Every now and then I get on some rampage and call my friend Sharlee to inquire if I am crazy. She always responds, “Don’t make me answer that.”
Of late I have the spring planting bug: In December I buttoned up a hoop house with a double layer of six mil plastic. I had done a decent job of preparing the soil. I turned it over with a big shovel, added lime and compost and topped it with some well-rotted hay. On Saturday Marie and I lifted a corner of the plastic and found a warm inviting planting bed ready to receive. On Sunday afternoon we hauled all our onion and leek seedlings out of our home greenhouses into the little hoop house.
We also went crazy planting seeds: Lettuce, carrots, beets, kale, collards, spinach and radishes. We are anxiously awaiting their germination with a great deal of confidence. The soil was so warm: I’ll let you know how it progresses.
Don’t forget this Sunday afternoon is another gathering of the Homegrown group at the Agricultural Hall. All are welcome.
I received all my seeds from January’s wild ordering spree. They made a sizable pile on my kitchen table. I try to grow all the annuals for my customers as well as completely over-plant my own plots. I must admit it is my favorite time of the gardening year. All the packets are filled with hope before bugs, weeds and sheer exhaustion take their toll. I always think I can do anything at this time of year. Then I took a walk around the property and realized I had neglected to bring in several clay pots. Naturally, they had filled with water, frozen and promptly cracked. Honestly, live and never learn.
Oh well, I guess I’ll have plenty of broken crockery for lining the bottoms of new pots for drainage!
The hens have finally started laying a decent amount of eggs now that the light has changed for the better. I was questioning the wisdom of feeding them all winter for nothing.
I received a publication called The Small Farmer’s Journal. It is packed with helpful information. There are many articles about using workhorses. In the winter issue there was a great commentary on farmers’ markets. It brought into account the way the economy at large works as opposed to the hustle and bustle of a vibrant farmers’ market.
I enjoyed reading about the history of the Parisian market. The city of Paris has had a market for over a thousand years. Today it covers the same landmass as the principality of Monaco. Until 1969, known as Les Halles, the market operated in the heart of the city. Today it sits four miles outside the city limits near the village of Rungis. It has its own beltway, railway, banks, hotels, car rental stations and truck repair shops. It is an example of how independent produce and market ventures have come together with an economic vitality that arguably has shaped an entire nation to beautiful advantage.
Buyers arrive at two a.m. in droves and wander through acres of giant connection halls selecting meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables and flowers. Rungis feeds 11 million people in the Paris region as well as supplying markets and restaurants around the world. There is no limit to the number of farmers which helps hold prices steady. Prices sway but everyone benefits from the market truly being free and open. We need more farmers, more variety and more opportunity.
Like the rest of the planet I have been following the revolution in Egypt. How wonderful that the youthful demonstrators were able to take down an authoritarian regime so peacefully.