Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Perennials, Garlic, and Peas, Oh My!

Greek oregano, starting her new growth
There are some exciting goings on here at our small farm, y'all! Let's start with perennials.

Staying on the same land for consecutive years brings not only the gift of familiarity, but also the offering of perennials. Ahhh, perennials. These amazing little plants keep enough life in their roots to withstand our Midwestern winters, and as soon as the soil warms, they miraculously awaken. Their hardiness never ceases to amaze us.

This year they seem especially remarkable, as it's our first year seeing the resurrection of our own perennial herbs. There are truly few greater pleasures. Chives and oregano are already waking up from their months-long hibernation. With luck lavender, mint, and winter savory (among others) won't be far behind. As for perennial berries, strawberry plants will arrive in the next couple weeks, which we will plant and establish so that the CSA can eat, fresh, local, pesticide-free berries as soon as next spring and then for years to come. Perennials. Godsend. It's really as simple as that. 

In addition to perennials, we have our very first crop of garlic which is currently sprouting beneath its protective winter blanket of straw. Soon they will be poking their first leaves through toward the sunlight, before shooting up into the sky and turning into large, beautiful stalks. Garlic scapes will curl, signaling it is time to harvest these tender delicacies. And, underground, the garlic cloves will continue to size up as the season progresses. Life on the farm can feel magical at times. 

Maybe the most excellent of all the news is that we were able to plant spinach and pea seeds in the field about a week and a half ago, which is the earliest we've ever been able to get in the field in Illinois. Spinach and peas are notorious cool-weather plants, so the earlier we can get them going, the happier they'll be, and the more ready they'll be for the first CSA share in mid-June. We've got two different varieties of spinach and two kinds of deliciously sweet snap peas waiting to sprout out there.

Despite the unknowns that we, and all farmers, face each season, the gifts of perennials and garlic make the spring feel hope-filled and a tad more secure. They are life in a barren field. We hope you'll come and take part in the bounty we speak of! Nab a share here, friends.