What I love about living in Pemberton/Mt Currie is that it’s perfectly acceptable here to geek out on gardening. In fact, wanting to play in the dirt and grow things doesn’t make you a geek at all. It puts you in great company, with organic farmers, pro skiers, and/or your condo neighbours. This year, we’re excited to launch a new weekly column, Green Thumbs, where local experts and aficionados share their advice, tips, garden successes and failures and growing wisdom. Michelle Beks from Shaw Creek Farm kicks it off for us, today.
I was all set to write an article about digging into my green house through the two feet of snow in search of some dirt to sink my shovel into and getting a head start on my spinach and lettuce planting. Alas, I must wait a little longer as the soil is hard as cement and not even an axe could break through.
My first contribution will therefore be about eggs. Anyone who has laying hens knows that, like some humans, the dark of winter puts them in a foul mood (pun intended). My hens’ egg-laying comes to a full stop in January, leaving me at the mercy of store bought eggs. Thank goodness for the local eggs that I found in the stores this year.
You can trick the hens into laying right through by leaving a light on a timer a few hours past dark. It is the shorter days of winter that signal to them that it is time to take a break. I don’t use the light trick because I figure they could use the vacation.
The first eggs laid in late winter are as much a sign of spring here on the farm as the mud we are up to our ankles in right now.
I am as happy as a child finding an Easter egg when I check the boxes and there it is, the first spring egg.
The hens are roaming around the barnyard, happy not to be cooped up anymore. The roosters are getting frisky and a little pushy, claiming their girls and their territory. The eggs are starting to fill the cartons in my fridge and the days are getting longer. Spring is in the air. Now back to the greenhouse, maybe a bigger shovel will break through that frozen soil.