First letter of the year

Sprout Farm news Letter April 23, 2021 Hello Everyone, We hope everyone is well and has come through the winter ready to get gardening. We're one month into spring and after a winter of clean soft hands I am ready to break out the GOJO and hand cream. It feels good to get my hands dirty. Jay has had his hands dirty for months filling the greenhouses. James has kept the equipment in good running order and the fish in the pond survived the winter or at least I think they did. The water never froze so the water color is still pea soup green. The fish don't care and our habit of overfeeding anything will soon result in fat fish and that will go well with our fat cats. Our neighbor has an osprey nest in a pine tree in his backyard and we hope those birds have a preference for fish from a river and not from a fish pond. Our sale on bagged soil starts Sunday. 1 cu foot. Coast of Maine Potting Soil and/or Lobster Compost $8.00. Soil is popular because our sandy, slightly acid soil can be rather thin for our gardens. We've been enjoying the early spring flowers like crocus, chionodoxa, grape hyacinth, daffodils and now tulips. I still don't remember planting tulips but I am enjoying them all the same. I am making the bench cards for the perennials as they come out of the greenhouse but the list of the perennials is on the website, including links to the catalog descriptions. You will have to cut and paste the link, something about the use of Google sheets not compatible with hyperlinks. Our pollinators are looking for those early bright flowers and they don't care if they are weeds. I was watching a video about what dandelions tell you about your soil. They indicate that you have compacted soil. If you've ever tried to pull up a dandelion to the tip of its roots you know how far down they go. Those roots reach down and draw calcium up from deep under ground up to the plant leaves. If the leaves are straight up like an official calling a goal at a football game, the plant is still hard at work. When the leaves are flat against the ground, the plant is almost finished the job. The trick is to let the flowers bloom but cut the plant before the blooms go to clocks. The number of puffs needed to blow the filamentousachenes from a dandelion is supposed to tell the time. I never heard that as a child but it was great fun to scatter the seeds all over the lawn. Now I would wait until I was near the compost pile. Jay is putting a limited number of tender annuals out on the benches but only because he is running out of room in the greenhouses. If there is a severe cold weather warning we will have to drag the trays back under cover. He dreams about putting up more greenhouses but I remind him that if he gets more space he will fill it to bursting again. Just a couple of weeks ago he checked the slips and figured out that he had several hundred more plants than he thought he had ordered. I gave up worrying about tight spacing years ago. Some how it always works out. We are not selling seeds this year. Jay checked out a company that had a nice selection for retail but they wouldn't replenish the display. So we decided not to sell seeds. This tells me that if you are in the market for seeds and you see something you like; buy it now. I bought larkspur seeds a month ago and put them in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, just like the instructions said. Today I went on YouTube for further instructions only to discover that these cold loving flowers should be direct seeded into the ground in the fall and they will winter over. Really? I never try to buy seeds in the fall for something like that. So I saved one package for planting in September and I planted one package in the garden by the driveway. I usually do not add food to that garden but the new project with the fish pond is filters and filters need to be cleaned of the abundant algae and algae is good for the garden so maybe there is hope that the seeds will do well. The last frost date for our area is May 4th so it is still a little early to shop for those tender annuals but stop by and see what's growing. See you soon, Jay and Phyllis Sprout

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