Lingering snows putting a damper on your spring garden dreams? Join a seedling CSA!
|Hannah Davidson runs the seedling CSA that Andrea Chesman joined this spring. Photo by John Falk|
So what was I to think when a crazy email from my friend Hannah Davidson arrived, inviting me to join a seedling CSA at the Good Earth Farm in Brandon, Vermont? A two-foot-deep blanket of snow still covers my garden. I’m just guessing here, but I can’t imagine being able to sow seeds in mid-April for my usual spring greens and peas.
This is Hannah’s first year selling her seedlings via a CSA, and it turns out seedling CSAs are the newest trend in small-scale agriculture circles. The grower — who gets hit with expenses in early spring for greenhouse energy and maintenance costs, soil, and seeds — gets money upfront. The gardeners get seedlings spread out through the planting season — in this case, including plants for a fall harvest picked up in August — without having to worry that the seedlings they want to buy will disappear by the time Memorial Day weekend winds down.
It’s the fall harvest plants that excite me most when it comes to this CSA. I always plan to get a fall sowing in and I almost never succeed. In the dog days of August, I stop believing that the weather will ever be cool enough to support another planting of lettuce or spinach. (Oh! Just like I don’t believe spring will ever come…)
My check goes in the mail today. Two hundred dollars will cover five pick-ups of plants. Here’s what I’ll be getting:
|Tomato plants in the greenhouse. Photo by Hannah Davidson|
The second pick-up in late May will contain one 4-pack of broccoli, one 4-pack of cabbage, one 4-pack of sauce tomatoes, one 4- pack of heirloom tomatoes, one 4-pack of peppers or chiles, one mixed 4-pack of zucchini/summer squash, two 4-inch pots of basil, and two free choice plants (larger tomatoes or perennial herbs or flowers).
Pick-up number 3 on June 6 or 7 will hold one 4-pack of butternut squash, one 4-pack of mixed pumpkins/winter squash, one 4-pack of musk melon/watermelon, one 4-pack of cucumbers, two 4-packs of lettuce, one 4-pack of eggplant, one 4-pack of brussels sprouts, and two free choice plants.
July’s pick-up will be light, but will offer cucumbers, zucchini/squash, broccoli, storage cabbage, kale, chard, and more herbs for succession planting.
The fifth and final pick-up on August 8 or 9 will include curly parsley, flat parsley, dill, kale, chard, lettuce, spinach, and broccoli.
|Hannah Davidson at work. Photo by John Falk|
I am also committing to the idea of spring. Now if only the weather would cooperate.
The Pickled Pantry, Recipes from the Root Cellar, Serving Up the Harvest, Mom’s Best Crowd-Pleasers, and The Vegetarian Grill, which was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Book Award and won a National Barbecue Association Award of Excellence. She is a coauthor of 250 Treasured Country Desserts and The Classic Zucchini Cookbook, and her articles have appeared in the New York Times, Cooking Light, Food & Wine, Vegetarian Times, Organic Gardening, Fine Cooking, and other publications. Her next book, The Backyard Homestead Book of Kitchen Know-How, is forthcoming from Storey in 2015. Visit Andrea’s website.