From the Department of Propagation, Rosemary Division

She's a little coy about her age; we think she's eight...

She’s a little coy about her age; we think she’s eight…

Really, it’s the only division in our propagation department; we start everything for our sale from seed, with the exception of our rosemary. All our rosemary starts come from this beauty here. Every fall, we dig her up, stick her in front of a lowish-light window (usually West-facing) and coax her along until spring. In about a week, we’ll put her back in the ground; I’m not the best at watering my pots, and I’m sure I’d kill her if she wasn’t in the damp earth and well-mulched.

Michu decided to take on the rosemary last year, and started taking cuttings for the sale. After reading lots about rooting hormone and various starting procedures, he ended up just sticking the little branches in a jam jar 1/3-full of water and dropping them on the north-facing windowsill in the kitchen. It works! After the plants develop a solid root system, we stick them in good, rich dirt and they’re on their way.

Ready for you!

Ready for you!

This plant just celebrated it's one-year anniversary.

This plant just celebrated its one-year anniversary.

Not every herb can take up residence in your house over the winter; parsley will bolt as soon as you put it back in the ground, and basil just gets mad. But think about keeping your rosemary around this year; eventually, you could have an amazing shrub!


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Mostly just beautiful photos, if I do say so myself.

What do you do when ducks lay eggs in your tulips?

Seriously, Mama Duck. This is not the best spot.

Seriously, Mama Duck. This is not the best spot.

If nothing else, it’s a sure sign of spring. Our first sale is coming up on Saturday, April 26, starting at 10 a.m. and running until 4. A small sampling of the amazing things you can buy:IMG_2124

Lettuce. Not the whole bed, but we’ll be uppotting these beauties from the greenhouse beds into spacious four-packs, with a lovely and colorful mix of greens for your own garden bed. Doesn’t it make you want a big old salad?





Herbs. No tender basil, but a pretty serious springtime mix, including garlic chives, regular chives, sage, sweet marjoram, oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley, Russian tarragon, chervil and lavender.IMG_2112

Brassica. Broccoli, kale (four kinds!), cauliflower, cabbage, collards, brussels sprouts. I think we doubled the amount of lacinato kale over last year’s numbers, but it could still run out. Shop early!




Onions. All the onions. Well, not all, but a fair representation. Copras (for storage), Red Bulls, sweet Walla Wallas, chives, leeks and shallots. You might want to get your onions into the ground before our big warm-weather sales in May, so don’t miss out on these.


Pansies. They could totally be blooming two weeks from now! Do not be fooled by their current smallish stature! They thrive in the three inches of snow we’re supposed to get next week!


Finally, just because it was a beautiful day to be hanging out with the plants:

You're thinking about putting in a greenhouse, aren't you?

You’re thinking about putting in a greenhouse, aren’t you?

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It’s later than you think.

Broccoli and onions, getting ready to hang out at your house instead of ours...

Broccoli and onions, getting ready to hang out at your house instead of ours…

One of the differences we’re noticing from last year is that being surrounded by small, beautiful plants feels normal. Last year, we were overwhelmed each time we brought a new shelf-full of plants to the greenhouse: Oh my gosh! It’s so many plants! We can’t even fit any more!

Well, of course we did.

We figured out new shelving systems, built more extra-long pallets and stuffed that greenhouse full. Then we wandered around, dazed by the abundance. Now that we know our true capacity, this early stage–what do we have, maybe 34 flats out there right now?–this feels like nothing. Which is fortunate, since we haven’t even started the tomatoes yet…

We do want to remind you, however, to mark your calendar for our cold hardy plant sale on April 26th. It’s coming up. We’ll need to move some of those onions out of our lives, along with some broccoli, leeks, shallots, kale (twice as much lacinato as last year, people!), and maybe some sweet little violets, too. As good as we are at cramming in the plants, we’ll be looking to clear out a little more breathing room by then.

Turn these onions...

Turn these onions…

...into these onions!

…into these onions!



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Graduation Day!

With winter hanging on for dear life it seems impossible that the brassicas and alliums should be graduating to the greenhouse. Well, it’s true.  Even with the chilly outside temps the greenhouse hits 40 degrees around 9:30 a.m. and only gets warmer throughout the day. Perfect for those cold hardy plants. They are happily enjoying the greenhouse during the day and they come into the house for their overnight warm-up.


Our workload is increasing quite a bit; planting seeds, up-potting little seedlings to larger cells, moving trays of plants back and forth from inside the house to the greenhouse while we wait for temps to improve. As if on cue, when there is more physical work to be done, my back goes out. Yes, an exciting new development and thankfully Deb has taken on more and helped with the tasks that I just cannot do right now.  As always, Dan, Cole and Jase are faithful helpers and so far none of the trays have been dropped on the ground. I will admit I do hold my breath a little when I watch the younger members of the family moving trays back and forth. I am happy to report no major disasters as of late and I’m grateful for the help!


Jase the onion guy.


Dan & Cole finishing up the job.



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Getting the ball rolling on the home front…

Winter can't last forever!

Winter can’t last forever!

Ours was not a typical business plan. You know, the kind where you find a niche that needs filling, and set out to organize the best way to fill it–while making money in the process. Nope; more like, Gee, we seem to have too many plants–what should we do with all of this stuff? The Planthouse is an extension of our regular growing operation, a sprawling mess that helps us feed our own families–locally, organically, and on the cheap.

A big piece of our personal growing strategy clicks into place tomorrow morning, at the Troy Community Gardens spring registration meeting. Along with other Troy volunteers, we’ll be organizing the meeting and dropping off our own registrations. We try to put storage crops up at Troy–things that don’t need to be harvested every other day–although since we’ve invested on the tomato front, there’s certainly a time when we need to be there more often. That’s when our real secret weapon of successful community gardening kicks in–the one we failed to mention in all our blogging last year. No, not row cover–which is awesome; not mulch, although we love it. It’s PARTNERSHIP!

Holy Cow! Look at all those tomatoes!

Holy Cow! Look at all those tomatoes!

Gardening with another family is The Best! It means going up to pick tomatoes once or twice a week, instead of three or four times. It means nothing dies when you go out of town for a two-week summer vacation. And it means that you are always making sure to do your fair share of weed-pulling; you don’t want to be the slacker family, do you? A little bit of guilt that leads to a greater broccoli yield.

If you’re on the fence about a community garden plot this year, my advice: find a friend and team up. We’ll supply you with the plants. Hope to see you tomorrow at spring registration!


For information on gardening at Troy, follow this link:

Looks intimidating, right?

Looks intimidating, right?

But with two people--no problem!

But with two people–no problem!


Posted in 2014 | Leave a comment