Winter is for planning. The crops we decide to grow every year depend on several factors. If we’ve grown it before, we assess how well it did during the last growing season. We consider feedback from sharers—what you liked, or not, and your ideas—as well as suggestions from other farmers in the area. In addition to what we plan to grow in the fields, we also think about what we want to grow and sell at our annual plant sale in May. We will have many of the varieties we grow in the field for sale, as well as varieties that are good for pots and small gardens.

Based on all of that information, we decide whether to change how much of a crop we grow, and whether there are any new varieties we want to try. Some things that we intend to include this year: hot peppers, Brussels sprouts, and radicchio. We also plan to have a great choice of flowers for the PYO garden as well as several husk cherry plants for you to snack on when you visit the farm.

After we’ve settled on what to grow, we figure out how many seeds to order. If your job involves ordering any supplies, this part of farming is going to sound familiar. We have a spreadsheet with equations for calculating how many seeds we need if we want to harvest a certain amount. It keeps track of the proper spacing each vegetable needs when we plant our seedlings in the fields, and it includes a margin of error to account for possible losses as a result of poor germination and pest damage.

Once we know how many seeds we need for each crop as well as the plant sale, we order from one of our preferred seed companies: Johnny’s Seeds, Baker Creek, High Mowing Organic Seeds, or Fedco. Although there are so many wonderful seed companies, these companies are the ones we use most frequently based on price, organic seed availability, and customer service. I highly recommend them if you are ordering seeds for your own gardens!

I’m so excited to start seeding in the greenhouse with the help of volunteers—any day now. There is nothing better than stepping into the warmth of the greenhouse. The smell of the soil is so sweet and the shades of green are a welcome sight at this time of year.

Until next time,