It’s May now, and the days and nights are growing ever warmer. Sure, we’ll likely get a few more inches of snow before summer hits, but it won’t stick around for long! The roads are thawing and drying out. With such a rapid melt right now, water mitigation on the roads is vital to avoiding mushy, gooey roads and erosion. So every 2 or 3 days trenches need to be freshened and redefined to catch and ferry countless gallons of water off the roadways and downhill towards the nearest stream.
The pond is looking beautiful as ever, and we’ve already counted a good number of big, robust salamanders sunbathing in the evenings. We are hopeful that this bountiful little micro-biome can be replicated in many different areas, providing a refuge for our rare mountain amphibians and diversify the ecosystem. Not to mention help with water retention and irrigation potential!
The upper greenhouse has jumped us forward almost 2 months in the growing season. We just harvested our first round of radishes, which were crisp and tasty! The second round of radishes has already been seeded and will be another month before we can harvest the second wave.
The beets are looking stronger after some minor transplanting adjustments to space them properly in the grow beds. The lettuce, orach, spinach, bok choi, and other leafy greens are at their eating prime. The broccoli and onions are well on their way. The first crop of carrots and parsnips are leafing out nicely. Our first potato bed in the upper greenhouse is already lush with potato greens- the lower greenhouse potato beds haven’t sprouted leaves yet, but their shoots are just an inch or two away form the surface of their deep, fluffy mulch.
The raspberries, strawberries, grapes, asparagus, and kiwis in the upper greenhouse are in the early stages of leafing, all of them adjusting to their recent transplants. The currants, however, are thrilled with their new forever-homes in the greenhouse and have exploded in growth. The Mother plant (from which all others were cloned or split) flowered robustly already, laden heavily with thousands of fragrant yellow flowers. Hopefully my attempts at hand pollinating them was successful and we’ll see a bountiful currant harvest from the Mother Bush. I got this currant as payment for garden-sitting for someone about 5 years ago. Woohoo!
We’ve also planted ginger, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, peas, and a variety of culinary herbs that we eagerly await to surface. Amazingly, my first direct seeded zucchini is sprouted and well on its way! I seem to have a very cold hardy variety and am eager to refine it in years to come. The last crops that need homes are the grain crops. We are going to try our hand with short-season sorghum, amaranth, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, and of course our multi-generational landrace sweetcorn!
In this beautiful, warm, sunny weather we’re prepping and planting outdoor potato beds. We dig the earth deep, amend it with plenty of poop, border each bed with logs, and nestle our spuds deep under about a foot of fluffy hay, mucked from the animal pens. This keeps the chickens from rooting anything up and keeps the soil so well mulched that we rarely need to supplement water. Last year I shot for 500 pounds of potatoes but only achieved 200 pounds. With over 700 square feet of potatoes planted already, this year I anticipate we will come much closer to that goal, if not exceed it. Our first goal is to grow enough potatoes to not only feed ourselves with for a full year, but to have enough left over for re-planting the next crop as well. If we can succeed in that, excess potatoes will be used to supplement animal feed.
We’ve had a few other exciting things happen, for better and worse. I’ll try to make time to write about those soon!