Seed starting, greenhouse preparations, raised beds.
It is officially fall here on the farm, but seed starting and planting are just ramping up for us this year. The first seeds to germinate in the field were a cover cop of oats and winter peas. We planted these into a few of the field blocks we had tarped, and then worked with the rotary plow, having added some composted manure in order to give the cover crop enough fertility to get a good start on growth. This combo of oats and peas will not survive through the winter, but will die back once the weather really turns, leaving a mulch of plant residue to protect the soil from the water and wind erosion that happens to bare soil over winter. By spring the mulch will be mostly decomposed, and the field ready to be worked for spring cops, adding a bit of organic matter to the soil.
We are also currently filling our basement with seedlings destined for our future greenhouse. It will still be a few weeks before the structure itself goes up, but we are starting some cool season greens like lettuce, and kale, and green onions ahead of time so they can be transplanted into the greenhouse beds as soon as the structure is complete. We are also doing a trial of overwintering onions, which will be transplanted outside into raised beds in a few weeks.
Just this week we had a larger diameter water line installed, and brought to the greenhouse location, so we will have year-round water access, and we have also been working hard at grading and levelling the site to reduce some of the slope that exists pretty much everywhere on our farm.
This greenhouse will be minimally heated through the winter using a hydronic radiant heating system to warm the growing beds directly via hot water sent through PEX pipe buried in the soil. We hope to minimize the energy and fuel needed to keep our more tender winter greens alive by only heating their immediate surroundings instead of the entire greenhouse structure.
We are continuing to plug away at setting up our infrastructure, and are very excited about all of the very big things happening in the next few months!
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