It was nice yesterday so I went to work. Planted about 100 lettuce seedlings in a hoop house. It was a hodgepodge of varieties-lollo rosa, cracoviensis, marvel of four seasons, Amish deer tongue, forellenschluss and Simpson green leaf. All heirlooms. They should be ready to harvest in 35 to 40 days. Just about right for the first regular season Farmers Market.
Planting lettuce in a hoop house on a sunny day is hot work. I was dripping sweat in minutes and realizing a long sleeved t-shirt and jeans was way too many clothes. But I did not want to get naked (Eugene was okay with the idea, though) so I sucked it up and dripped on the seedlings while I dug my hands in the warm damp earth planting cube of lettuce after cube of lettuce. once in the ground we gave each plant a hit of kelp/fish solution and put up #9 wire hoops and than a layer of row cover over top of them.
After that was done I went in for lunch and did some business with Miami University which is getting into supplying local foods to their numerous dining facilities. they have a local foods dinner coming up next week and needed root vegetables so we have sold them all our remaining taters, rutabagas, parsnips and about half of the leeks we still have in the ground and a dozen heads of garlic. After that we will pretty much be done with our winter vegetables. that is as it should be, it's spring after all.
The afternoon was spent cleaning and mulching the asparagus and Eugene pruning the two big and unkempt apple trees. I hate heights. No let me rephrase that, I am terrified of heights. So I don't do ladders or getting up on roofs or things of that nature if I can avoid it. That means if the tall trees are gonna get pruned Eugene has to do it. Fortunately he seems to enjoy climbing around in trees with saws and cutter. More power to him.
I stayed on the ground and spent the afternoon yanking dead asparagus canes out of the ground and putting them into a pile. I really should have worn gloves as the things will give your hands a lot of tiny cuts. I knew that going into the job and yet I went with naked hands and now regret that decision. Cleaned up 6 50' beds than went in to wash the cuts on my hands and rub them with shea butter. My hands were really sore, not so much from the cuts (though those did and do hurt) but muscle soreness. I had to do some serious yanking on some canes and my hands were not used to that kind of abuse (but they will get used to it soon enough). The shea butter helped my hands a bit and I went back to the garden to finish the job by digging up some of the perennial weeds which was not all that much fun with sore hands and heavy waterlogged soil. But I got many weeds extracted and than started cutting open bales of organic straw and spreading it on the 6 beds occasionally picking out thistle down and entire flower heads. This is a hazard with using certified organic straw-there tends to be a bit of thistle seed in it but with my sharp eyes I can usually get 95% of it out. I really do not want to get a thistle problem in the asparagus beds if I can help it so it pays to be alert when using the Filbrun's straw.
Got done with the mulching around dusk and picked some tiny heads of lettuce that overwintered under a row cover and were basically forgotten and assumed dead. They were not dead and quite delicious. And it looks like they will grow into nice sized heads of marvel of four seasons and buttercrunch. I also found a patch of cilantro that made it through winter and should get nice in the next 2 or 3 weeks. went back to the house and star fed the dogs than made dinner of brats from the Filbruns hogs and the lettuce and some scallions we over wintered. A locally grown meal except the buns and condiments.
Took a long hot shower and rubbed my now very sore and swollen hands with arnica, watched Lost and went to bed. Over night the arnica did wonders to my hands and today they are hardly sore at all. It's amazing stuff.
It was a good way to usher in the vernal equinox