On our afternoon walk today, I noticed something strange, something you usually do not see this time if year in our Northern part of the country... grass. Yes, it was grass! I know my friends on the Eastern part of the country will be cursing me with their arctic temperatures and never-ending snowfall, but over here things are heating up. There was actually a warm-ish wind. I was not even wearing mittens. And suddenly it dawned on me, that Spring is right around the corner.
Now, any local would tell me I am nuts and the minus thirties will be back before I know it, but I think Spring is only a few weeks away. And that means it is time to get a few things started for the ol' summer garden. Last year, I was frantically trying to locate a few items for free (of course) off of Kijiji at the last minute, and this year I will not be caught off guard. Seeds have been ordered, so I can cross that off the list, but there is still a lot more to do.
Don't worry, I am not so optimistic that I will be planting any seeds in the ground in this weather, but there is still a fair bit that I can get started with.
Mushrooms. Last night I ordered some mushrooms plugs so I can inoculate some logs to grow our own mushrooms. I ordered shiitake and blue oyster mushrooms. I can attest that blue oyster mushrooms are delish from when I ordered some for Cam for his birthday, that we grew indoors. If all goes well, we should get four to five pounds of mushrooms per log. I will be sure to place an update on their development come late Summer. If they don't work, the post will be brief. Some will be kept in our urban backyard and the rest will be started in our food forest in Vavenby.
Compost. Next on the list will be to turn the compost. Sounds easy because it is. All you do is get in there with a pitch fork and mix it all up. I just need to do it now that the weather it warmer. And hope it will be ready to go in a few weeks.
Soil amendments. As mentioned before, our poor soil in our front garden beds needs to be improved. I am hoping to find all natural soil amendments, so I will be looking for some old/rotten horse manure on Kijiji to beef it up. I will also add in some leaves from last Fall and some compost (if it is ready). I am debating adding in some vermiculite and peat moss, but I will see how things look once I mix in the natural goods first.
Seedling soil. I will also start to purchase some soil and vermiculite for my seedlings. Not having the right soil when you are starting off your little babes can mean they can rot or dry out quickly. And with my plan to have the biggest harvest yet this year, I will need to do everything I can to improve their chance of survival.
Trees. Another item on our to-do list is to order some fruit trees and nut trees for Vavenby. We already have six apple trees down there, but we hope to get a peach, apricot, plum, pear, and cherry tree. Vavenby is in a hardiness zone of six, so we are hoping they will all do well in that climate. I also want to find a variety of tea tree so my hot beverage needs will be completely satisfied by my growing talents. Cam also wants to plant some walnut and maple trees for their wood. We will need to put our tree order in soon. I better get on that. We know that the best time to plant a tree was ten years ago, so we are just trying to get a head start.
Bees. The last thing on the list is to read up on bees. Cam really has his heart set on getting bees one day. I would like to do it this year, but he wants to make sure they will be healthy and have a good chance of success, and if we can not check on them regularly, than that may be the case (I am not sure it would be fair to ask a house sitter to mind our bees). He is so practical. So I am reading through our many homesteading books on bees, and trying to inform myself so I can weigh in. He has already read all there is to know on bees, so he will probably win this one.
I am getting excited about the upcoming growing season. Almost twitter-pated. I look forward to trying the new varieties of plants I ordered, watching the little seedlings grow, and putting to practice all the lessons I learned last summer. Let's cross all of our fingers and toes and hope the arctic frost does not head back this way.