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Archive for February, 2009

Pea Planting

PSU student volunteers preparing bed for pea planting

Yesterday morning, after a good frost, the conditions surprisingly seemed right for putting in the sweet delights: sugar snap peas! Under the thin frozen crust, the soil was moist, warmer and not at all saturated with water, unlike most years mid-February.  In fact perfect for planting. It was fun to work with the 14 PSU students, warming up as we moved our bodies and engaged with the land.  We planted 350 ft, after innoculating them, of mostly Cascadia sugar snap peas, a dwarf variety reaching 30 inches and not requiring a trellis.   I also planted a small section snow peas, OR giant and sugar Pod II, also OSU bred varieties, as well as Mammoth snow and Little Marvel.  Within the next month I’ll plant more peas when conditions seem right.  Give a call if you want to visit the land and get involved!

3 rows of sugar snap peas

3 rows of sugar snap peas

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The ladies grubbin' in the newly cultivated pea bed

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Mid-winter, Imbolc Full Moon

Day’s continue to lengthen and the energy in the earth pulsates as we move into mid-late winter.  This morning I planted the first seeds of the year, storage onions and leeks. My four year old nephew Martin helped me and it was fun.  We put over 1,000 seeds of 4 varieties of onions into just one tray.  Onions and leeks can be started jammed close together and then once it’s time to transplant they need more space.  At transplanting time, when they are 2-3 inches tall, each plant is taken out and the roots will most likely have little soil around them.  It’s okay, they are tough .  Last year Kollibri and I threw them in a plastic bag in our bike trailer with a bunch of other tools to the planting site and they were fine after being battered around.  Today, we planted all long-day onion varieties: yellow of parma, rossa di milano, chipollini (yellow borettana), and early yellow globe and the leeks are giant musselburg and large american flag (yikes on the name!)

A couple weeks ago I biked around with Kollibri and Deva on his winter harvest day and learned a lot.  It was after a few nites of low 20 degree temperatures and winds.  Tah sai mustard is a lovely, mild green that rides through cold and snow like it’s golden.  The turnips were also so delicious and their green tops held up well.  Bittercress, the plant that when it’s going to seed, pops in the late summer, is coming up and is so refreshing. It’s in the brassica family and is nice and mild and peppery-a late winter gift.  Carrots tops have died back from the conditions but the root is perfect.

It’s still not too late to mulch your garden beds.  If you have any leaves around the yard, the earthworms and other life in the soil food web will benefit from the mulch and soils will retain nutrients that could be leached from rains (if we get any!)

I’m planting first pea round in the next week or so depending on if the soils stay dry enough and will be moving out to the trailer at the farm early March. That’s my update for now!

Lovena Farm, January 4th: what's left of the kale, nutria have been at them, cover crop on left and greenhouse

After Johnson Creek flooded, about 20 feet into the planting field

After Johnson Creek flooded, about 20 feet into the planting field

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