Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rosemary, chives and more

It's about this time of year, even in the cold heart of Alberta that growers are gearing up for the coming growing season. Sometime around mid February, when days start getting longer than 10 hours, there's enough light for plants to start growing vigorously. Of course, we still have the -35 to -40C nighttime temperatures to contend with. But in order to get some of the more difficult herbs and vegetables to produce in our 90-100 frost free days each year, we tend to find ways to get things started indoors. On the farm, we've started using Johns staff trailer to get his onions and our chives, thyme, oregano, pansies and lavender off to a good start. Unfortunately we're starting to lose sight of the floor. And so we've also been working with John on getting his heated greenhouse warm enough to grow in, which is certainly it's own challenge.

Even before that, Anna's mom was kind enough to let us take some cuttings from her Rosemary shrub back in B.C., where it's warm enough that it can actually grow into a full shrub. We've been slowly getting these cuttings to take root in the basement under a grow light. It can be pretty amazing how a plant will put out new roots with just a little encouragement from us. We took these cuttings at exactly the time of year we weren't supposed to take Rosemary cuttings, and had them sitting in a box in the fridge for a week before we stuck them in soil with a little bit of rooting powder, and still we've had about half of them root and start forming new leaves.

Now that March has come around, we're going to be getting into full grower mode, seeding new herbs and vegetables every week until summer.

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