Well February has arrived, and I must say we are still deep in Winter. It’s cozy to be inside next to the fire, but it’s around now when I can’t wait to get out in the garden.
But we did have a brief respite. We had just picked up the Nearings’s The Maple Sugar Book in preparation for the upcoming maple season, when we realized we were about to embark on a couple freakish days in the high 50′s …following a few weeks of highs in the single digits. Everything was frozen SOLID. Would the sap even run? And if it did thaw enough to run would it just stop after the temperature climbed too high? We found out the good way!
We tapped our trees in the morning of the 30th and the sap was already running, and fast. It was about 40 degrees out. It grew warmer and warmer on into the night, until it peaked at 60 degrees the following afternoon. We checked our buckets…sap couldn’t have run all night, right?
Wrong! It was still running. From our 7 trees we got around 17 gallons of sap over those two days, which boiled down to just under a half gallon of sweet grade A syrup.
Of course I can’t help but get another angle on these beauties:
Ahhh. Our teeth will rot out in the best way possible.
Inside, I moved the leek seedlings to a cooler room with natural light, as they seemed to already outgrow the shop light set-up in the bedroom. I might do a little thinning before they go into the coldframe, but maybe not.
And I sowed the first of my February seeds under the now-vacant lights: Reine des Glaces lettuce, flat parsley, broadleaf sage, and German thyme. Hopefully they’ll germinate just as readily as the leeks.
I wanted to share a close-up of some of my favorite seed houses. Fedco Seeds, www.fedcoseeds.com, in Maine is a co-operative stemming from the ’70s. Not only are their catalogs informative, entertaining, and inspiring, but their seeds rock. And their prices. I want to stay regional with my seed sources, but every year Nichols Garden Nursery, www.nicholsgardennursery.com, out in Oregon wins me over. I can’t help myself. They have the best varieties and wonderful prices, all in appropriate packet sizes for the home gardener. And their seeds rock too. And last but not least is Seed Savers Exchange from Iowa, www.seedsavers.org, also not regional but still awesome. Although their prices are higher, this organization is definitely worth supporting. I got several packets during an end-of-year sale, and I hope to become a member of the Flower and Herb Exchange when I have some extra dollars. I tend to think a little doomsday about our fading national seed supply, and I am grateful to these seed houses for refusing GMOs and working tirelessly to preserve heirloom varieties. The possibilities will once again be endless!
The longer days are serving our houseplants well, too. I’m newly obsessed with two orchids that I’ve chronically neglected. One of them already has new leaves forming!
In another windowsill are the bulbs I’ve been forcing indoors this winter. In the big pot are Montreaux tulips, and in the small one Thalia narcissus. Hopefully they’ll flower before their outdoor counterparts, but even the vegetative growth is enough to add a little springtime to these cold days.
Hope you are staying warm! March is just a short month away!