Dabbling in Greenhouse Delights
I'm no expert gardener and I certainly know NOTHING about greenhouses, but we have one, and this year, I am taking it on. Before I even have anything growing in it, I am exhausted, and with my detest of landscape fabric and plastic irrigation tubing, I am likely going to be far more exhausted by mid-July. I'd bet my bottom dollar that I'll be calling myself names by then as well. NINCOMPOOP for starters. Will I be able to keep up with the INSANE weeds that will be growing out there soon? Will I be able to figure out a rational way to water without using drip line and timers? Will I be able to work morning or night when the hot house is COOL? Oh for gardening goodness! What have I gotten myself into?
Hopefully, this garden tiller will help me through the summer of weeds!
For my city friends, this is a hydrant - not to be confused with a pump. The handle is lifted (not pumped up and down) and the water turns on. Farms use these year round. They don't freeze up because they are designed to immediately drain water back down and out of them.
At the Dirt Farm, I grow in twenty-six permanent raised beds where veggies are rotated each year, compost is added to the tops and the beds are most often covered in straw to help suppress weeds and maintain moisture. This is a form of PERMACULTURE, or permanent agriculture. Since I made the garden, I don't ever till the soil, but instead lightly loosen it each planting season with a broadfork. The idea behind this style of gardening is that by building permanent raised beds, the microcosms of fungi, bacteria and critters can do their thing without disruption. I've had these beds in the works now for eight seasons, and I do have an increasing amount of crabgrass, it's tricky to keep the paths between the beds weeded, and with the straw for moisture, the garden is home to quite a family of slugs. It seems that it might be time this fall to till up the entire garden, plant winter rye for it's allelopathic properties that keep weeds from germinating and rebuild the raised beds next spring. Cultivating is a great way to knock down weeds as they emerge. I'll be using that tiller in the greenhouse for sure!
In the greenhouse, I have formed raised beds also. I'll use the tiller to manage weeds between rows, and hand hoe and weed the tops of the beds as needed. I'll likely use cardboard to smother out the weeds or straw if I have areas that are either large and easy to access between the plants, or only need a light covering. All in the name of being proactive in the fight for getting nutrients to the plants I want to eat...and making the greenhouse something lovely to see in action. I'm always the first to start a "Beautification Project!" Lake View Organic Farm Greenhouse Beautification Project has officially begun.
What will I plant in the greenhouse, you ask? Well, the hot house lovers are first in line: tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, and peppers. I'm also anxious to get some of the tender herbs like basil, lemongrass and rosemary going out there. Of course, if I were really on top of this gig, I'd already have lettuce, beets, spinach, peas, radishes, kale, onions and herbs like parsley and cilantro growing. Broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts will make a showing, too! I love growing things we don't see in the grocery, so expect some surprises! I expect there will be some flowers, too! A beautification project just can't be without flowers!
Of course, none of this will be possible if I can't keep the chickens out in the first place! They could destroy a new garden in a few short minutes by scratching and digging in the nice fluffy soil! William is going to help me seal it up and build some screens so we can keep it vented.
Ok, what else is going on...
HIKING TRAILS - take a field to forest tour of the farm. We have three trails of different distances open. You can check out our Lake View on a short walk through the main farm, hike 1.5 miles on our closest Sugar Trail where we tap maples, or immerse yourself in fields, pasture and Sugar Trails on a 3-5 mile hike depending on the route you choose. Park at the store and check in with Sarah for details, maps and directions.
WOMEN'S WRITING WORKSHOP (Sign up with this link) Sunday, April 18th 12:45 - 4:30 rain or shine! I'm looking forward to this gathering for writing. This workshop will help generate ideas for writing, get you out in Mother Nature, provide a bit of exercise and the opportunity to make a few new friends! Join us. There is space available.
FARM STORE We have eggs most days, syrup, sunflower oil and an expanded line of farmhouse bars! Last fall's apples worked their way into a recipe with figs for some serious yum! There are lots of other goodies - sunflower oil soap, CBD Soothing Bath Soak, Skin Moisturizers and a new line of balms. The store is stocked with all kinds of crazy goodies! The only way to experience it is to see it. It's truly a unique place on earth.
SPRING BLOOMS IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD
We're getting rain for the next few days, so I expect the landscape will green up and gardens and flowers will be bursting soon!
Happy Spring to you all.
Sending love from the farm,