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And The Changes and Workshops Keep Coming! -Growing Well Newsletter

And The Changes and Workshops Keep Coming!

If you haven’t been in for a few weeks then you have to check out the whole edible mushroom “event” that’s happening in the back of the store.  Last week we built a “Martha tent” to help manage the lack of humidity in the store (thanks to the pellet stove!) and we now have an excellent lion’s mane mushroom North Spore box growing!  We also spent this last weekend’s workshop checking on attendees developing mushroom clusters and building out several kinds of mushroom substrate in buckets and boxes (our second installment on home grown mushrooms) – all beginning their growth to create another flush of blue oyster and morel mushrooms.  Make sure you sign up for the last of our 3-part Grow Your Own Mushrooms workshops on March 9, 1-2pm.  That’s when we’ll go over all of the final details of harvest and storage – and you can see if we were successful or not!

Then there are the seed racks…Harts and Botanical are returning favorites, but there’s a new rack in town!  We’re introducing Southern Exposure Seed Exchange seeds.  They are a worker-run cooperative where every worker has a voice in the decisions of the company and where workers receive equal compensation regardless of the economic value traditionally placed on the jobs done.  60% of the varieties they offer are Certified Organic, and over 60% are grown by small farmers that they know and contract with directly.  You can tell the level of involvement is for real every time you talk to them on the phone. I’ve used their seed for years and have grown a lot of the varieties that are on the rack.  Be sure to check out their seed – it’s fun packaging if nothing else!

Speaking of seeds – our Getting Seeds Started Right workshop is this coming Saturday, 3/2/24, morning, 10:30-12:00.  It’s important to get seedling roots well populated with “good guy” microbes so we start with inoculating the seed even before the seeds hit the soil.  We’ll go over the details, and a seedling trial that I’m running and other details around seeding. There are a couple of spaces left so call the store to reserve your space.  You’ll take home enough inoculant for many packages of seed!

Then in the afternoon, 1:00-2:30, we’ll be looking at Basic Hydroponic Growing.  Much of the lettuce everyone is buying from the grocery store is hydroponic in origin and many are curious about the basic mechanics. Are you curious about what it is and how it works?  Mike will walk us through how to get started, what to worry about and how to use a 5-gallon pail to make your first foray into winter lettuce growing.  Once you’ve nailed down lettuce, you can branch out in to all kinds of other plants.

One quick restock note:  we used up a lot of our houseplants with our two terrarium classes, but we’ve restocked so there are now plenty of houseplants in the case for you to look through.  We even picked up some shamrocks!!!  St. Patrick’s Day is coming after all!!  

Now it’s time for just a bit of gardening and farming philosophy…truly it’s only a little bit!!!  It seems appropriate to bring this up at the very beginning of the growing season…

Don’t let the best be the enemy of the good (and good can be pretty good!!)

I heard this statement from one of the best soil scientists I’ve ever met and he told me this when I first started down the garden path of developing really healthy soils – granted that the concept itself has been around since Socrates’ time!  Paul’s point was that any move in the direction of healthier soils, less pesticides, more understanding, less compaction, more observation was a step in the right direction and to expect everyone to grab the whole pie in one bite was totally beyond reality.  I was going to make mistakes (and I did!!), my garden clients were going to make mistakes (and they did!), and we were still headed in the right direction even if there was a swoop or two in the road ☺

I’m finding this concentration on “the best” to more of a problem as the years go by. And it gets worse when more and more people (as adults) get started on gardening or goats or poultry or whatever catches their attention.  These people missed the childhood stage of “doing chores”.  That’s when the job (whatever it is) has to be done – repeatedly - and when learning and experimenting doesn’t matter although it’s inherent in the chore reality. And (of course!!) no child thinks that way anyways – it’s just chores (ugh!) – but they do absorb details without the stress of results.   As adults, people seem to feel that they should have all the details straight in their heads from the start. That’s an impossible standard to meet.  It’s taken me more than 40 years to figure some of this stuff out, and I’m still learning!!! Perfection is an unhelpful dream and can cause more inaction than action.  If necessary, think about deep attention in your willingness to really LOOK at what’s going on around you.  

Take our experiments with mushrooms for example… No one who works at the store has ever tried to grow edible mushrooms before these last few weeks.  We’re all excited by the appearance of the mushrooms, frustrated by the dry air and how hard it is to keep them going, relieved when the Martha tent helped to stabilize said humidity and fascinated to see if the expanded substrates we created will actually produce more edible mushrooms!  The odds are that we will produce them but…and here’s the philosophical point…it’s ok either way!  If it doesn’t work then we’ll try something else.  If it does, we’ll think we’re pretty smart until the next time that we trip up on a detail or two.  

And that’s life in the garden, on the farm and in the store!  So, come in and check out how we’re doing!  Then decide where you want to jump in…  There’s room for everyone.

The Good Earth

Important Stuff!

March 2, 2024

Getting Seeds Started Right

10:30am-12:00 pm

Basic Hydroponic Growing


March 9, 2024

Grow Your Own Mushrooms- Part 3 harvesting/storing


spring 2024 Chicks order, good earth logo

Restock Alert: Houseplants are back in stock!

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