Spring is just around the corner, but we still have a bit more time before everything is in full swing. Here at Reformation Farms, we are not waiting until spring to prepare for the season ahead, and we want to share with you 3 things YOU can start on right now, to get ahead of the growing season this Winter.
#1. Start Your Own Seeds
It can be indoors under a light, by a window, or in a greenhouse. No matter what, you can start your own seeds indoors and get a jumpstart on the growing season (not to mention SAVE some money on buying plant starts)! If you are feeling brave, you can even mix your own potting soil and make this project fit your budget even better!
You may ask what seeds can be started in February?
There are quite a few:
- And several others
You'll need some pots, cell trays or may even choose soil blocks (see here), if you prefer to steer away from plastic.
Once you have seeded your preferred containers, water them well and place a dome or a sheet of plastic wrap over the top to create a greenhouse affect (this will keep the seeds warm and moist and speed up germination). Once they germinate, make sure they have plenty of light and water until they are ready to plant outdoors.
#2. Plant Potatoes
If you live in zone 7 like we do, February is the perfect time to get your seed potatoes in the ground! Giving them an earlier start in the winter will ensure a stronger root system before they sprout in March. (If you don't know what zone you are in, this zone finder can help).
Planting Potatoes is easy and fun!
1. Choose a dry afternoon when the sun has thawed the soil enough and plant potatoes about 2-3 inches deep in the ground.
2. Apply a layer of mulch (we use pesticide and seed free hay - grown locally - but you could use wood chips, old grass clippings, etc.) over the bed or area planted.
3. Label the area and forget about your potatoes until they sprout!
#3. Deep Mulch a New Garden Area
If you don't own chickens, please don't skip over this section! You can still deep mulch a new garden area easily and get both composting and soil microbial benefits without a flock, but let's talk about the benefits of chickens for a moment.
Ideally in the warm months, a flock of chickens will be moved in a portable net or coop to new grass each day. So what about in the winter? There's no grass, weeds or insects for the chickens to eat... so why not take a break from moving them daily and put them to work on a future garden plot! The chickens will kill all the vegetation in the prescribed area and happily scratch and fertilize generously.
All YOU need to do during this winter break is to:
1. Feed and water the chickens (that's pretty obvious :))
2. lay down a generous amount of mulch on the bare soil/manure build up once or twice a week. The mulch keeps the area clean, minimizes bad odors, breaks down into compost, provides a foot warmer for the chickens and a hiding place for earth worms... the benefits are endless.
3. Move the coop occasionally, to distribute the birds nightly manure deposits.
The result in the Spring will be a rested you, happy chickens, and an extra garden area beautifully ready to plant in or make beds out of. I think that's a great deal, don't you?
Now, like I said, if you don't own your own flock, you can still do this. Just lay down mulch once or twice a week until the area is covered and leave it until Spring. The soil will have softened, the mulch will have decomposed some and the weeds under the covering will have died.
So these are three things you can do right now to get a jumpstart on your growing season!
The Nelson Family