Monday, March 14, 2011

Things are Growing....

Yes, indeed, with the Spring Equinox coming up, there is a primeval tug on everyone and everything...time to start waking up, time to start growing, time to start moving! The geese have returned to our neighbourhood and all the birds are more vocal as they prepare for their spring concert ;)

While Nature continues here as she has for year after year, many of us are watching the tragedy unfolding on the other side of the world, in Japan . We can only hope and pray that some sort of balance will be restored there once more. The loss of life and physical upheaval is so staggering - we should all focus on sending our healing thoughts and prayers to that corner of our Earth. Please do what you can...

As mentioned in my last post, we have been really enjoying my birthday gifts. The sprouter has grown everything from alfalfa (mild and crunchy), to radish (very, very peppery/sharp) to a salad blend (still growing).

I sprouted some wheat seeds of our own, then when I saw how quickly the roots were developing, I transplanted the whole mat to a pot. This way, I can get several cuttings of the green shoots and make wheat grass juice. The first "harvest" yielded a meagre ounce of juice, but when I added an apple to the juicer, it made a glassful for me to share with Ralph! It tastes a bit like licking the lawnmower, so maybe a few more fruits blended in with the next one ;) There are some sunflower seeds on the go now, too, which I think I will transplant onto some soil as well, so I can get some larger, juicy sunflower sprouts (my absolute favourite!)

Some of the seeds I purchased last month are now growing, too. It is SO exciting to see that little shimmer of the green seedling, pushing it's way up. I used a variety of growing containers: peat pellets (which expand when hydrated) are great for plants I know I will be transplanting, such as tomatoes, a soil-less growing medium in larger trays or peat containers for my basil, leeks, onions and stevia . I'm really looking forward to growing the stevia, will keep my fingers crossed that the tiny sprigs of green that have just germinated will grow into healthy plants. The trays all needed to be covered to help with the germination, so I used the large plastic boxes I buy my organic greens and spinach in as lids for plastic rectangular storage containers - it works well. Now, our windowsills are starting to get filled up with trays of seedlings ;) Here are some fledgling heirloom tomato plants.

They may look tiny now, but in a few weeks, they will be ready to transplant to larger pots and I'll update with a new picture!

Ralph has also been preparing for spring planting. Last summer, he grew some beautiful varieties of open-pollinated field corn. When it was mature, he walked his fields and hand-selected the cobs he wanted to save for seed for this year. He recently acquired a cob sheller that removes the seed from the cob - pretty slick! Here are some pictures to show it at work. I have been using some of this corn when I grind grains (wheat, flax, rye) for baking our bread every week. It adds a delightfully sweet smell and flavour to the bread.

Well that's about it for this update - I would love to hear about your spring plans, whether you're tapping maple trees (like my Maine friends ;) or still pondering the seed catalogues. I'll leave you with a quote by Robin Williams, the actor and comedian:

Spring is Nature's way of saying, "Let's party!"


  1. Great post. I am actually, don't tell Wendy, looking forward to wandering the woods insearch of the first spring green to forage. I am very nearly giddy ... although the forests still have knee deep snow in them.

  2. That takes me back to last spring, when Richard and I went into the woods to get some wild leeks. We had to push away some late snow in spots, had muddy knees, but lots of ramps, aka wild leeks :D Earlier today,I was looking forward to sitting by the edge of the creek in our woods, in the afternoon sun...soon ;)