Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Haul from the Farmer's Market

Here's my haul from the Farmer's Market in Hartford today.  Not too many veggies yet - mostly rhubarb, greens, and asparagus.  The little plastic container is black pepper chevre, and if you look closely you can see that it's sitting on top of a dozen eggs.  The apples are obviously from last fall, but I got 7 lbs for $3, so tomorrow I'm going to make applesauce.  We'll have the asparagus and mesclun with dinner tonight.  I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with the rhubarb-  last week I made pie, so this week I want to try and do something else. 

My snow peas started blooming last week!  I anticipate a lot of stir-fries :)  Granted, that's really not much of a change.  I do a lot of stir-fries anyway.  I'm just hoping I can get the other members of my household to eat the snow peas instead of picking them out.  It's not that they mind the flavor, it's that they find them too "stringy."  Maybe that's just the supermarket variety - maybe the fresh garden snow peas will be OK!

I have no idea what happened to this poor lettuce!  It looks trampled, rather than bitten.  Usually rain will only flatten them out - I've never seen it break a plant off like this!  I guess we'll be having garden lettuce a little earlier than we'd anticipated!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Westville Artwalk

The Artwalk went pretty well, all things considered!  People still aren't spending as much as they did a few years ago, but I still did OK - by my standards, at any rate.  The weather sort-of cooperated.  We had some rain early on, but fortunately it started after we got the canopy up, so nothing got wet!  It stopped early enough that it didn't keep people away.

It did get very windy about an hour before the show closed, and everyone was holding on to their tents to keep them from blowing over!  Our earring display went over at least two or three times, and someone stepped on a pair of my posts before we could get them off the ground.  I guess she didn't realize that the shouts of "Watch it! Watch it!"  were directed at her.

Some of my new work sold, but I managed to get pictures beforehand.  This heart went, and I had at least one person wishing they'd bought it when they first came by.

She took a card, but then lots of people took business cards.  I'll be surprised if we actually hear from any of them.  Everyone gets excited about the idea of custom work when they're standing there, but it always ends up being more hassle than it's worth to them by the time they get home.  Next year we're going to try coupon codes on the backs of the business cards to see if it helps us see how many people from the shows come visit us online.

 I finally decided what I wanted to do with this pendant  that I finished a few weeks ago, so I had the completed necklace finished in time for the show.  Lots of interest, but no buyers.  The expensive pieces always (unsurprisingly) take forever to sell.

At least we finally had a banner this year!

Monday, May 3, 2010

We have signage!

After five years of selling jewelry at craft shows I have finally gotten around to getting a real sign for our booth!  It matches our business cards and everything!  And I even got it in time for Saturday's craft show!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Soil blocks: Not an unqualified success :(

I got a soil block maker at the beginning of seed-starting season(which is February around here), hoping to get the convenience of peat pellets without the added expense.  So far I've had mixed results.

unhappy soil block seedlings

Most of my seeds germinated just fine in the soil blocks, but shortly after gaining their first or second set of true leaves they seem to have stopped growing.  These were planted sometime in March - I'd think the plants would be a lot bigger by now!

unhappy soil block seedlings

I've heard that if you pack your soil blocker too tightly the roots have trouble penetrating.  My first few blocks were loose enough that I had trouble moving them without crumbling, so I packed the next set more firmly.  There's no way for me to know what's too tight or too loose except trial and error.  It's also possible I might not have watered them enough - or I might have watered them too much!  I hate it when diametrically opposed actions result in the exact same symptoms!  I've tried potting some of them up and attempting to loosen the soil a little, but so far it doesn't seem to have made much difference. 

wimpy broccolli

So far the broccoli I started at the end of February hasn't gone much past this stage here.  I planted them out in hopes that being in the ground would encourage them - I'll let you know if it works. 


My sage, on the other hand, was planted in a peat pellet, and is going gangbusters, along with several other varieties of herbs.

I'm not all that upset, because I knew that soil blockers had a bit of a learning curve.  At the most I'm annoyed at the prospect of not having some of my longer-growing veggies (namely broccoli and eggplant) this year.  I'm probably not going to have time to try and start the eggplants again if these fail to thrive, but I can start more broccoli seedlings for a fall planting.  I think next year I'll stick to the peat pellets for these, and experiment with the soil blocks for plants that grow faster, so that I have time to try again if I don't get it right the first time.
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