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Spring Showers

April 2, 2010

Onion starts

It is raining today, it has been quite a bit this week, giving me a good chance to work here, inside. I made a few changes to the blog, a new “theme,” a few new pages, and finally, another post.

Carrots in hoop house

On February 2, I started planting seeds. First, it was carrots in the hoop house (an experiment to see how early I can get the first round of carrots). Then, onions, broccoli, kale, leeks, chard, fennel, cabbage, peas, lettuce, assorted chicories and greens, and a few herbs, all started inside, in the basement, under lights. (Sigh, I’m still dreaming of a greenhouse for starting all my seeds.) The first round of peas were planted in the other hoop house, the second and third outside. Beets are in the ground, though not up yet. The warmer weather  and long season crops are getting started: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, celery and celeriac (also under lights in the basement).

I have a new tool to help keep me on track with seed starting and planting: a massive spreadsheet from a workshop I took in January, Crop Planning for Diverse Plantings. The half-day class focused on the use of a very detailed spreadsheet for planning a season of crops. It was created by the instructor for use at one of the larger CSA farms in the area, but is useful even for tiny little gardens, like mine. I am trying it out, using the relevant parts, and hoping to keep myself on track, especially for successive plantings of things like lettuce. So far, so good. I just started the third planting of lettuce yesterday.

Cabbage starts

I found some other interesting classes to take after Crop Planning. The Oregon State University Extension Small Farms Program put together a Growing Farms series, for beginning farmers. Over six sessions, they gave on overview of what you need to know to farm in Oregon. I loved it! Topics ranged from the inspirational “How I got into farming,” to land use, water rights, labor, food safety, marketing, finance, soil and pest management, and insurance. Hard to cover all those topics in six sessions, even if they were five hours each. Several local farmers came to speak; they were some really amazing people. We were like groupies for these rock-star farmers. Yes, that was “we.” I even talked Steven into going with me, so he would hear all the same information and we could look at this market garden/farming venture from the same vantage point. It started some dreaming on our part: what if we could find ten or twenty acres? Could we farm as our main source of income? (No other income? Some of the farmers told us how much they earned in a year…) Certainly something we are thinking about.

I started another class last Wednesday, called Hands-On Organic Farming out at Gales Meadow Farm near Forest Grove. For the five sessions of this class, I am hoping to get some very practical how-to information to scale up my production and work more like a farmer than a gardener.  Tomorrow I head out to the Kennedy School to take a City of Portland Urban Growth Bounty class on beekeeping. I have been thinking about keeping bees for sometime. This class should help me decide whether or not to pursue it. Hmmm…maybe someday June’s Corner Garden honey.

Asian pear blossoms and a bee!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Karen permalink
    April 2, 2010 5:36 pm

    Hey Michelle,

    I think the blog looks beautiful. I’ve never gotten into the RSS stuff. I like the list of vegies and fruits in different size type. Your pictures are great – quite artistic I must say.

    I haven’t looked at the other aspects of the blog yet – spreadsheet etc. but may get to that.

    Well done!

  2. Eileen Parker permalink
    April 3, 2010 6:14 am

    Michelle….LOVE YOUR WEBSITE! I am sooooo impressed with all that you’re doing, learning, planning, etc. and the pictures are BEAUTIFUL!!! Maybe I missed it, (cuz it’s waaay early on a Sat morning, what am I doing up so early on my day off?) but do you have a page on your blog where people order produce? I know nothing about blogging, setting up a website or anything that requires knowledge of computer technology, so I am gee wowed by what you’ve done. Makes my heart happy to read about all the work you’ve put into June’s Corner Garden….GREAT JOB….MOTHER WOULD BE SOOO PROUD!!! Take care, hi to Steven and I’ll be looking forward to more on the blog! 🙂

  3. Linda Meng permalink
    April 3, 2010 11:10 am

    Hi Michelle,
    I love the website and blog. I don’t have any experience on how you put these things together but I am very impressed. I just say Keep it up!


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