Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Before the super cold weather arrived, I was checking out the gardens and I found some surprises. The witch hazel was in full bloom in mid-January, which is earlier than its expected February bloom time. Horehound was fresh and green and I saw a few small green comfrey leaves and some green growth under the old on St John's wort. Now we'll see if the blast of Arctic air puts everything back to its winter mode.

 It's a good test for the winter hardiness of those Rosemary types that claim to be winter hardy. We planted our newest variety, "Paris" this spring and will see how it fares. It really is an extended stretch of cold weather that does in rosemary. The plant I feel has the best chance of survival is a regular species rosemary. It survived last year's mild winter quite well and is nice and big. A bigger plant means a bigger root system which means a better chance of surviving really cold weather.

 The first batch of spring seedlings is growing quite happily under lights in the basement. Nearly all seedlings look identical when they first germinate. The second set of leaves, their "true" leaves, are when they start differentiating themselves. I love to go back and check on their progress. As I start more varieties, I like to test myself and see if I can identify them by their leaves alone, without checking the tags. I usually do pretty well. One variety already started is a new lavender. Mini-Blue, which is the second type we grow from seed. The other is Lady.

 I've been enjoying our "slow" time of year, although it's coming to a close. In February, I start seeds every week, and the first starter plants arrive mid-month. Supplies arrive at the beginning of February, and once they do, I can start filling flats of pots with soil.. That gives me a head start as the seedlings develop - I can pop them right into the pre-filled pots as they are ready to be potted. It's a very pleasant chore on a sunny winter day as the greenhouse heats up nicely as long as the sun shines.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Let's say it's spring!

We're back after our holiday break.  Hope everyone's holidays were merry.  Sales were steady through December and we appreciate everyone who visited the farm.  In talking to people, I was interested to find that we are not the only ones who focus on stocking stuffers.  Growing up, we loved them, even more so as we got older.  Finally, my mom made "boodle bags" to handle the overflow.  We still exchange stocking stuffers (and gifts) with my sister who lives out of town.  Several customers mentioned that they also really liked and focused on stocking stuffers in the families.  Stocking Stuffers rule!

Also, yes, we are open.  Many people think we close after the spring season or are closed all winter.  Actually, we're open five days a week, Tuesday thru Saturday from April through December.  After our holiday break, the shop is open three days a week, Thursday thru Saturday 9-5 through March.  When the greenhouse opens in April, we go back to five days a week.  In the winter, people shop for gifts, supplies, since they might have more time for projects, dried herbs and spices, ditto for cooking, oils, soaps and lotions for relaxing and soothing dry skin, teas for relaxing and warming and books for dreaming of spring.  Our herbal and garden calendars are now half off.

I enjoyed the snow we had.  The snow melts off the greenhouses and must be shoveled away from the sides so it doesn't  push in on the plastic.  One thing I've noticed since we've had the greenhouses is that it usually snows at night.  So, it was nice that it snowed during the day.  It wasn't too much and it was easy to shovel.  Lucy enjoyed herself, of course.  With her very short hair, I'm surprised she likes cold weather, but she does.  Loves to chase snowballs.

I did my first round of seeding early in January and the first batch of seedlings are in the basement.  Only a couple of flats - pansies and a few early perennials, including a new type of lavender grown from seed.  So, spring has officially started here!
I would like to interrupt this blog to make an announcement....
I am Maryanne, a friend of Kathy's who actually puts the posts up on her blog.

You should know that Kathy actually writes a bit more than what actually shows up here, and it is my fault!

Kathy types her entries on an actual typewriter, sends them to me - via snailmail, and I scan them, convert to text and post for her.  Since I am sometimes either too busy, or just too lazy, some of her posts either never show up, or might seem to be a little late, time-wise.

It is my fault and I have wanted to make this statement for some time!

Someday, we will convince Kathy to join us in the computer world, but until then, we will be using this procedure and hope that you will now understand why sometimes things may seem a bit out of synch.

Now - back to our regularly scheduled blog!