As kid growing up in Southern California, I remember being so excited to go to Disneyland! Every year Disney would release $20 tickets to local families. We packed bologna and mustard sandwiches, Shasta colas and crammed into the station wagon for the hour drive up to Anaheim. The thrill of impending adventure was almost unbearable! As an adult, I've always tried to hold onto that feeling in life and to my delight, having kids allowed me to relive those bursting feelings of adventure.
As we turn to our fallowed fields for another growing season, that feeling of excitement is bubbling up. This past year, with the pandemic, really brought the realization that our fields, our farm, and our lifestyle are exactly where you'd want to be when the world closes down. We had water, crops, and neighbors with meat, eggs, and milk. There are so many ripple effects to living in a pandemic, too many to mention here, but one that has effected us is the mad dash to purchase seeds that the world experienced. Our good friends, who run an organic seed business, practically sold out of inventory. Website after seed website had red banner messages noting that many items are sold out, or expect delays due to increased sales. It was a seed boom!
So, we have found ourselves turning toward growing organic seeds. We applied for and were granted our CCOF certification. Applying for it remined me of grad-school, making sure every I was dotted and every T, crossed. But it paid off, and we are official now. We were recently gifted the book, The Seed Garden: The Art and Practice of Seed Saving by the Organic Seed Alliance (Thank you!). This book is a treasure trove of good information.
This new adventure has brought on such excitement, I'm buckling up for a wild ride this year!
The Hop Yard
We are trying an experimental way to growing hops, the side trellis design. We retrieved old heart wood pine trunks that had been burned out by a fire in 2005, from a friends property, and drove those into the ground at an incline. We planted our plants closer than traditional hop yards, due to the short trellising feature of creating hedges of hops. We will see how this works out. All of the studies that we have read, which aren't many, seem to tell a story of moderate success growing hops in this fashion. We will keep you posted here on how well this works.