1. Find your farmer’s markets
Most markets are open now. We have seven in our area. There’s one open every day of the week. Not only are there fresh greens, but the egg season has started (Valentine’s to Halloween), and the mama animals are making lots of milk. It’s time to find out what fresh really tastes like!
2. Preserve the spring harvest
Now is the time for greens, radishes, broccoli, and other cool season crops to come in. If you buy conventionals in the store, now is the time they’re most likely to be local and fresh. Get em’ blanch ’em, freeze ’em. Don’t make my mistake and eat them till you’re so sick of looking at them that you don’t freeze any. You’ll be sad in a few months.
3. Join a CSA
Community Support Agriculture (CSA) memberships are like belonging to a community garden with hired help. You may or may not have to work in the garden, but the kinds of produce you get will be much like owning a large garden of your own. Don’t expect them to look like grocery store produce and be sure to get your freezer bags ready. Four days in a row of turnips is too much for anyone. It’s like having a personal farmer, not a personal store. Search out local CSA memberships in your area through localharvest.org or ask around at your local farmer’s market.
4. Plant your hot crops
After your last frost, it’s time to get the tomatoes, eggplant, squash, and other frost tender crops in the ground. Unless you seed started in the winter, forget seeding tomatoes and peppers. But, unless you just want a jump on the harvest, it’s not necessary to buy plants for anything in the squash family (cukes, zukes, winter squash, etc.)
5. Get some chicks
Last chance to get chicks from the feed store. If you’re not picky about breeds and just want a dependable layer come fall, go scoop up a few. Lock them in an outdoor dog kennel until they’re big enough to not fit through the fence. And if you decide you don’t like them, put them up on Craig’s list for what you paid and they’ll be gone my noon. Until you BUY or BUILD a coop, chickens are a zero cost hobby to scuttle. $20 bucks in chickens and feed, an old dog kennel, water in a bowl. DONE.
Things to Ignore (because it’s not the right season)
- Now is probably too late to get bees. You needed to order your bees a while back or catch a swarm earlier in the Spring, at least in the south where we are.
- Unless it’s cold where you are, now is not the time to plant trees. I know you want fruit trees, but hold that thought until fall.
- Forget about planting spring crops unless your spring is just arriving. Right now we’re HARVESTING spring crops. Since it’s already starting to get hot here don’t put in broccoli now. It will be spindly and PITIFUL, if it comes up at all.