Pre-Spring Season In the Greenhouses!
Have you ever wondered about a farmer's preseason? I used to believe it was a time of reprieve, a time to warm up after the cold winter and prepare for the hot summer, until I became a farmer myself! Now I see that the hard work never stops on a small farm.
In November and December, we are busy with post-season clean up, intermixed with growing hydroponic greens for the market and packing winter CSAs. The tomato vines are clipped and composted, greenhouse floors are scrubbed and swept, and the tool shed is finally organized. In January, we begin setup for the summer season: building benches, assembling irrigation, and repairing machinery. Though, this winter was different than others. Lugging a tiny human around sure made things a bit more difficult, and a lot more entertaining.
In February, the real fun begins - planting season! I know I'm certainly not the only one who finds absolute satisfaction sowing a seed and watching it burst through the soil to meet the light a few days later. Flowers for the plant sale are seeded earliest to provide beautiful blooms as soon as May arrives. Varieties we will take cuttings from, like Geraniums and Calibrachoa, are even seeded in December! Tomatoes and peppers we use for production are planted at the end of January to ensure we can start harvesting as soon as possible. Herbs are also interspersed around this time. Our seed packets are organized by which week they need to be planted so that all seedlings will be available for the plant sale at the same time.
By March, one heated greenhouse is half full with seeded flats, while the other half still supplies some of our winter crops like celery and kohlrabi. By the end of the month, every available space will be covered in tiny, growing plants! In April, we finally begin to see some sunlight, feel that warm breeze, and no longer have to thaw the hoses, and that means moving into our summer season greenhouses. We take this month to pot up every seedling and haul it into the adjacent greenhouse where it can slowly adapt to the Colorado climate. This year, we have planned to grow over 24,000 plants for the spring plant sale. We may be in over our heads, but we are more than ready for the challenge!
There's no better time on the farm than in the spring. All of our moods are lifted as we enter longer days, feel warmer soil, and see growth happen right in front of our eyes. Rest assured, if you have pre-ordered plants for your garden, they are being pampered as you read this!