For many of the flower varieties that I grow (and some veggies), it takes weeks and weeks of growing in flats before the little seedlings are ready to be planted outside. Some can be seeded directly into the ground (or require it because they won't tolerate transplanting) but that extra time spent inside gives them a head start. That way they are ahead of the weeds and the weather which is especially important in our short growing season!
But all that pampering means a lot of time spent watering, removing their humidity domes and checking their position under the lights, moving them outside, and, most importantly, hardening off. If it isn't done right, it can mean their death as the outside temperatures, winds, and bright sun can freeze them, dry them out, and burn them.
And just like raising just-hatched chicks, most of your time is spent monitoring to check that it isn't too cold, too hot, too windy, too bright, or that they aren't too dry or sitting in too much water.
But once they are hardened off, they can handle most everything a Montana growing season can throw at them, they just need some spring training first and a helpful coach/farmer!
Leaving the landscape fabric down and the skeleton of the low tunnels up saves me a lot of time both setting up and taking down each year. And, leaving the plant material in until spring means I don't need to remove the landscape fabric and tunnel hoops and that the roots of those plants remain in the soil as a home and food for all the soil creatures, which means I see many more earthworms each spring than I do if I stripped it clean in the fall! Happy Soil = Happy Plant
Saturday brought snow flurries then sun, then more flurries, then more sun which meant I got some time to rest while the hens hid inside their huts.
The first special test fruit trees and vines have arrived! 3 different cherries, 2 different asian pears, and a smattering of raspberries. Hopefully they will be able to survive the summer frosts and we'll see over the next few years if they can fruit through those frosts as well! Time will, literally, tell.
Where to find it all?
Everything will be available again when Market Season starts the first week of May!
I'm Farmer Megan with a life full of cackles, clucks, quacks, weeds, crazy kitten, and one tiny, senior, blind dog.