29 Mar Spring is for sowing, not snowing!
The sun is shining and the birds are singing their songs of spring. Our greenhouse is bursting at the seams with beautiful plants. Now is the dance as we wait until the ground dries out enough to begin working the soil, sowing seeds in the fields and transplanting crops. In the warm and sunny greenhouse, Brienn pictured above and below left, is busy with the weekly sowing, moving flats around to make room as things gets more and more crowded, keeping the babies watered and happy. Our peas are beginning to sprout. Sowing them into flats and transplanting them enables us to get perfect germination, and stay on schedule despite the soggy soil. Peter, pictured below right, is in the barn dealing with the annual overflow of equipment, getting things organized, repaired and ready so when the time comes we can focus on planting.
Amidst the sounds of the melting snow, we ushered in spring with a beautiful vernal equinox blessing at the farm last weekend. Rebekah Barnes of Rooted Rhythms gathered us in a circle to honor the spirit of the land, the sky and within, moving us towards the directions and their corresponding elements. As we turned to the south we rubbed our hands together, feeling the heat generated by our own bodies, the fire within. To the west, as we licked our lips, we felt the water within and how it is connected to the waters around the world. Turning to the north, we felt the strength and stability of our own body, connected to the earth and hugged ourselves, feeling our solid presence. To the east we took a deep breath, inhaled, exhaled, feeling the breath of life in our body and around us.
I spoke of the wonder of the soil, and had everyone take a handful to feel and smell, and to offer up a blessing for the season ahead. In just one handful of soil there are more soil microbes than there are people on the earth! These are the unsung heroes of our farm. These tiny microscopic creatures, the billions of bacteria, yards of fungal filaments, thousands of protozoa and nematodes, all lead incredibly active lives. They are a little more sluggish in the winter, but like us, they are waking up with the warmth of spring. And they each have incredibly important jobs to do. We take care of the soil so that it can do its important work and together we can raise healthy strong plants.
Did you know that snow contains nitrogen which can benefit the soil? As precipitation falls through the atmosphere it collects atmospheric nitrogen. When snow collects on thawed soil, it slowly melts, allowing a slow release of nitrogen into the soil profile, adding to the total nitrogen content that the microbes then convert to plant available forms.
We ended the vernal equinox ritual by making a spiral out of branches against the blanket of snow. Wood is an element of spring. The power of wood is gentle, persistent, and filled with creative potential. It has the power of both being and becoming. Thank you Rebekah for bringing this to our farm, and I am already looking forward to the summer solstice ritual on June 21 at 7pm.
CSA shares are still available! Please spread the word and help us expand our community. Those first juicy strawberries will be here before we know it! And for your friends that may have their own vegetable garden, let them know we are offering pick-your-own flower shares. For 10-weeks of pick-your-own bouquets, this is a wonderful opportunity to connect to nature in a field of blooms. In these tumultuous times, it is certainly my happy place, to be out in the flowers, under the rosy glow of the setting sun.
Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. (*Vernal equinox blessing photos by pro photographer Vanessa Lassin.) Tricia and her husband Tom have been farming together since 2000. Blooming Glen Farm is celebrating its 12th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community.