbs: Basil, chives, cilantro, cumin, dill, lavender, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, stevia.

Flowers: Asters, calendula, cosmos, echinacea, bee balm, statice, stock, strawflower, sunflowers, zinneas, dahlias (and about 50 more that would take way too long to type out, but that’s what we have a lot of).

Thanks for reading!

-Amy