What a weekend! If you're like me and you live in the Gallatin Valley, last weekend didn't really get me into the gardening spirit! With heavy snow, rain, hail, and below freezing temperatures, I can't say it's unexpected but it's often disheartening.
Luckily, it seems like most everything in the garden and food forest pulled through. While it’s been great to have the moisture, the low temperatures and heavy wet snow did impact the fruit tree blossoms and crushed some of the annual plants that I had covered with frost cloth. I'll have to replace some of my broccoli seedlings but most annual plants will likely recover. It remains to be seen how our fruit yields will be impacted this season.
This past weekend aside, we are rapidly moving into our growing season. I'm getting my fill of greens from the greenhouse, along with peas, cilantro, and pac choi. Tomatoes will go in this weekend; peppers, basil and squash will go in the first week of June. I'm also thinking about what other plants to add to my food forest this season, which is why I wanted to share my latest video with you today.
In it, I talk with my friend and fellow permaculture practitioner, Jessica Peterson from Wild Willow Wellness, about her top 5 perennial plants that she grows for tea. Click on the video to learn more. While we can't enjoy garden-grown green tea or a homegrown cup of Earl Grey, we do have a lot of options available to us. In this video, Jesse shares tea plants that not only have a great flavor but also have medicinal value. These would be great plants to add to a food forest and as we discuss, some of these plants have multiple functions.
On our homesteads, we're always striving for a bit more self-reliance. With our annual garden and some fruit trees and berry bushes, we can have many of our vegetables and fruit covered. But we can take it a step further by growing our own tea. In this way, we continue to expand the products that we provide for ourselves, knocking yet another item off of our grocery store list.
Some of the plants that Jesse covers aren't the typical ones you would expect either so you'll definitely want to check out our conversation. And stick around until the end when Jesse shares two of her tea blends, all made with ingredients that you can grow in a cold climate.
What tea plants do you grow? Let me know in the comments below!
Spring planting is underway and I am so ready for warmer weather and spring blooms! The Nanking cherries, dwarf Russian almonds and pear trees in the food forest are starting to bloom, the daffodils have arrived and tulips are coming up under our mature apple tree.
Over the years of observing our site, I have finally accepted that we live in a much colder microclimate than much of Bozeman. Being near the base of the Bridger Mountains means we sit in a little cold sink. While crocus and daffodils have long ago bloomed within downtown Bozeman, mine are still deciding whether it's actually warm enough to emerge.
That's why season extension strategies are so important, not only on our site, but living in a cold climate in general. The ability to extend our season, both in the early spring and late fall, is really important. That's why I wanted to share this quick video with you. In it, I give you a little tour of my greenhouse at the end of April.
It's amazing how much you can jumpstart your season by having a greenhouse and/or cold frames. I have barely heated this greenhouse over the past 6 weeks. I've mostly just used additional frost cloth to get through the frigid nights. We've been eating salads over the past month and the peas are now coming on! So check out my video below and let me know what sort of season extension strategies you employ on your site!