Aren’t you getting excited about spring?!

January 26, 2011

I'm on staycation this week and am enjoying just the kind of morning I love. Stayed in bed until 8:30...LUXURY!!. It's cold outside (for Texas), but it's bright and sunny, which puts me in a cheery mood. I just checked on my seedlings...the lettuce is sprouting eagerly while the tomato seeds sit in stubborn refusal. I have yet to dig out my seed heating mat from the many still unpacked boxes in the garage. Those tomato seeds will sit there stubborn until I warm them up. For all you newbies out there, you really do need a heat mat for your tomato seedlings! I just picked up my new issue of Urban Farm magazine, made some strong chicory coffee and am browsing through articles about beekeeping and all sorts of other fun stuff. I'll be headed out to check on the girls (my chickens) here in a bit to make sure their water isn't frozen and they get their daily salad green buffet. It's mornings like these that really get me excited about spring. JOY.

Because I'm in a new home, with yet again an empty landscape to start with, I'm full of itch to garden. While I have cultivated one large bed that was pre-existing, it will take quite a while to get everything built back up to my prior level of urban farm food production. I do always love a challenge though. I have many raised beds moved from my old house still waiting to be situated and filled...and many ornamental beds to be built and planted, which will take a back seat to the veggie beds. My first big project will be planting what I named "Fruitopia". I have one fenced in side yard, which is street side that will become home to my small fruit orchard and beehives. I'm choosing a well thought out list of small and dwarf variety fruit trees as well as some berry plants. I imagine I'll start planting Fruitopia in early February, once all my varieties have arrived. I'll post the list of selections once it's finalized.

I start my 5-month beekeeping course this coming Saturday and couldn't be more excited! Not only will my bees be much needed pollinators for my own orchard and vegetable garden (and those of my neighbors), but I hope that my tiny effort will help boost what are devastating crashes in honey bee populations over the last 6 years. Colony collapse, brought on by a combination of invertebrate iridescent virus and a fungal organism called Nosema ceranae, are decimating bee populations everywhere and seriously threatening our entire food supply system. If you want to help out the population of pollinators, but keeping hives of honeybees is just to much for you to handle, you can encourage the presence of Mason bees in your garden. Mason bees are excellent pollinators and all you need to do is provide a simple nesting box. North Haven Gardens in Dallas, TX sells both the Mason bee houses and tubes of baby Mason bees in spring to get you started.

Anyhoo, enough of my ramblings. Hope you're getting your veggie beds prepped, your seeds started and are excited about spring!


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