Green house/Hoop house


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!

As we load the trucks and head into Madison with 10,500 pounds of vegetables and 6,480 pounds of citrus, ice and snow aren’t on our mind. Not today, when it is predicted to be about 25 degrees warmer than average and close to the record for warmest day in recorded history (55 degrees in 1911). Somehow I’m having a hard time remembering that particular day. What I do remember is a blizzard in 2009 the day before the Storage Share delivery. We all spent that entire day plowing and shoveling so we could move the trucks to the loading dock, get them loaded and drive the trucks up the driveway; no small feat. Oh yea, then we had to drive around Madison.

This week’s non–blizzardy, warm weather has allowed us to work on a different job. We replaced the plastic on our greenhouse. Traditional greenhouse plastic has a finite life, about 5 years, and then light transmission becomes compromised. David discovered a new product that should never have to be replaced and is said to have exceptional light transmission. It looks like bubble wrap and comes in sheets that get slid into channels. Quite different from traditional plastic that gets pulled over the greenhouse in one big sheet.

We’ve enjoyed this week and the crew has one more week of work before they gets a 10 week break until we start planting seeds in the newly covered greenhouse.

Barb

Happy Winter and see you next season!

A 2009 storage share delivery preparation. We are thankful for 2015 weather!

A 2009 storage share delivery preparation. We are thankful for 2015 weather!

The old plastic is coming off.

The old plastic is coming off.

All off. Now David and his crew will attach the channels and make other modifications. There is always room for improvement and innovation.

All off. Now David and his crew will attach the channels and make other modifications. There is always room for improvement and innovation.

David talks with us as we prepare to pull on the first section of new bubble plastic. Notice the wooden 2x4s. This modification has to do with a roll down ventilation system we are adding.

David talks with us as we prepare to pull on the first section of new bubble plastic. Notice the wooden 2x4s. This modification has to do with a roll down ventilation system we are adding.

Eric and J-Mo hold the roll, Barb and Becca guide it through the channel and Jesse stands on a ladder pulling it up.

Eric and J-Mo hold the roll, Barb and Becca guide it through the channel and Jesse stands on a ladder pulling it up.

ection by section it goes on. Eric and Becca guiding it up. Now David is on the ladder.

Section by section it goes on. Eric and Becca guiding it up. Now David is on the ladder.

We began delivering vegetables last week. We began planting seeds in the greenhouse in March. So much gets accomplished before you see a vegetable. By the end of this month we (the farmers and crew) will have reached the halfway mark in our work season. Harvesting and packing share boxes brings a whole new welcome perspective to our weeks. And of course it is why we do everything we do around here. Welcome to the bounty!

Lettuce Head Harvest this week:

Wednesday morning lettuce harvest crew. Barb, Becca, Rachel, Tom, LaVina, Chris, Georgia, Chad

Wednesday morning lettuce harvest crew. Barb, Becca, Rachel, Tom, LaVina, Chris, Georgia, Chad

Chad - Tom - Becca

Chad                                            Tom                                                Becca

This is what was happening in May:

The crew is ‘tucking’ in sweet corn plants. We start our sweet corn in the greenhouse, transplant it into the fields using a mechanical transplanter and if field conditions are not exactly perfect we need to ‘tuck’ it in to make sure it is standing up straight.

The crew is ‘tucking’ in sweet corn plants. We start our sweet corn in the greenhouse, transplant it into the fields using a mechanical transplanter and if field conditions are not exactly perfect we need to ‘tuck’ it in to make sure it is standing up straight.

David cultivating celery. We do a lot of weeding. This is one way we do it.

David cultivating celery. We do a lot of weeding. This is one way we do it.

Putting row cover over newly planted watermelon plants. We do this for insect control.

Putting row cover over newly planted watermelon plants. We do this for insect control.

We just finished row covering this field of squash to keep those darn insect from devouring them.

Just finishing putting row cover on this field of squash to keep those darn insects from devouring them.

Pounding posts between tomato plants. As soon as the plants get big enough we will begin to trellis them, wrapping trellising twine around each post and stretching it next to the sides of the plants.

Pounding posts between tomato plants. As soon as the plants get big enough we will begin to trellis them, wrapping trellising twine around each post and stretching it next to the sides of the plants.

 

With a splash of winter for good measure. It’s 34 degrees as I write this (early Thursday morning). We tend to define spring and summer by the crops that are growing. Spring began in February with seeding for the spring share and since we are delivering our last spring share today, we declare it to be the beginning of summer. The hoophouses have totally transformed. Yesterday we planted peppers (4896 of them) and eggplants (2880 of them) into the fields. Today we will plant all of the tomatoes, summer squash (including zucchini), winter squash and cucumbers. Earlier in the week we transplanted the first sweet corn and all of the basil for the Pesto Fest. So you see, it is summer on the farm. Now the evening temperatures just need to get out of the 30s.

Barb

Transformation of the hoophouse:

Rachel planting tomatoes into the hoophouse on April 7

Rachel planting tomatoes into the hoophouse on April 7

This is what the hoophouse looks like today.

This is what the hoophouse looks like today.

The hard working people that grow your food! Here we are Wednesday afternoon after a long day of bagging and washing crops for the last spring share and transplanting lots of vegetables into the fields.

The hard working people that grow your food! Here we are Wednesday afternoon after a long day of bagging and washing crops for the last spring share and transplanting lots of vegetables into the fields. Standing: Chris Klaeser, Tom Sonnenberg,Eric Perkins, sitting: Eric (J-Mo) Friedericks, Barb Perkins, Becca Osborne

David Perkins (in tractor) and Jesse Perkins (standing). These guys prepare the fields and operate the tractors for transplanting.

David Perkins (in tractor) and Jesse Perkins (standing). These guys prepare the fields and operate the tractors for transplanting.

See you in June!

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