This week you can choose from red potatoes, yellow potatoes, fingerling potatoes, green cabbage, leeks, garlic, red onions, carrots, baby carrots, beets, celeriac, rutabaga, Gilfeather turnip, spinach, meslcun mix, baby kale, and cilantro. (Cilantro bunches are half items, so if you only want one bunch when we pack it up, we can turn one of your other items into an item and a half, if that makes sense.)
The high tunnel greens have started responding to the increased light of the season, and of course these mild temperatures. It's fun to watch them grow well and to start being able to harvest so many more greens each week!
This week we have been busily preparing the propagation house for the bulk spring seeding. So far, we have been starting all our spring greens and early tomatoes in our little set up in our bathroom with grow lights and heat mats, but once we start the thousands of onions and leeks and shallots seeds, it's time to have the bigger outdoor space ready. At the end of every fall season the prop house has been taken over by a big bulk fall and winter planting of pea shoots, as well as piles and piles of onion and garlic debris from when they were curing in there at the end of the summer. So our project began with emptying all the pea shoot trays and removing all the allium debris to the compost. Then we sweep all the tables and floor area to remove older potting soil and plant debris so we can effectively sanitize the prop house to make sure we aren't starting the season with plant diseases present to infect our new baby plants. We organize the seeding station to make sure all our tools are ready and in good shape, and disinfect all our seeding trays.
Our seedlings are kept warm enough by lots of tiny tubes of hot water that run in loops on top of the warm table. These tubes are heated by a hot water heater, powered by our solar panels. This table has a layer of plastic that gets rolled over it to keep that area warmer than the rest of the prop house. This time of year, we fill that system back up since it is drained for the winter when we don't use it.
We also turn our germination chamber back on. The germ chamber is a large chest freezer on it's side (big insulated box) that we installed racks in to store trays, and a pan of water at the bottom with a heating element, that creates steam from the pan to keep the air in the germ chamber at 70 to 80 degrees, depending on what we are germinating.
Seeds get started by spending a few days in the germ chamber, then as soon as the first seeds pop, all the trays get moved to the table with the small hot water tubes on them for better air circulation and, most importantly, light.
We are almost done cleaning and setting up the prop house, but we have already started a few trays of bok choi and salad turnips. And any day now we will start our onion seeds!
Next week we hope to start harvesting logs for shiitake mushroom inoculation. It is best to harvest logs when their sap runs are most active, which is the late winter/early spring window... essentially the same as maple sugar season, so now! We take down maples and oaks, and cut them into 4 foot sections, and then begin inoculating the 200 new logs anytime between now and late April. We wish there was a little more freezing so that when we head into the woods, we don't muck up the ground much with equipment, so we usually save this project for a couple hours every morning after a hard freeze, and then stop before the ground gets too soft.
It certainly feels like we haven't finished wrapping up last season, but this season is eagerly and persistently getting it's running start into the chaos of spring that will unfold before we realize what's happening!
Have a great week!
Early Spring Lunch Wrap
2-3 carrots, cut lengthwise into 2-inch long pieces
2-3 beets, cut lengthwise into 2-inch long pieces
1 leek, cut lengthwise into 2-inch long pieces
Sauekraut (optional, but so good)
Greens (mesclun or spinach)
Salt and pepper
Your favorite cheese, grated, crumbled, or sliced, optional
Large tortilla wraps
Toss sliced veggies with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Roast at 400 until lightly browned, tossing as needing. Let veggies cool to room temperature. (These store great in the fridge for awhile, so feel free to make a larger batch for future sandwiches.) Lay your wrap out, and decorate with greens, sauerkraut, cheese, and roasted veggies. Wrap up and enjoy!