First of the Garden Produce

Would you believe that we had fresh kale and lettuce from the garden already?!

That’s right – on March 31 – which is officially the earliest we have ever eaten from the garden – we had our first salad.

lettuceI was going to publish this yesterday – but then I realized that some of you might think it was a hoax because of April Fool’s Day.

But believe me- this is no joke.

So how did we get to a harvest so quickly when this is the time most people are just getting things planted?

Remember back last fall when I happened to mention in a post that Buddy and I transplanted some late cabbage, broccoli, kale and lettuce into a thrown together cold frame of cement blocks and old windows?

broccoliWe had hoped to harvest fresh veggies into the winter – but that didn’t work so well. Everything stopped growing, some even looked dead, so I called the experiment a mistake and forgot about it.

But then the weather warmed up this spring and some of those plants perked right up and started to grow!

it was a miracle!

cabbage

And now, for the first time ever – instead of playing catch up with my Amish neighbors –  I’m ahead of them!

Never mind that I had to start last October and it was kind of an accident.

Hey – I win is a win!

And fresh veggies the last day of March is most definitively a win!

Before the Grass Comes In

IMG_2168I’ve discovered that there is a new season on the farm – one that our city cousins don’t necessarily encounter.

I call it “Before the grass comes in.”

This season happens directly after the snow melts and before the grass greens up and starts growing – which signifies the start of the spring busy season.

I know the season has arrived when I hear  –

“Those varmint cedar trees need to be picked up and burned before the grass comes in.”

“I’ve got to get that baler fixed before the grass comes in.”

“Those locust trees down by the pond should be taken care of before the grass comes in.”

“I really should burn the ditches before the grass comes in.”

“There’s lots of brush and thorns to clean up from that last snow storm before the grass comes in.”

With each added minute of daylight as spring approaches, the list gets longer and my husband gets busier.

And I will admit that he’s not the only one with a list.

I know that as soon as the grass turns green all indoor projects will be put on hold until the ground freezes next fall.

There’s a shower that needs to be fixed, a quilt that needs to be finished and a basement that we’ve been slowly working on all winter.

But I wouldn’t be surprised if these projects sit undone. It’s hard to get motivated to work inside when the sun is shining and the temperatures are climbing!

After all – the grass is greening up!

Showing Restraint

SeedsYesterday was a happy day. 🙂

I finally got to play in the dirt.

I’m not sure why it took so long to get my seeds started this year – but they are done now and sitting pretty in the sun room.

I check them every hour or so – just in case they sprouted already.

You should be proud of me – I actually showed great restraint in my planting.

Well – at least as far as tomatoes go.

I only planted thirty-six instead of my usual 50-60. But now I’m wondering if that’s enough? Maybe I should have planted more?

No worries about peppers though. I’ve planted seven different kinds. Five sweet varieties and two hot.

I guess I’m kind of obsessed with peppers right now.

And not just me! Jan ate a new variety over the weekend that he loved so much he spent a few hours researching it.

He finally found seeds in Ohio and bought me some.

He’s wonderful like that!

Now I just need to wait for them to come so I can plant them.

And for everything to grow.

And the ground to warm up.

And the Amish greenhouse to open so I can buy more plants and more seeds!

So I can plant more things!

I told you I was showing great restraint this year. 😉

PS: The seeds haven’t sprouted yet – I just checked again.

The “Morel” of the Story

morel mushroomsI love morel mushrooms.

Dipped in egg and crushed saltines then fried in butter – they are the epitome of spring cuisine.

But they are elusive.

The weather has to be just right.

The soil has to be just right.

And you have to be at the right place at the right time.

For several years now my love of mushrooms has been thwarted by my extreme allergy to poison ivy.  There was no way I could go tramping through the forests hunting for mushrooms like I did when I was younger.

The only morels we’ve had were the few accidentally discovered by a neighbor out checking cows.

But not this year!

This year the weather was just right.

The soil was just right.

And we happened to be in the right place at the right time. Well – at least Buddy was. He was out helping Jan move pigs and walked right into a patch.

Boom! More mushrooms then we had seen in years!

He carried them in like gold. My hero.

Each one was fried with extreme care. I wish I could say that we ate them slowly and savored each bite, but the truth is – we inhaled them as if we hadn’t eaten a morel in years.

Which in fact – we hadn’t.

What a feast!

And Even More Extreme Planting…

Since we are into extreme planting these days (remember the 500 trees) – why not extend that to the garden planting?!

DSC_0097
I guess if one buys hundreds of packets of seeds during winter snow storms, and then starts hundreds of tiny seeds in the grey days of early March, one should expect to plant many, many seedlings.

And so I did.

The 2 kinds of cauliflower, 2 kinds of broccoli, and 3 kinds of cabbage are in the ground.

Over 140 plants.

That is no joke. Jan counted them.

I’m either an overachiever or certifiably insane.

Or…maybe we just love cauliflower and broccoli.

At any rate, I should have enough cabbage to make sauerkraut for an entire German hamlet.

That is – if they actually grow.

And the bunnies don’t find them.

And the pigs don’t get out.

And the cabbage moths don’t infest them.

And the rains come.

And the creek don’t rise.

Okay – I’m certifiable.