Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The greenhouse

I'm in the process of buying seeds for my greenhouse operation.  It is very time consuming.  Even though I have a catalog in place, there are always changes.  Last year I ran out of several red tomatoes.  Even though I am enamored of black tomatoes, and yellow ones with swirls of red, and my beautiful Poll Robeson Angollan, that looks like a perfect mahogany ball with a deep ruby interior, my customers, well, not so much. 

Some strains dropped out because there wasn't much demand, others because I got negative feedback, and some because I didn't like what I got in my own garden.  I grow out a minimum of three of each plant, and some of them just didn't cut it.  All of the replacements for those that are discontinued are RED.  I listen to my customers.

In addition, there were a few for which I couldn't find seeds.  Unless it was a perennial favorite, they got dropped.  However, Santa Clara Canner is a wonderful tomato, and I searched all over for it.  I finally found it in a catalog from somewhere in Canada.  I'm still waiting for the seeds, and getting a little nervous that they haven't yet arrived.

I have plenty of basil seeds.  One package contains somewhere between a gazillion and two gazillion seeds, so I'm good to go for several years.  My son is named in my will for those I don't get to in my lifetime.  Pepper seeds, unlike tomato and basil seeds, are not viable over very many years, and most of them are packaged 25 seeds to a packet.  So I had to order a lot of them.  I love hot peppers - love to grow them, look at them, eat them, cook with them and can them.  I gave each of my son's four children a jar of home canned hot peppers for Christmas.  Kate got the hottest ones, and she is delighted with them.

This year an intern will be working here.  Androo wants to learn more about biodynamic and sustainable farming.  He has joined the Walkerton Dairy Herd Association and will begin milking in a couple of weeks.  He wants to learn, but some thing we will be learning together.  I have not done "proper" compost heaps.  Organic standards are very stringent.  Part of it is that I don't have time and part of it is I lack the physical strength.  Androo is doing much research on compost, but I have insisted he keep a copy of the organic standards in view at all times.  If there are any conflicts, the organic standards win out!

I have one more seed order to post, then need to order my onion plants.  That will be one big task behind me.  Oh, and I ordered my chicks for this year.  I will be getting 55 day old chicks on June 3.  Hopefully I have learned enough this year that my losses will be smaller in the coming season.  Tashi is doing great, walked by chickens flying near her when we came in from chores this morning.  She did not even look at them, just looked at me and then walked to the back door.  I think we are making progress.  Now if I could teach Tashi to protect the chickens from the hawks.  There is always a new project awaiting me.

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