After digging out our, very large, beds by hand to eradicate as much of the invasive weed (quack grass) we found everywhere . . . we planted like crazy.
We have been busy. SO busy I have been remiss about writing here. I promise to try to be better. It was a challenging start to our grow-to-donate farm but we have truly begun.
Everything is growing beautifully. We have already harvested tons of greens, salad, zucchini, peas, snap peas, kale, herbs, scapes, cabbage, broccoli and lots of flowers. So much more is on the way. We have started donating to local organizations including meals in a local church, summer lunch programs for children who don’t have enough food, and a group delivering directly to local families in need.
The onions, leeks, celery and celeriac are all growing away under the fluorescent lights. We are preparing our small unheated greenhouse for planting salad and kale late next week. I have learned soil-blocking. We have planted cabbage, and a bunch of flowers (Hollyhock, Bells of Ireland, Foxglove, Echinacea and some Stevia). We are adding an addition onto the chicken coop for brooding babies and as a chicky hospital when needed (not at the same time of course). Next up to plant are tomatoes and peppers in soil blocks
The snow continues to melt and some birds have returned. Spring is in the air.
The giving garden has officially begun. We plan to grow many of pounds of fresh, organic, and top quality, produce that we will deliver to the food pantries, schools and any place there are people in need in our area. Food insecurity affects one in four children in Maine and up to 17% of all households. Approximately 6-7% of all Mainers do not have enough food to eat every day. Maine is the most food insecure state in New England and high up on the list in the US. Lincoln County Maine, where we live, has a wide gap of rich to poor.
We aim to do what we can to help feed those in need and educate the community on how everyone can help by working towards solutions to hunger and poverty.
To start out we have planted onions, shallots, leeks, celery, parsley and celeriac in our indoor ‘greenhouse’ ie, metal shelving in the guest bedroom and T5 flourescent lighting. We do not have a heated greenhouse and we decided to plant here , in the house, to keep the seedlings close rather then have them in an exterior greenhouse off of the property.
The goal is to plant intensively for maximum yield in minimum space with healthy plants and soil. We have planted thousands of onions and hundreds of leeks, celery and parsley and just a little celeriac. All of these seeds fit in just 5 trays!
I have a very non-scientific mind and now all must be logged and recorded. It’s a whole new world for me and I am doing my best with spreadsheets and numbers.
As I adore variety I have chosen seeds from multiple seed providers and picked many different kinds of beautiful organic seeds.
Seed companies we use and recommend:
- High Mowing Seeds
- Botanical Interests
- Pinetree Seeds
- Baker Creek Seeds
- Seed Savers Exchange
- Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Seeds we have started with and where they came from:
(I love all of the names)
- Dakota Tears – High Mowing Seeds
- Cortland – Johnny’s
- Yankee – Johnny’s
- Walla Walla – High Mowing Seeds
- Talon – High Mowing Seeds
- Sedona – High Mowing Seeds
- Cabernet – Botanical Interests
- Geneva – High Mowing Seeds
- Red Baron – High Mowing Seeds
- Rossa Di Milano – High Mowing Seeds
- Calibra – High Mowing Seeds
- Conservor – High Mowing Seeds
- Tango – High Mowing Seeds
- Tall Utah – High Mowing Seeds
- Giant Red – Baker Creek
- Monstorpolgi – Seeds Savers Exchange
- Diamant – High Mowing Seeds
- Kings Seig – Fedco
- Tadorma – High Mowing Seeds
- Bandit – High Mowing Seeds
- King Richard – Botanical Interests
- Italian Flat Leaf – High Mowing Seeds
What is your favorite place to buy seeds?
We have been learning to save our own seeds and for our personal garden will be trying them out. Stay tuned for updates on all of the giving garden fun. And if you are around the MidCoast, we’d love to hear from you.
It was a productive, and cold, winter Sunday yesterday in Maine. I finally hunkered down and finished the Excel spreadsheet of all the seeds we have. This was quite time consuming as it contains what the seeds are, their name, where they are from, the year the were grown, and how many seeds there are. Once that was done I compared what we have to my wish list. I then nailed down everything I wanted to buy and started looking at my go to seed catalogues; Fedco, High Mowing Organic Seeds, Botanical Interests, Pinetree Garden Seeds, and Seed Savers Exchange.
I then picked everything we need, think we need, or want. After this I compared, made sure it was organic. I have to admit that it got confusing between heirloom and organic at times, and ordered.
I found almost everything except organic dahlia tubers (stay tuned for an update on Dahlias soon). I also would like some organic Yarrow, and Penny Royal for companion planting which we are going to try this year. I am sure I am super over-ordered but, as I said to French hubby who mentioned I should be careful not to order the whole catalog, at least my little vice is ordering organic seeds and not wanting diamonds and fancy cars. Now, all I have to do is wait for seeds, and plan out the whole garden, aie!
I feel so inspired to be living in Maine right now. I spent an enriching afternoon at the Slow Money Maine gathering in Gardiner. It was all about connecting with people, sharing, and learning about the amazing and inspirational things everyone is doing. And now the next step is figuring out how to connect the dots so we can help each other out and collaborate. Seeing people realizing their dreams and making this world a better place to live in is a rare thing in this challenging moment. I’m working on getting my dreams off the ground (stay tuned as that unfolds) and taking the Lincoln County Gleaners (where I volunteer) to the next level. I look forward to moving ahead! A big shout out to some of the incredible people there today that you should check out: Merry Meeting Gleaners, Thirty Acre Farm, Common Wealth Poultry, Farm Drop, Freshiez, A Small Good, Growing to Give, Maine Coast Heritage Trust and Maine Gleaning Network. And a warm thank you to Tim Shay of Nibezun for the blessing and sharing.