I found myself lingering in the Greenhouse with its 17C today. There's not much to do in there ... yet. I check in every now and then to make sure mice haven't moved their families into some warm cushy corners. We try not to have closed drawers or folded covers stacked up or they'll just get as comfy as can be and start eating our produce. A couple of winters ago I watched a bold-faced mouse or vole or shrew (whichever) chew down on the carrot tops as if they'd been planted for his consumption alone. Silly critter.
We did seed inventory last week. I've attached a picture of our seed saving method - hooray for garage sales to pick up tupperware, particularly if the garage sale seller is a past-tupper-lady.
I have now ordered all seeds for the 2016 Day Brighteners Farm gardening experience. They'll be here next week. Then the heat mats, grow lights, shelves upon shelves and some space in the greenhouses will be occupying my time. It's confirmed we'll be supplying Wilf & Ada's Diner with hot peppers again this year. In March I'll make my way up to Make It Green in Kanata to pick up onion and shallot sets. In the meantime, I'll be starting little green onions from seed very very soon. Greta's Organic Gardens will supply me with rosemary plants, rosemary is almost impossible to grow from seed - my experience anyway. I hate to jinx it, but the rosemary we put into pots in the greenhouse and in the house are still doing okay,
Speaking of jinxing, it seems whenever I tell you how many eggs we're getting, the egg production goes down drastically. We were getting 3 1/2 dozen a week for the last month, of course using them over the Christmas baking season, and now we're getting about 2 or 3 a day! And that's if I get out there to bring them in before they freeze. These cold days find me putting on many layers of warmth about every hour to replace the girls' iced water buckets with fresh warm water containers. We do have a heated water bowl in the Coop, but once the girls go out to the Pen, they - um - forget that there's water inside. Did you think chickens are smart? Not so much. I've learned that water is vital to chickens, almost more than food. Without water they can't lay eggs and it doesn't go so well for them after that.
And oh yes the Salad Greens, they have mostly survived. I think I expect too much from them. I planted the seeds in the warmer weather, the seeds germinated, I watered regularly all Fall up until last Thursday when it was mild enough to get water from the outside tap. Now it seems they want me to keep that up - really. So, I covered everything up with frost blanket yesterday, which blocks out about 10% of the light, which in turn takes things longer to grow, but if they stay alive, that's a good thing. I seeded some ruby streaks mizuna in a tray before Christmas, see pic attached, and will toss these into the Salad Greens for some added zesty flavour.
The perennial Herbs, sage and thyme, are doing great, I use them every other day. The basil I seeded before Christmas is doing well and I'll be up-potting the little plants in a few days so we'll have full-fledged basil plants (think pesto) in several weeks. See photo of cute little basil-ettes attached.
It looks like it'll be a bomby -7C tomorrow so I'll pick as much edible greenery as I can. So it's on the menu, but I make no promises as to volume - what can I say - it's January. I was out picking leeks on the very warm Monday this week, got really wet and really muddy. I was chilled right through to my bones, but now have leeks for us. I had to leave a couple of rows due to depth of water between the rows and not having my wading duck hunting boots handy. And my cold hands said "enough is enough already".
Here's what's good for us this week: