Monday, February 23, 2009

Herb Seedlings Started Today & Winter Sprouting

We planted herb seeds for this season a few weeks ago, and are on round two today. Basil (four varieties), sage, thyme, lavender, marjoram, fennel, coriander, parsley (both curled, and Italian), rosemary, marigold, anise hyssop, and NEW this year Stevia! Many herbs take a few weeks to even germinate, let alone the amount of time these slow-growing plants take to become actual sturdy seedlings. If all goes well, we should have more than 500 herbal seedlings ready by May - many of these will go into our gardens, but most will be for sale during our May long weekend seedling sale.

Greg planted greens (lettuces, Asian greens, kale, chard, spinach) in our greenhouse last week, and the coldframe greens are already several inches high. With the low light levels of winter and the cold, these greens don't grow much - we would have to heat with wood or electric sources, both of which aren't available right now. However, by March-April we'll be back to eating fresh greens and daily salads. For now, I'm doing a regular weekly hydroponic sprout garden, rotating through cress, arugula, spicy lentil mix, salad booster mix (alfalfa, radish, red clover), as well as some greens in soil (sunflower, chives, wheatgrass, cilantro sprouts) so we get tasty fresh greens packed with nutrition this way during the cold months.

Our chickens also love getting a few handfuls of these sprouts too, if we care to share them. They have been spoiled by us with greens, as we've lately been getting kale at the grocery store for them! (after our winter kale garden supply was depleted). Of course, we still feed them shredded carrot, compost veggie scraps, stale bread, sunflower seeds, and their usual layer crumbles and scratch grain, but they do love any fresh greens the most! A few days ago, when we had a bit of a warm spell, the hens were all out about the yard, pecking excitedly at anything slightly resembling a green shoot (even wilted leftover greens from last year's garden). They are longing for spring weather, though don't seem too phased by the snow - they trek around with snow upto their ankles and venture around their small yard when it's sunny.

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