Milky Way Farm Newsletter #5 (March 2019)

Spring weather doesn’t seem to be quite on its way, but we have been busy this past month getting our heat and hot water working in the new greenhouse, and starting the first of our spring and summer crops which will make their way to market, and fill out CSA veggie boxes.
 Even though this past February has been a particularly cold one, we have been spending most of our days with our hands already in the soil, preparing our greenhouse growing beds, and setting up our new propagation area, where we will grow most of our transplants once we raise the temperature a bit more.

We installed PEX tubing at a depth of 8 inches below the soil in our growing beds, which are circulating hot water using a tankless water heater as a way to heat the soil and supply heat right where the plants need it, at their roots, instead of heating the entire greenhouse air space through the winter. This supplemental hydronic heat should also allow us to plant out tomatoes and peppers a bit earlier without shocking the plants with cold soil. We will still heat the greenhouse air once the tomatoes and peppers are planted out, but we should be able to lower the temperature a bit, and hopefully save on propane costs.

We are also using this heated water function to create a heated bench for our tomato and pepper seedlings as they grow by running the PEX tubing on top of an insulated table.

Our basement light racks are still filling up with newly sprouted trays of seeds, including perennial herbs and beneficial insect attracting flowers which will eventually make their way into our perennial orchard strips. And this upcoming week we will be making a big seeding push as many of our early brassicas like cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, as well as Swiss chard and beet will be started in our seedling germination chamber. These will be grown out under lights on racks for a few weeks before making their way to the greenhouse propagation area to continue a few more weeks of growth, waiting for the snow to melt and for spring to officially arrive.


Onions were the first seeds we planted this year, and are hardy enough to grow in the main greenhouse area, which we keep heated to 4 degrees C.

CSA SIGN-UP NOW OPEN!

We are now accepting sign-ups for the Summer 2019 season of our weekly veggie box program. Joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program helps us farmers make sure the veggies we grow this season will find a good home (hopefully on your dinner table!), and also helps us cover all of our early season costs associated with producing these veggies.

We offer two different “share” sizes, a full share designed to feed a family of four, and a small share, to feed a family of two, and offer full choice over what goes into your share each week. Members will come to the farm to pick up their shares Tuesdays between 4-8pm, and will choose 15 veggies (full share) or 8 veggies (small share) from our display tables. Payment is due at the start of the CSA season, but as a benefit members will receive a discount above retail prices found at the market.


Our Summer CSA weekly veggie box program starts June 11th, and runs for 18 weeks.

An example of a mid-late summer Full Share CSA box

All Summer CSA veggies are harvested fresh the day of pick-up, ensuring you are getting veggies at the peak of their flavour and nutritional value.

We have been seeding and transplanting into the beds we have prepped in the greenhouse in anticipation of attending the Kitchener Farmer’s Market in a few weeks. We will be bringing our over-wintered spinach, and hopefully some radishes and salad turnips, with lettuce mix and other salad greens following in the weeks to come. Come and see us inside the main market building at 300 King St. E in downtown Kitchener if you live in the area.

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