Green house/Hoop house


Yesterday was a gorgeous warm, overcast day as we harvested the last of the greens for the Spring Share. We experience beginning and ending three times as we prepare for, plant, harvest and deliver the different shares we offer. We divide our growing season into three seasons in order to give you, our members, choice. Early season greens, main season a bit of everything, late season roots.

Along with completing the harvest we also transitioned the hoophouse from a bounty of greens to a tomato house. The tomatoes had been planted alongside the greens, but not until we had all of the greens out and all of the weeds out and all of the trellis poles up could we see the impact of this transition. Then we layed the drip irrigation alongside each row of tomatoes. The tomatoes get watered from below and the greens got watered from above. The last thing we did before walking out was turn on the irrigation. There are already tomatoes on the plants!

Thank you so much for participating in our Spring Share season. You may not know this, but ALL of the vegetables we grow on this farm are delivered to you through our CSA (except potatoes which we also grow for our seed potato sales). Let your friends know that we still have CSA shares available for the rest of the season.

Barb

The last harvest from one of our hoophouses (the one we call “The Colossal”). The crops pictured are sauté mix and arugula.

Abigail and Eric harvesting lettuce heads between the rows of tomatoes.

Tonny and Eric (J-Mo) harvesting fennel.

Five hours later………No more vegetables or weeds! And the tomatoes are getting happily irrigated with the drip irrigation.

Another view of the tomatoes.

Rhubarb harvest in the smallest of our rhubarb beds.

It’s 10:00. The trucks just pulled out laden with spring greens; a crew of 6 is out in the fields transplanting cabbage, Swiss chard, spinach, kohlrabi and fennel; David is on his tractor planting radish and turnip seeds, Eric is in the potting shed seeding popcorn. We packed 225 Spring Shares and cut 1,000 pounds or so of seed potatoes. The squash, watermelon and sweet corn transplants were moved out of their cozy warm germination chamber into the greenhouse and the salad mix transplants were moved into the area where we harden off the plants to prepare them for transplanting. Now what?

The transplanting will continue most of the day, the delivery drivers will pull in around 3:00, Eric will stay busy with farm tasks, David will likely be on his tractor all day, Jesse will be planting potatoes and Jonnah and I get to catch up on office work.

We couldn’t have been happier to see the sun come out yesterday and the soil begin to dry out and warm up. We spent a cold rainy Monday in the damp potting shed seeding all day. We spent a cold windy day Tuesday harvesting in the hoophouses. We totally enjoyed Wednesday as we continued harvest and started the week’s transplanting. It’s May on the Farm!

Barb

Watercress harvest. The watercress grows in a little spring fed stream on the border of our wetland. The most fun and challenging part of this job is figuring out how to set up the harvest to avoid stepping knee deep into muck. We’re not always successful, Sophal slipped off and filled his boot with water.

Washing tot soi. We all stand around the tub of ice cold water rubbing off dirt and removing bad leaves. Barb, Yun, Ryna, Eric (J-Mo), Neing, Phearo.

Sorrel harvest. Sorrel is a perennial and is one of the first plants to come up in spring. It’s cut, then washed and spun dry and bagged.

Harvesting Red Russian Kale, one of the greens in the sauté mix. Notice how the crew has to work around the tomato plants. We inter-plant tomatoes in our hoophouse alongside the greens. Once the greens are all harvested the house turns into a jungle of tomatoes

Now we’re waiting for the lamb! Not complaining, only waiting. March has been a particularly cloudy month. This is the month we begin planting in the greenhouse and have already filled two hoophouses with spring share vegetables. Those vegetables are green and beautiful but could sure use some sun! This is March, I have not forgotten where I live. I know the sun is up there somewhere.

The rhubarb, chives and sorrel out in the fields are looking beautiful. The rhubarb was weeded yesterday, the chives and sorrel raked. Yesterday David and Jesse were driving tractors back and forth for ten hours, spreading rock minerals on the fields.

We hear new birds every day and our resident Sandhill Cranes are noisy as ever as they stake out their territory.

The farm is relatively quiet and peaceful as we gear up. We find indoor jobs on these rainy days and look forward to the promise of sun on Saturday, no April fools I hope.

Barb

Lettuce and onions in the greenhouse.

Tomatoes in the greenhouse. In two weeks it will get planted into the hoophouse alongside the Spring Share vegetables.

Little spinach in the hoophouse.

Spring Share in the hoophouse. As soon as the sun shines these plants will grow very quickly.

 

Our son Eric is getting married on Saturday. The wedding is on the farm. What a great reason to get everything looking absolutely gorgeous. We spent Monday transplanting spinach, broccoli, celery and lettuce. We harvested rhubarb, turnips, radishes, scallions, spinach. Then after the work day was done and employees had gone home, eight yards of mulch (for the flower gardens) was delivered. Let the party begin. On Tuesday there was more harvest and washing of vegetables. In addition, the flower gardens around the house got weeded and mulched. We transformed one hoophouse from spring share to tomatoes. The tomatoes have been growing side by side with the greens. Once we finish harvesting the greens we tear the roots out, weed the area clean and change over the irrigation from sprinklers to drip. On Wednesday we finished the harvest, bagged the greens and got the yard looking really pretty. The decorating crew came on Wednesday night to transform the barn into a dance floor. Oh yea, we had to clean out the barn too. Best wishes to Eric and Loretta!   -Barb

The last harvest of salad mix.

The last harvest of salad mix.

Cleaning out the beds we have finished harvesting. Removing the roots of arugula as we make more room for the tomatoes.

Cleaning out the beds we have finished harvesting. Removing the roots of arugula as we make more room for the tomatoes.

Harvesting fennel. One of the last standing crops in the hoophouse.

Harvesting fennel. One of the last standing crops in the hoophouse.

And now onto wedding preparations:

Mulch pile on driveway (or is it a dog bed?)

Mulch pile on driveway (or is it a dog bed?)

Garden mulching crew.

Garden mulching crew.

Eric, the groom, getting it all in shape.

Eric, the groom, getting it all in shape.

Tom doing some fine tuning.

Tom doing some fine tuning.

And things are in full swing around here. Here’s a glimpse of our week…..Monday: Harvest salad mix, saute mix, arugula, radishes. Wash them in tubs of icy water. Band the radishes. Cut seed potatoes. Spend hours in the greenhouse planting sweet corn, lettuce, summer squash, winter squash and watermelon. Transplant broccoli, kohlrabi cabbage in the fields. Seed radishes and turnips in the field. Tuesday: Harvest spinach, dandelion greens, ramps, watercress, sorrel. Wash them in tubs of icy water. Bag salad mix. Finish cutting 25,000 pounds of seed potatoes!!!! Transplant fennel and swiss chard in the fields. Wednesday: Wash and band ramps. Bag sauté mix, spinach, sorrel, arugula, watercress. Move lots of plants out of the greenhouse to make room for more. Harvest lettuce heads and tot soi. Wash them. Weed the sauté mix and around the tomatoes in the hoophouse. Power wash over 100 seed trays so we can use them again next week to plant into. Begin to trellis the tomatoes in the hoophouse. Plant potatoes. Now it’s Thursday and we will pack the spring share boxes and deliver them. While two delivery trucks head out, the rest of the crew will stay busy on the farm. I’m sure they will find something to do. We love what we do and it brings us great joy to grow vegetables for you! Thank you.

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Washing and banding radishes in the packing shed.

Washing and banding radishes in the packing shed.

Watercress harvest. We find the watercress just behind our greenhouse growing wild in a spring fed stream.

Watercress harvest. We find the watercress just behind our greenhouse growing wild in a spring fed stream.

A harvester’s view of the watercress while standing on the board. If anyone slips off the board they sink into muck up to their knees.

A harvester’s view of the watercress while standing on the board. If anyone slips off the board they sink into muck up to their knees.

Pounding posts between the tomato plants so we can trellis them. You can see our spring share crops and interplanted with the tomatoes.

Pounding posts between the tomato plants so we can trellis them. You can see our spring share crops and interplanted with the tomatoes.

What a great time of year; everything is bursting with new life and promise. The farm is such a beautiful and vibrant place with a haze of spring green on the hills and gentle rain and loud cranes and baby plants and lots of activity. It’s been a fun week balancing greenhouse planting with the first harvest. The tractors have been busy tilling the ground in preparation for all that will be seeded and transplanted in the next week. Peas were planted today. Garlic plants are huge. Lettuce heads, broccoli, scallions and onions have been transplanted. It’s spring!

This week we bring to you vegetables that have been grown in the hoophouse along with chives grown outside and ramps foraged from the woods. It is all interesting, but the ramps seem to hold a special interest because they are so unique. Following are some pictures from Monday’s ramp harvest.

Hard at work amongst the ramps blanketing the forest floor.

Hard at work amongst the ramps blanketing the forest floor.

Eric, Becky and Abby showing off some freshly dug ramps. They will break apart the clumps and separate the ramps.

Eric, Becky and Abby showing off some freshly dug ramps. They will break apart the clumps and separate the ramps.

Becca digging up ramp clusters.

Becca digging up ramp clusters.

Now they have been separated from the earth surrounding them.

Now they have been separated from the earth surrounding them.

Leaving the forest with our ramps, all 2400 of them.

Leaving the forest with our ramps, all 2400 of them.

And now to the controlled environment of our hoophouse. Abby and Barb harvesting lettuce heads. To the left are the Bok Choy heads we harvested next.

And now to the controlled environment of our hoophouse. Abby and Barb harvesting lettuce heads. To the left are the Bok Choy heads we harvested next.

Our 1500 square foot greenhouse is full! Now what? We need to move plants out and make room for more. We are at the peak of our spring greenhouse planting season and fill the greenhouse over and over again. When the greenhouse gets full we move the plants out into our hardening off area where they are exposed to cooler temperatures in preparation for getting planted into the fields. But this time of year can be tricky. Our greenhouse is heated but the hardening off area is not. If we move plants out too soon the risk is frost, and we don’t want them to freeze. So we wait until the night time temps are above freezing before moving plants out. It has been very cold at night in our valley, hitting the low 20’s multiple times. Tonight should be the last below freezing night. That means we can move all of the onions out tomorrow, all 30,000 of them! The peppers and eggplants will happily take their place and then we will have a full house again!

A full greenhouse.

A full greenhouse.

Onions! 30,336 cells of them! And 3 to 4 per cell.

Onions! 30,336 cells of them! And 3 to 4 per cell.

This week we will also plant tomatoes into a hoophouse. We’ve been carrying them into the hardening off area during the day and back into the greenhouse at night. This helps them toughen up and also frees up greenhouse space. They rest on the floor at night. We wait for warmer evening temperatures before planting them in the hoophouse since tomatoes are so sensitive.

Crates of tomatoes ready to be planted in the hoophouse.

Crates of tomatoes ready to be planted in the hoophouse.

While all of this is happening in the greenhouse, the Spring Share plants are happily growing in one of our hoophouses. They can withstand temperatures in the 20’s. Once hardy plants are in the ground they have more ability to get through those cold nights. In just two weeks we will begin harvest and delivery of the Spring Share. So sign up for yours if you haven’t already.

A beautiful patchwork of delicious Spring Share vegetables!

A beautiful patchwork of delicious Spring Share vegetables!

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