Today marked the official start of the 2010 growing season! This morning I pitched my expanded “grow list” to my first restaurant client and it went smashingly – agreements from this one account will double my gross revenue from 2009 —and it was the smaller of my two clients last year. Main increases will be in duration rather than volume – I expect to be marketing produce for a full 32 weeks in 2010! From March’s Frost Kissed Spinach to December’s storage crops of onions, potatoes, carrots, and squash this looks to be a great year. With some luck in storage next winter, the 2011 “season” may see produce sales all 12 months of the year. Awesomeness.
More immediately important ,this afternoon I planted the season’s first seeds (70 sq ft of Bloomsdale spinach) and placed my first order for seeds. The Hoop House (11×25, not the proposed monster Hoopty) soil is still completely frost free, but is wicked dry. I went no till: first scraped the soil with a scuffle hoe to clear the tomato debris from October, then “lifted” the soil with my U-Bar digger, then raked if flat and hand seeded the beds. Tomorrow I will plant another section with another variety of spinach. My favorite part was “watering” the seeds with 10 bucket loads of snow; it will be 35+ degrees and sunny for the next three days and I will have melted by noon tomorrow in the 80 degree heat. The first seed order for the season was for some purslane (favorite of the landowner) and half my onion seeds – about 3000 starts. Ailisa Craig, and two cippolini types: Red Marble and Gold Coin – I will begin onion starts in only a few short weeks, hopefully in soil blocks (expect a post there).
Hoop Houses make the winters very short indeed!