Late Winter Harvests

It mid-February at the Transition Garden.  We just celebrated Chinese and Tibetan New Year’s on February 12th and now its almost Valentine’s Day.  There’s 10 inches of snow on the ground from the last storm and night time lows are in the range of -6-12C. The bees are tightly clustered in their bee hive and sipping the honey that keeps them warm.  Two deer came through last night rooting around for any vegetable stems to chew on that they can find under the snow.

We spread some wood ashes from the woodstove on some of the beds to provide nutrients and help lower the pH.  Calcium is the most abundant element in wood ash. Ash is also a good source of potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. In terms of commercial fertilizer, average wood ash would be about 0-1-3 (N-P-K).

While the outside garden is fully dormant, we have been at it in the greenhouses. The lower greenhouse has 3 beds of over-wintered spinach still ripe for picking.  In another short few weeks, it will begin to awaken from its winter slumber and begin actively growing again.  Its seems impervious to the cold and always yields some harvest. The workshop greenhouse is undergoing a thorough cleaning in preparation for the upcoming transplant production season which begins in March. Its also time to inspect our extra bee equipment, as we may need to rebuild some honey frames or hive boxes in preparation for spring nectar flow.

Of course, winter is also the perfect time for sprouts and micro-greens production in order to keep salad fixins in the fridge.  One of our favourites are the micro-green mixes from Mumm’s Seeds, soaked for 6-8 hours and then planted into 1/2″ of potting mix on a cafeteria tray.  Be sure to drill a few holes in the tray for drainage and keep them under a strong growlight.  It takes about 10 days for a great crop which can be harvested with scissors.

Stay tuned for more regular updates as we get into the growing season!

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