The Milkweed Diaries

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Our first tailgate market of the season was yesterday afternoon, and it was fabulous.

I harvested greens all morning while Christopher washed and prepped produce, dug spring garlic, and loaded the truck.

It's nice to feel like all of the gardening madness is coming to fruition a bit already, with so much food coming out of the hoophouse and kitchen garden beds that we had a bountiful offering at the market.

We sold out of pretty much everything, and loved connecting with the other vendors, friends, dogs, babies, and customers. A cheese and scallion scone from the Herban Baker with a dollop of Wild Ramp Goat Cheese from 3 Graces Dairy topped off the day.

More photos of our spring harvests are on our farm facebook page.

Today the rush continues: after I squeeze in a little non-farm work this morning, I'll be back at it in the garden, planting potatoes, giving all of the seedlings a little fish emulsion/kelp snack, potting up perennial herbs for the herb festival, and watering, which is a monumental task at this stage with all of the thousands of thirsty plant babies in the hoophouse. But yesterday it was nice to pause and reap the rewards.


Spring Garlic

Heirloom lettuce by the head

Spring mix

Kale and Stinging Nettles

Spicy Mustard Greens

Friday, April 16, 2010

Deep In the Thick of It

The season of spring busyness continues!

After a week of cramming in farm and garden work in between taxes, grant reports, and meetings, the next three days are all about the garden.

Genovese Basil seedlngs perched above French heirloom lettuces

Arugula and Mizuna

Today I'll be trellising heirloom blue-podded shell peas (Blauwschokkers, to be exact), planting Red of Tropea onion seedlings (beautiful Italian heirloom red bottle onions that we started from seed back in February), building a bed for brassicas and shallots, pinching flowers off of all of the winter greens that are trying to bolt, cutting potatoes into chunks for planting tomorrow, potting up sorrel plants and Canturbury Bells for the herb show, and watering everything. The watering of everything takes about an hour a day at this point, which is entirely inconvenient but essential.


There are thousands of baby plants growing in the hoophouse, on our porches, on our kitchen counters, tucked into every available cranny. Winter-planted lettuce is growing to gargantuan proportions in the unheated hoophouse, spinach and beets are doing their slow and steady thing, chard and collards are kicking out the jams. In other words: it's Spring! Plants are doing what they do best in Springtime: putting on some serious growth.

Italienischer lettuce

This goes for all plants, including the plethora of weeds and wild plants that are sprouting up everywhere I look. Some of these wildsters I'm happy to see: beautiful medicinal agrimony, nourishing dandelion, prolific creasy greens, medicinal nettles. Others I have a love-hate relationship with -- blackberries, lambsquarters, wild onions. I'm grateful for their gifts of food and medicine but I'm tired of pulling them out of my lettuce beds. So I pull some and leave some and turn loose of the ridiculous notion that I can control the force of nature that is plant life.

It's a good metaphor for life in general for me these days - I'm deep in the weeds, best to just take a bite here and there and relish the chaos!