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The Breath of Spring- The Growing Well Newsletter

The Breath of Spring – Before it Really Gets Here!!

Well, the forecasted Nor’easter fizzled.  Some will say that’s good and some will think it’s bad…and both would be right!  That’s the funny thing about weather – it plays both sides of the street.  The maple syrup industry needs the ground to stay cold and snow covered – as do the ski areas.  Everyone who needs to keep walking surfaces clean and safe is just as happy not to be shoveling and spreading salt.  Ah – New England!   Wouldn’t live anywhere else!

Now on to the new experiences available at the store – and I do mean experiences!!  Personally, I’ve never grown edible mushrooms.  I’ve spent hours developing soils that can support all kinds of good guy ‘shrooms in concert with the plant roots that they work with, but never actually grown mycelium in a box and then harvested the fruits…VERY COOL (and tasty)!!!  

We had our first mushroom workshop this past weekend and it was pretty wild.  We had started blue oyster mushrooms two weeks before the class from a North Spore “Spray and Grow” box -.  It grew really well in the store even though the conditions were not great.  We harvested the first two clusters – and expect more.  From there, we built a “Martha tent” – otherwise known as a mini-greenhouse bought from Ocean State for $35.00 (on sale right now!!).  We put the harvested blue oyster and the inoculated morel bag into the tent and closed it up with its humidifier.  Mike then inoculated a starter grain bag with pink oysters and set it to start growing out ready for our next workshop – 2/24/24, 1-2pm (still a couple of spots open).  That’s when we’ll mix several kinds of ‘shroom substrates for different species and fill the Martha tent.  The last workshop in the series (3/9/24) will be on harvesting and storing your production.  I must admit that the blue oysters we harvested tasted great with a pork burger and teriyaki sauce…so no need for storage this time!

North Spore edible mushrooms

A word about North Spore - North Spore is an extremely high-quality supplier of all things edible mushroom – and it’s located in Maine!  About as local (at least not California!) as we can get. Their “how to” videos are VERY easy to learn from.  We plan on carrying the basics at the store and will be integrating growing edible mushrooms into the developing gardens around the store.  NEVER waste the mycelium that you’ve grown your edible mushrooms on!!  Break up the packages and work the pieces into your woodland edges where some extra organic material is just hanging around.  The best you’ll get is another flush of ‘shrooms and the worst is an increase in healthy soil on your wood’s edges.  We’ll be working the spent substrates in to our wood’s edges just like you will!  Something else to check on when you visit 😊

On - and - in to the 2024 Growing Season

Many of you have already been in to buy seed starting potting soils, seeds and trays.  Did you know that plants have an external digestive system?  Ours is inside us, but our plant’s roots are coated with many of the same (and some very different!!) microbes that help all of us break down and use the nutrition available. The trick is to get the baby plants off to a great start by introducing the right microbes at the very beginning of the growing season. We’re holding our annual Getting Seeds Started Right –on Sat 3/2, 1-2:30pm   $30 includes pots, inoculant, seedling mix and one package of seed (your choice!). Limit 10 so register early… I’m also running an easy seedling trial to show you how you can use your own powers of observation and experimentation to make decisions that work best for your particular growing conditions.

And it’s Not Just Plants!!

And then there are the baby chicks – order forms will be out within the next two weeks, and we have over 2 dz different varieties of birds coming in this year.   We buy the chicks from Ideal Poultry – one of the biggest hatcheries in the country – and all of the laying breeds are sexed.  That means that there’s less than a 10% chance that you’ll get a rooster (although it is still possible).  We take great care of our baby birds.  As soon as they arrive, they are introduced to water dosed with Hydro Hen - to provide electrolytes, sugars and probiotics as soon as possible (sounds kind of similar to the baby plants, doesn’t it?!?! A recurring theme perhaps???).  Then the chicks are put in to our incubator and introduced to the Poulin chick starter grain (with a little extra Azomite worked in – ask why!) and then we call you! (if you’ve ordered chicks that is).  We keep a sharp eye on them and make sure that smutty butt and other problems than can get going don’t get a chance.  We’re proud of the quality babies that go home with you for your own home flocks.

We’re also offering ducks (one week only), quail (ditto one week) and broiler chicks (not sexed and also on specific weeks) so there really is something for everyone!  Time to start planning 😊

And a quick reminder …

The Great Backyard Bird Count is this coming weekend, 2/16-2/19 and the more people involved the better. This is one of the best of the citizen science projects – and it’s a global even!  Think about that!! Regular people, living anywhere and everywhere, who care about the wildlife around them – take 15-30 minutes and note down all the birds that they see, record the details and upload the information. Check this link for details on how to participate. 

That’s it for this issue - looking forward to seeing everyone at the store!

The Good Earth

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