The Violet Fern

Creating Art & Gardens


What’s Growing: Happy Spring, Sprouts

Happy Spring! Spring has officially arrived and my garden is officially declared a new mud wrestling rink so not much is growing outdoors – yet. Garlic is beginning to poke through and yesterday I noticed the first few buds of Rhubarb leaves. Mojo, my mud mop (dog), seems determined to squash anything in his path which does not include the walking path but of course, the main beds.

In my quest to have fresh food year round I purchased a sprouter kit, specifically the Bioset Seed Sprouter from Johnny’s. I am amazed! Within days, I have fresh sprouts to top off rice dishes, salads, crackers … you name it. I’m already on my second batch.

My kit came with a variety of sprouting seeds: broccoli, mustard, mung beans, radish and wheat off the top of my head. Usually I add a tablespoon of seeds in each tray (a chart is also included with measurements as to how many seeds are needed for each variety), stack the trays up and then fill the top reservoir with water. The water slowly fills up the top tray, then trickles down to the next, and finally ends up in a collection tray at the bottom which I then empty. I do this twice a day at least.

Within a couple days, the seeds sprout and fill out. I cannot describe their taste other than wow, zing! These do not taste like any sprouts purchased from the store.

My mushroom kit also shroomed WAY out. I should have probably picked the mushrooms a little earlier (they looked more like mushrooms a few days ago). They look funky now but I ate them anyway – yum! – also incredible flavor. It was dry here and they took a little longer to get started. The company I purchased them from, Back to the Roots, is great. I emailed them a picture asking for help as to why they were not growing and and received a response right away with tips to get them going.

They are Pearl Oyster Mushrooms. Next I’ll flip the bag to the other side for a second batch. Let’s see if I do a little better with this batch. Hopefully, I’ll have picture perfect mushrooms the second time around.

I have started Brassica seeds: Artichokes, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, and Cauliflower. I still do not have a grow light set up, but with temperatures so mild I am using the SUN. I figure the nearby Amish must start their seeds without grow lights, so can I! But I do hope to invest in a set up next year. I am excited to grow Artichokes. I really want to see one of those beautiful flowers. I’m not sure how to harvest Artichokes, will have to read up on that, but this year I will leaf over the Cauliflower heads. Any tips out there?

The newly sprouted seeds look strong and healthy and I hope to have them growing in the Potager soon. These transplants, when larger, should be okay with cooler temperatures. Next month I plan to start Kale, Spinach and Swiss Chard directly in the garden. Can’t wait!


What’s Growing: Mushrooms? Potager Plan for 2012

Well not much grows here in the North Country in February, or does it? The last of our Amish onions decided to grow, dirt or not.

For Christmas, I gave my husband a mushroom of the month kit.  I thought it would be fun to try growing our own mushrooms. We have been misting, misting, misting but so far no mushrooms though it does look like something is beginning to brew. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

One Rosemary is fairing just fine this Winter, the other not so much. And the herbs on the sill? The Parsley is growing through the curtain and I just noticed, is beginning to flower. The Cilantro is gone but we did cook with a good portion of it so I don’t consider it a failure. The Chives are just beginning to get going. Not the most beautiful or prolific winter window sill herb garden, but I’ll keep trying. The fresh herbs taste oh so good.

A little unnerving is that bulbs are growing in my garden, just ten minutes away from the Canadian border, in February. I am worried that these Daffodil and Crocus will be killed by a winter storm – the big winter storm all of us Northerners have been bracing ourselves for thinking, knowing, that Winter here just can’t be this kind. Secretly, I hope it is the earliest Spring ever because I just can’t wait. Apparently, neither can my bulbs.

What will be growing? I just finished ordering seeds and my Potager plan for 2012. New trials this year: artichokes, mini eggplant, scallions, stevia. I’m adding more flowers! Flowering vines to grow along side beans, cucumbers and peas, and some perennials to entice more beneficial insects and to leave as a winter retreat.

Next month, I hope to begin starting seeds indoors and also, sprouting seeds to eat!

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