We are almost to February and our ancient witch hazel tree is now fragrant and in full bloom, covered in cheery yellow tassels. Snowdrops along the pathways are also showing color, and the early daffodils are poking their heads up for a peek at the sun as well. In the evenings, we are finishing up orders for seeds, including plans for more bare-root fruit trees in our new orchard, plus seed potatoes and a new variety of purple asparagus to try. (Read more on this fascinating vegetable below.)
We are also readying this week’s delivery: in addition to seasonal winter fruits and vegetables, your box will feature a rustic roasted squash soup, a healthy multigrain seed loaf and handcrafted ravioli. (Don’t forget: you can plan ahead by viewing the full contents of your box now, plus preview our recommended recipes for the week.)
In the garden we are taking advantage of this unusual dry spell to add another layer of rich compost to the new garden site we have been prepping for the coming growing season. All of the straw bedding and manure that we clean weekly from the barns is composted and then used to enrich the soil in both the orchard and the vegetable beds. (In this case, we like when @#*& happens!)
Asparagus is generally grown from roots called crowns that are shipped in damp sawdust while dormant in early spring. It is very important to spare no effort in preparing the soil correctly for asparagus, as the plants will stay productive for up to 20 years. It takes three years for the plants to mature enough to allow us to harvest a spring crop.
The wild cottontail rabbits that live here can be spotted again nibbling along the pathways. Soon we will have to close all of the garden gates when we plant our new crop of spring peas.
Funny story: When we planted vegetables last spring, we inadvertently fenced a mama rabbit and her new babies inside the garden! Their snug little burrow was hidden under the straw mulch covering the newly-planted potato patch. We were puzzled for some time why the new cucumbers were nibbled to nothing, but then one day the answer presented itself when we happened to spy one the culprits popping its tiny head above the straw.
Needless to say, we will be a bit more watchful this year when we close the gates and make ready for spring.