Four weeks ago we started our first batch of seedlings in a friend’s greenhouse. We escaped the chill of a 17-degree afternoon for a balmy 60 degrees and surrounded ourselves with trays of emerging shoots and the promise of spring. Four weeks ago it was quiet in the greenhouse.
Yesterday we went back to a completely different scene. Our baby plants were “huge” and the greenhouse was bustling. I’m surprised that our farmer friend still generously lets us start plants in his space because my how his operation has grown over the past few years. Inside tables were completely full of plants, and dozens of trays had already been moved outside under row cover to “harden off.” As many as seven people were inside the greenhouse at once: transplanting peppers, starting tomatoes, watering, moving flats of seedlings. I managed to snap just a few quick photos when we first arrived (at the end of the lunch hour), before the hustle and bustle resumed.
We have a mini chamomile forest again (I can’t blame the girls this time; I seeded the chamomile plants myself!) as well as some new flowers that we’ve never grown before (Sweet Alyssum, Statice, Chinese Forget-Me-Not, Bells of Ireland). We brought home two trays of brassicas all ready to plant in our garden under row cover (kale, broccoli, and brussels sprouts), and so we’ve got our work cut out for us at home this weekend.
A month ago it was 60 degrees in the greenhouse but yesterday it was over 80! Ellen suggested that we take off our boots and go barefoot.
I have to pace myself in the bright light and heat (and I no longer care that my sunhat looks rediculous). Fortunately, the girls were a great help yesterday. They worked with me to make the soil blocks; write labels for the trays; and seed many varieties of tomatoes, basil, peppers, cabbage, cucumbers, parsley, squash, watermelons, pumpkins, sunflowers, zinnia, and cosmos — among others. All together we started another 400 baby plants. This is our third year starting seedlings in the greenhouse, and it has become a tradition that I look forward to all winter. So much of our garden begins here. We are so grateful to be welcome on Reid’s farm and to be part of a new growing season coming to life.