Spring is here! Yay! We are in full tilt greenhouse mode. Three greenhouses are filled with seedlings for our upcoming Seedling Sale Weekends in May (now Saturdays as well as Sundays); lots of veggie starts, culinary & medicinal herbs, plus annual & perennial flowers. You can now find our seedlings at Hunger Mountain Co-op. Another greenhouse has transplanted tomatoes in the ground that are now knee high, and flowering! Three other greenhouses are full of greens like kale, cilantro, dill, arugula, and beet greens. Look for bunches of Cate Farm greens at Hunger Mt. Co-op in Montpelier starting late April.
The fields outside are drying out and we should be able to start prepping beds and seeding gobo (Japanese burdock root) before May 1st, which is about normal for this area. The longer days and strong sunlight are noticeable, and welcome.
Cate Farm wants gardeners everywhere to have the best garden ever- so we’re ending each Spring newsletter with a gardening tip!
Spring Gardening Tip
After a long winter, gardeners can't wait to get working on their garden. But how can you tell when the garden is ready for you? And what are the best plants for early Spring?
Garden soil should be dried out enough before digging or tilling. Amazingly, the soil beneath our feet is about 50% air! The space between soil particles is filled with air, and varying amounts of water. Working wet soils can lead to compaction and loss of soil structure. When is it dry enough?
Here are some clues:
After winter, bare garden soil will develop cracks or fissures which is the first indicator the ground is drying out.
If soil or mud clings to your shoes when you walk in the garden, the soil is too wet to work.
Similarly, if you form a ball of soil in your hand and water drips from it, it is still too wet.
When the soil is workable, it is time to plant your peas and Fava beans. Both enjoy the cooler temperatures of early Spring. Other early crops include spinach, lettuce, beets, and arugula. Check out Johnny’s Seeds Grower’s Library for more tips on specific plants.
Remember to space plants so that they are not too crowded when they reach mature size.