Spring Farm Update:Sorting out Seedlings

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Am I the only one overwhelmed when the seed packets start rolling in and I am counting backwards from my last frost date and again from when the ground can be worked and then again from the maturity date? No, I didn’t think so.

I am a pretty basic gardener having fed my family from our garden for over 25 years in a combination of zone 5b, and 6a. It doesn’t really get very cold here in the winter on the southwest tip off Nova Scotia but we have our own challenges: loads of wind, high humidity, and cooler temperatures in the summer that makes tomatoes and peppers challenging.

Despite our challenges, we grow quite a bit in 4000 sq ft

Right now inside, I have onions, leeks, shallots, kale, lettuce, cabbage, and beets started from seed. Onions always look so pitiful however I am trying cluster planting by Charles Dowding this year. The theory is to plant in clusters of 5 seedlings and when transplanted two will push outwards to be used for early crop onions, and the other three will keep pushing outwards as they mature, increasing yield and decreasing effort. I love it so far, and if you have ever planted 250 little blades of grass that are onion starts you will understand my new passion for this type of planting.

I also have never started beets inside before, as I have always direct sowed them into the ground as soon as the ground can be worked in April. But here I am, starting beets inside. I may be an old dog but I have nothing against learning new garden tricks. It keeps me young.

Today it is a rainy mess and it will be for the next few days. so tomatoes, and peppers, will be sown today and other seedlings divided and thinned, which hurts my heart a little always….I mean, I don’t love you any less, little kale seedling, but you just aren’t the best of the bunch…its not me, it’s you.

In the cold frame, my grandson Owen and I planted all the cool plants according to him: kale, spinach, lettuce and carrots. All are germinating nicely, and received a top dressing of worm casing compost this week.

Outside, for the in ground garden we are cleaning up a few shade trees and tidying up the beds. Rhubarb is coming up nicely, as are chives, sage, garlic and asparagus. I found some soft neck garlic that overwintered and decided to split it and transplant. The chickens looked on enviously through the necessary chicken wire. They are banned from this area till October.

Rhubarb received a top dressing of wood ashes this spring.
I just used the last of the dried chives so that is perfect timing, Mr. Chive Plant.

In the market garden, we are getting ready to till, and add compost. It is the first year so I am anticipating a heavy weed load. I am going to use the no dig method in the future but this land hasn’t been farmed for many many decades. I rotated the chicken tractor on it last year so it would add valuable fertilizer. Hopefully, we have a great first season. It helps that my bar is low. I’m realistic but hopeful.

Chicken wire is my friend

The piglets come on Monday for the pasture and I will be doing meat hens to sell as well as raising some turkeys for our own use. April is the start of many beautiful things on the farm. We have lambs due shortly and we have a silkie sitting on eggs for baby chicks. I’m ready for all these beautiful things to happen and I will be checking in often on the blog. Make sure you subscribe to get farm updates. The blog is getting a makeover over the next few weeks but this is also the place you will see when we have farm products ready for sale. I don’t want you to miss anything, so hit that subscribe button, I won’t abuse it and you won’t regret it. Promise:)


Jenn xx

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