November 11, 2021
The Lettuce Rejoice!
Firmly Rooted Farm's Newsletter for their Veggie Loving Farm-ily
On the Farm: Let it Snow (noooo!)
Hello again my veggie loving friends,
This is Tamara here this week.
Well it snowed. It snowed big, fat, heavy flakes that made the farm look like a snow globe. The trees took a hit, at least the ones that have stubbornly held on to their leaves through the fall: the hazels, the black locust, and the lilacs in particular. The ones that stand in the nude have embraced this situation with poise.
While we did manage to plant nearly 600 native shrubs, and over 3000 spring bulbs last Friday, there is still much to do. I look longingly at the asparagus patch, wishing we had mowed it, and squint at the beds I know still hold carrots under the fluffy white. Next week promises double digit temperatures and it’ll be a frenzy of muddy activity to get it all done.
Today I’ll strive to make use of the standstill on outdoor work, and work to make a dent in my seed order for spring. Global shortages of seed have rocked the market gardening world. It's a complex issue effected, like most things, by global supply chain disruptions, but also an unprecedented interest in at- home food production. In the 2020 lockdown many people found themselves at home, and in many cases, fearful of food shortages. What followed was an enormous round of panic buying that had folks ordering everything from baby chicks, to seed potatoes, to too many garden seeds. The incredible demand in 2020, follow by another banner year in 2021, will have long term effects on seed shortages. This is in part because seeds take a great deal of time to produce, multiple years in the case of biennials like beets, and cabbages. Throw in a surging population of pests, like the Lygus bug, which is causing catastrophic loss on organic carrot seed, and market gardeners have a problem.
Last year I placed my seed orders in December, this year I’m hoping I can at least get the “I don’t know how to farm without these” seeds ordered in the next two weeks.
My favorite seed company is Johnny’s Selected Seeds, followed by High Mowing. I always suffer a bit of a crises of conscience because these two companies are in the states. I love them though, because they do so much variety trialing and publish excellent growers’ resources, they are always introducing new varieties, and have a good selection of organic seed (in the case of High Mowing they only sell organic seed). They also employ area representatives that call me and ask what I need, and answer my truly esoteric questions. And they get me my seeds with enough time for me to actually plant them (this oddly isn't true of everyone). My favorite Canadian seed company is William Dam- I can’t say all the same nice things about them but they are great for home growers. This year I plan to work more with some smaller-scale local seed companies, like Hawthorn seeds, Terra Edibles, the Cottage Gardener, and Tourne Sol. For many years I was laser focused on crop disease resistance, uniformity, and yield, however there is a lot to be said about working with regionally adapted varieties, helping to maintain seed diversity, and supporting small scale seed companies, and hopefully being able to save some seed of our own.
I often forget that I like beets and then I have them roasted, in a salad, with goat cheese and nuts and it's all I want to eat. I hope you feel the same!
Enjoy! That’s all for now folks, happy eating until next time!