Friday, March 29, 2013

Springing Forward with New Offerings

(Hickory Hurst Farm, summer, 1920)
Spring has arrived, but Old Man Winter still graces us with his snowy mantle.  Signs of spring are subtle.  Robins peck at the divots on the exposed slope of the Squash House this morning.  By the size and quantity of divots, I'm guessing skunks or opossums foraged for insects last night.  Tulip and daffodil leaves crest above the soil while the lilacs' leaf buds begin to swell.  The sun's higher position in the sky warms the greenhouses more quickly and sends the rosemary (in the hoophouse) into a growing frenzy. 

Spinach and lettuce nears harvest in the high tunnel greenhouse.  Grayon the cat and I trek to the greenhouse to water the greens as the ducks and Canada geese accompany us with their honking.  Flats of cut flower, herb, and vegetable seedlings outgrow the quarters in the house and await their transfer to the little greenhouse within the next couple of weeks.  Yesterday my dentist inquired why I had not made the snow disappear; I replied that I'd had poor communication with Old Man Winter. 

The past two winters pale in comparison to this year.  Ice fishermen grumble over thin ice and neighbors shudder at the mention of snow.  We start the premise of an early spring when we begin sowing seeds indoors in mid-January.  A sagey aroma fills the house from the herb seedlings and grow lights cast their shadows.  The sowing-transplant saga continues until early May when we harden off the seedlings for planting in the gardens, field, or greenhouse.  In the mean time, we're itching to get outdoors and get things planted. 

This year brings some new and expanded offerings at our farm.  We'll have a wider selection of greens, including collards, Mizuna, and Asian greens, as well as more kale, lettuce, Swiss Chard, and spinach.  We'll continue the heirloom tomatoes, growing different cultivars and varieties this year such as Chalk's Early Jewel, Black Sea Man, Green Zebra, and Bean's Yellow Pear.  Due to popular demand, we'll have more banana peppers and more lavender will be available in late summer for drying.  The cutting garden at the Squash House (behind the farm stand) returns this year with a wider variety of cut flowers for make-your-own bouquets.  We'll also be posting more recipes on this site, at our farm stand, and at the Chautauqua Farmers' Market as time permits. 

By the way, visit our farm's new mobile web site at  We welcome your comments and questions.  Happy Easter!

Marcy, Guardian of the Woodpile