Matfield Green - Our first years

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Red letter day

I ordered seeds for our Kansas garden today. This is the day that marks the end of winter for me. Everything from last year has been eaten and the preparation for the next harvest begins. I've mapped out a garden of 6500 square feet, in the old corral on the east side of the tracks (more about the property another day, I promise). 4500 feet of that will be cover crop - soy and oats - though I'm hoping we can harvest those and keep ourselves breakfasting off the land much deeper into the winter than today.

I ordered strawberry plants on the advice of Helen Ridder, a Catholic nun who spent five years in Matfield Green, and who noticed that there is nowhere to buy locally-grown strawberries. I will try to fill that void. I ordered 8 lbs of potatoes - enough for about 150 square feet. At first I requested twice that but reading the fine print in the catalogue I see that you can expect 15 to 20 times that in yeild. I just don't know that Bill and I can eat 160 lbs of potatoes in a year, even with the help and support of our community! Now if we could grow rice, I'd really be excited.

Other seeds that will soon be winging their way from Oregon to Kansas (check out are peas, tomatoes (mostly plum tomatoes for canning), beans (we had a fabulous and delicious crop of Kentucky Wonders here in Chicago this year), broccoli and kale, corn, beets, parsnips, carrots, leeks (lots of roots) chard, squash (cross your fingers, between the beatles and the dearth of bees, we just couldn't grow it these last few years), cukes, and honeydew melon (oh I can't wait). The heat should be good for melon and peppers (sweet and hot) and tomatoes of course.

A few seeds I didn't have to purchase. I collected more than enough lettuce seeds at the end of last season, along with habenero and spicy red peppers. The grand total purchase came to $214.55. And I'll supplement with more saved seeds next year. This is when I get really excited about the move. The Territorial website froze as I tried to place my order, but I found myself pleased with the excuse to pick up the phone and share my excitement with the woman on the other end of the line. She was genuinely happy for me. Tra-la.


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