Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Spring Doings and Plannings

Some of y'all might be wondering what I'm up to. 
Some of y'all know what my plans are in general, and some are still in the dark because plans are still close to the vest.

So here are some general things that are going on. Some of you will know how these fit into my larger plan, and some of you will just have to be patient until I can reveal all.

I've got my spring garlic count! 90 made it through our harsh winter.  I lost some, in places where I didn't get enough mulch on top of them.  But 90 is still respectable. If I get 3 big cloves from all 90, planted this fall, that will be around 270 garlic plants up in 2015.  My crazy old lady co-gardener was surprised to see garlic in the plot this year. Most people around here are when I tell them what the plants are.  :-) It just means I'll have a monopoly on the market when the scapes are ready in June.  The scapes may be about all we eat or sell of this crop. Well, those and the smaller cloves I don't want to plant. This crop is meant to be the seed garlic for a larger cash crop next year.
My daddy asked me if there is a large market for Iowa garlic. I believe there is. My farmer friends at Coyote Run Farm, south of Des Moines plant something like a half acre of hardneck garlic every year. They have a picture of baby Rowen and I out for one of their garlic planting parties in 2009, so I know how much they plant. I know I will not be anywhere near that level. I also know they sell out every year.   The trick is nice big bulbs, and tasty varieties. Those two things are impossible to find in grocery store garlic. Get people hooked on the deliciousness that is locally grown hardneck garlic, and they'll never go back to the sad little grocery store garlic.

My cold frame performed well again this year, in all of its DIY glory.  The last frost date is this week, (and true to form for this spring, we have a frost chance for Friday) and my spinach has been producing like crazy since the beginning of May. Another week and we'll be buried in lettuce, some of which was also in the cold frame and is beginning to crowd out the last of the spinach.

My farmers market in town continues it's downward spiral.  This year the Chamber of "Commerce" has decided that it won't start until JULY 2nd!!  For fucks sake!  The other local markets are already starting, we went down to the opening weekend for Sioux City's market this past Saturday. And sure, it's no July market, but people were THERE! Vendors had greens, onions, eggs, meat, transplants and crafted goods. Customers were THERE! Why our Chamber thinks May and June don't deserve market times in our town, I don't know.  I strongly suspect it's because they are fucking morons.

Moving on. I've decided I will still register as a vendor and go in July-Oct.  I've also decided I'll start when I have the produce to start, and damn their official start date.  I'm making my own sandwich boards to offset the lack of city support for earlier selling dates. (Their limited support of the market includes signage along the main highway through town pointing motorists one block North to the market location.)  A big shout out to my dad, who brainstormed a bit with me on the sandwich boards. I got a start on them this past weekend, and my rusty woodworking skills came back to me. I even remembered to buy sandpaper and sand the boards before applying the primer. *high five* I'm making them really solid so they should last quite awhile. I'll be adding other things to my market stall this year. A scale is top of the list. I scored a big food-grade tray last year in a trade with a fellow market vendor, so that will find uses this summer. If I have enough of the chalkboard paint left when I'm done with my sandwich boards, I might make up some small boards for labeling prices/varieties of veggies.

In the fun news category, I'm signed up to run in another 5k this summer. The Color Run in Omaha in mid July.  I've been out jogging a few times this spring, in between the rains and storms. So far I'm running better than I did at the beginning of last year, much better. So, I didn't lose it all over the winter. Looks like this week might actually let me start the 3 times a week training that I did last year. If things go to plan I'll get to run with my younger brother, the ex-Marine. It sure would be nice to have a good time with him, it's been too long. And knowing that I'll be running with him will certainly keep the pressure on during my training.  Us two, competitive? ....yea.   :-D

So there's what's going on right now. We're keeping busy and holding on. How are things with all y'all?

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