Spring Is in the Hoop House

Reader Contribution by Ilene White Freedman
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In the greenhouse I get a jump-start on spring. In February and March, when I start to itch for warm weather, I step into the hoop house and pretend it’s spring already. On a sunny day it can be 70 degrees in there. I could sell tickets to my Florida-style hoop house in Maryland. Planting seeds into trays is easy work and slows me into the vegetable farming season.

Everyone is still wrapped up in scarves and gloves, and I’m shedding layers in the hoop house and playing in the dirt. I welcome my job list because it satiates that desire to begin the warm growing season. Before emerging spring days take the edge off the crisp air, I am in the hoop house mixing a soil blend and starting onion seedlings. These first couple weeks of March, it’s warmer and I’m starting other seeds — cabbage, scallions, kohlrabi and an early batch of

tomatoes.  By April, I will have to drag my soil mix container out in front of the hoop and pot-on tomato plants outside because it feels like August in the hoop house, in April!

Before all this, we are free to travel. In Puerto Rico, we were traveling on a ferry boat when a woman saw our  tote bag and asked if we were members of a CSA. When she heard we are CSA farmers, her eyes widened and she went to wake her sister. Her sister is a CSA farmer in Floyd, Virginia (wish I remembered the name!). This got funny. The guy behind her heard the conversation and said he is a poultry farmer in Virginia as well. Here we were, three traveling farmers far from our homes, in adjacent states. I said, “but of course we’re all traveling now, we need to go home and plant onion seedlings.” And the other CSA farmer nodded knowingly and said, “that’s what I’ll be doing,” of course.

Photos by Ilene White Freedman

Ilene White Freedman operates House in the Woods organic CSA farm with her husband in Frederick, Maryland. She blogs about making things from scratch, putting up the harvest, gardening and farm life at http://blog.houseinthewoods.com, easy to follow from our Facebook Page. For more about the farm, go to http://www.houseinthewoods.com.

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