Sweet Earth Farm is helmed by Amanda Zee. They have been operating for 12 years on the island and Coho Restaurant has worked extensively with Zee and her family in recent seasons. To start off this series we focused on the upcoming farm season and sharing some helpful advice for those of us spending some time in the garden while we all stick closer to home.
What are you most excited about growing this spring?
I am really excited about growing some new seed varieties that I purchased through Row 7 Seed Company, which is a collaboration between chefs, plant breeders, and farmers to create the most flavorful and robust varieties. I will be growing a new type of pepper, beet, cucumber, and winter squash, and it will be fun to do some taste tests and see how they compare.
What should readers be planting this time of year?
There are so many things you can be planting in the ground right now: salad greens, cilantro, parsley, beets, carrots, broccoli, kale, chard, cauliflower, early cabbage, potatoes and radishes.
Do you have any helpful advice for those starting a garden for the first time?
Go for it and don’t be intimidated! Remember that plants want to grow and gardening is a fun learning adventure.
For those not growing from seed, what kind of starts will you have available and when?
We are not selling starts at the moment, but will have tomato starts available by mid-May. Dancing Seeds Farm and Mama Bird Farm are both selling starts, and Browne’s nursery also has a great selection.
What plants do beginners do best with growing from seed? What do you recommend they use starts for instead?
In my farming system, I grow most things from transplant, with the exception of carrots, beets, peas, beans, and dill. Depending on your gardening system and seed beds, you can grow most things by direct seeding. There are a couple of plants that benefit from a jump start that you can consider starting inside, in a greenhouse, or purchasing, such as, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and basil.
Do you have a farm store and what are the hours?
Currently our farm stand is open Saturdays 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. We will also be participating with the San Juan Island Food Hub, where individuals can place on-line orders. You can visit our website and sign up for our newsletter to get farm updates.
Stay tuned for other Voice of the Farmer features and more CSA unboxing posts!