Monday, September 27, 2010

Week 17 update

Four of us (Greg, Jen, Kitty and Nate) spent the weekend up in the Laurel Highlands at the Mother Earth News Fair. We had a great time learning new tips and tricks of sustainability, meeting like-minded people and coming away with ideas of how to improve our operations on the farm and build community. Many ominous words were thrown around: peak oil, economic down-turn, climate change . . . but in answer to that, the workshop themes covered such topics as resilience, local economies, healthy food, DIY, sustainable living and green design. We came away with new knowledge but also feeling like we may be a bit ahead of the curve. We’re inspired to increase our seed saving practices, to help secure our local food economies and explore biochar production, among may other opportunities!

On the home front, our friend down the road has hooked us up with five 300 gallon plastic barrels (they used to contain honey!). We’re going to clean them out and then use them as water storage for animals and/or as rain barrels for the barn and house. We plan to decrease our usage of municipal water and conserve any run-off into our streams and rivers. As little as one-tenth of an inch of rain can cause sewage overflow into our rivers. We might as well catch that rain and water the garden!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

It’s crazy how quickly time passes! Already we’re seeing hints of fall colors and crisp nights. We seeded our two high tunnels for the late season harvest with spicy greens mix, turnips (yes - more!), lettuce mix, cilantro, carrots and nasturtiums. We planted late season tomatoes (Cosmonaut Volkov) in hopes of harvesting them after heavy frosts settle in. In the spring, (during the excessively wet months) we built raised beds in the back half of each tunnel and filled them with compost. It’s aways easy to leave the tunnels out of our rotation system - as it is such valuable space and it’s hard to leave them fallow for green manure or cover cropping. Instead, we’ll keep adding organic matter and healthy nutrients to keep them going. Sometimes compost can be high in nitrogen and therefore is good for growing leafy greens but not root crops which prefer phosphorus for successful growth. We’re planting a variety of vegetables and will feel out this new soil situation before we set our minds on growing any particular variety.

Keep thinking rainy thoughts for us. Although we did get some rain - it’s been a particularly dry summer/fall and we sure could use more regular amounts of rain. We’re coming full circle and will start providing you with more cool weather crops (greens, squash and potatoes) soon.