Saturday, January 31, 2009

Waiting for Spring

This week we attended the second session of a two-part program on Sustainable Small-Scale Vegetable Production given by our local cooperative extension. The organizers were really excited because they had a record turn out! It was just an introduction to the concepts of sustainable farming, so none of the speakers went into a lot of detail, but what they stressed repeatedly was the need to plan carefully, and the importance of soil testing. Luckily, a soil test kit was included in the price of attendance! Once the soil thaws out this spring, we'll definitely be out back digging up a sample, and we'll be back here with the results. If you haven't already looked up your local cooperative extension, you should - they have tons of resources and people who can answer almost any question you might have about growing things.

All this talk about growing vegetables was in stark contrast to the snow, ice, and freezing temperatures we've been having. Luckily, seed starting time has arrived, which is keeping me from going completely stir-crazy! Last weekend I started a flat of alpine stawberry seeds. Most strawberries are planted as crowns and spread by runners, but alpines (aka fraises des bois) spread by seed and are great for urban gardeners because they don't need a lot of space, and can do well even without a lot of direct sun. They take about 30 days to germinate, according to the seed packet, so we'll have to be patient while we wait for signs of life from these tiny seeds.

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