Thursday, March 26, 2009

Seeds sprouting in the greenhouse!

The first couple batches of plantings have begun... early spring crops like kale, broccoli, cabbage, scallions, lettuce, leeks, as well as the first tomatoes & peppers!
We heat only 1/3 of the greenhouse this year-- a plastic curtain divides the space. A propane heater brings the temperature up to 45-50 degrees at night.
Mom came out to help plant! Thanks!
And here we have the final state of the greenhouse, after weeks and months of building:
I spend a lot of time in there. Soon I'll be moving out into the fields, but things are still a little frosty outside. It's nice to be in 90 degree heat on a cold sunny day.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A good day to plow.

It has been a pretty wet spring so far, but we've had a nice week of sunny weather. The forecast was for more rain tonight, so I paced the fields nervously this morning trying to decide what to do. After turning over a few test shovel-fulls, and squishing the soil with my hands a lot to determine if it was indeed ready to work up, I got the feeling that today was a good day to plow. This half acre was totally thawed, and dry enough that we wouldn't compact the ground or damage the structure of the soil. Now, to find a tractor for the job. Bob's tractors are not going to work. The dealership I am buying my new Kubota from wouldn't have it ready until Friday. Well, Friday would be too late, the soil would be wet again. I called Jack, the farmer down the road. Too busy, he said. But he said, yes, it was "early ground" (he had worked these fields before), and today might just be a good day to plow. The other farmer down the road, Kenny, was nowhere to be found. I left a note on his house & on his barn. I peeked out onto his fields. He had plowed yesterday it looked like. The 2-bottom plow was sitting out there, and his tractors scattered around, taunting me. I was restless. Only 5 or 6 more hours before it would start raining. The sun went away & clouds started forming. The wind blew. I was in town trying to distract myself with errands, and tell myself that it was okay to wait another week. Then Jack called. He had his tractor started up & he was on his way, half an hour. I rushed back to the field in time to hear him speeding down the road, his huge 4-bottom plow raised up behind the tractor. He did the job in about 25 minutes. The 18" blades made fast work of the thick sod, turning it over to a depth of about 10 or 12". The soil was dark and filled with roots and earthworms. And rocks. But the tilth was just amazing. I can't wait to get my hands into this.

The grass will take a couple of weeks to decompose. Jack and I talked about what would come next. Should I disc it or just try to use the rototiller? He said that if this grass was Canary Reed Grass I will have a hard time killing it. Sudangrass might be easier. Bob doesn't remember what he planted. I can't find any seedheads to identify it. Jack said Roundup was just about the only thing that would kill Canary Reed Grass. Can't do it, I said. I'll just have to till and till. We'll see...
The raindrops started falling as dusk came over the farm, and I smiled. We might have something planted in the ground in a couple of weeks. Spring, the annual renewal of hope.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Great Disruption

Monday, March 2, 2009

plastic is on the greenhouse!

Thanks to all who came out to help! We got the 2 layers of plastic stretched over the greenhouse frame, and bolted it all down tight. There's still lots more to do, but that was the hard part. Soon we'll be starting seeds-- stop by in a few weeks to see what's growing!