Paring Down for Spring


Doing some paring down these last couple days.  Yesterday, I cleaned out what was left in the deep freeze downstairs and unplugged it.  Freezer burn got to a few packages of veggies, so I thawed them, threw them in the blender, and fed them to the worms.  The good stuff got packed into the upstairs freezer to be eaten.

This morning I consolidated the cell-packs of seedlings and dumped the soil out of the red onion cells that didn’t germinate (a lot, unfortunately).  But, it will give me some room to start some new things–cabbage, perhaps, and broccoli and chard.  Though it’s not the ideal moon phase to start more seeds, it’s hard to keep myself from doing it.

The rest of the red onions seeds left in the pack will be direct-sown once the weather warms up a little–maybe even next week.  The hardy ones will survive, and I can thin and transplant them into the gardens at the farm or keep them here at home.

The yellow onions and leeks got a haircut to keep them from getting too floppy, and I chopped and ate some of those thinnings on my lunch today.  YUM!  Fresh anything right now seems like a miracle!

Started running a fan on the seedlings as well–they need a little more airflow to both prevent disease and grow stronger stalks. A few of the eggplant seedlings are popping up now under their greenhouse dome–no sign yet of the peppers.

I’m going to start celeriac in cell packs today after realizing I’m not going to be direct-sowing in “early March” as the packet suggests. I’m not a huge fan of celery, but celery root rocks my world.  Too, I am going heavy on the root veggies this year in order to have more winter storage crops.  The “Large Prague” celeriac is going to vie with leeks for first-in and last-out status at 110 days to maturity.

I do still have a bag of beets in my crisper drawer and a few carrots left in there, too.  Some of those beets and purple carrots are going back in the garden this spring to make seed for a fall 2009 or spring 2010 crop.  Another part of my mission this year is to work on saving seed from biennials.

It’ll be awhile before I taste tomato sauce again (unless it’s mixed with pressure-canned ratatouille or tomato soup)–I cracked the last jar of plain tomato sauce two days ago to add to a black bean soup.  I think I still have one container of pureed tomatoes in the freezer, and I know I have a bag of dried tomatoes, too, so I won’t be completely tomato-less.

On order from Florida (the only place I could find it), is a natural hemp oil glycerin soap base.  My dear friend Jen, who is now stationed with the Peace Corps in Swaziland, taught me how to make my favorite soap recipe of hers (Hemp, Hemp Hooray!) before she left.

With only one bar left besides the one in the dish, it’s time to get on that.  I’ve got dried calendula blossoms in the freezer to add to the mix, and will probably add the usual rosemary oil for scent. I’ve got a few of Jen’s soap molds to use, though I am tempted to make a “loaf” and cut it into bars.

We’ll see how my first solo attempt at soap-making goes–I’d like to make it with my son if he’s still here when the glycerin arrives–just the kind of science project he likes. If I get good enough, I may even try selling a few bars at the farmers market this year, though I’ll admit I’m a terrible soap-hoarder, so it might be hard to part with many bars–maybe just a few to pay for materials.

Well, “Down to Panama” to start the celeriac.  At least it’s marginally warmer today.  Next week’s weather looks positively glorious!

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Hey, could you clarify on the beets and carrots in your crisper? You’re not saying they can be replanted in the garden to make seed, are you? (Sorry for the bone-headed question, but was puzzled by the sentence.)

  2. Posted by flyingtomato on March 14, 2009 at 9:25 am

    Kelly–

    Yes–carrots and beets are biennials. If you have a good, local carrot or beet (or celery root or parsnip) in your crisper or root cellar at the beginning of the next season, you can plant the root, and it will send up foliage, flowers, and make seed. Not sure if all roots are self-fertile or if you need more than one for pollination purposes, but I do have a reference book that’ll tell me that. Generally it’s better to have more than one of the same variety anyhow.

    One season I was dumping a bunch of smallish carrots in a compost pile by my rose bush as I was cleaning delivery bunches, and the next spring, some popped up and produced flowers and seed. However, in this climate, it’s much more likely you’ll be successful by bringing them in for the winter, so they’re sure to survive.

  3. So when we eat their roots the first year we plant them, we’re not letting them finish their cycle?

  4. Posted by flyingtomato on March 14, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    No, but don’t feel too bad for them. 😉

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