Saturday, January 25, 2014

Time to Get Started

The days are getting longer, the seeds have arrived, the high tunnel crops are growing again, and the last days of January are upon us. We have come to learn over the years that when those things align, it is time to start the season.

Today the first seeds of 2014 were planted in the greenhouse...Walla Walla onions, to be followed by spring high tunnel crops of lettuce, Asian greens, herbs and many more treats. We are looking forward to the harvest.

First seed of 2014
Plans for the season are ambitious. We have already started on an expansion of the greenhouse. It was quite tight last season, and we plan on adding a 12 x 12 area that can be dedicated as a "potting shed." While the weather was warm and the ground unfrozen last week we began the earthmoving and trenching needed to place the foundation. A trip to the lumberyard for materials, some warm days and a few extra hands and we will be ready to start building.

Potting shed outline
Other plans include a new pole barn to house our equipment and shop, so that the old barn can be cleared out. This will allow more room for processing vegetables and construction of a fermentarium. Future production of fermented products like kim chi, sauerkraut and pickles is on our radar.

Sunny and Momma chillin'
This project is in part dependent the continued improvement of our vegetable production abilities. We applied for a Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grant (SARE) in the fall to look into adding "reduced tillage" methods to our repertoire. If the system works for us we will be able to roll-down our cover crops, let them die back, and then plant directly into the mulch that they create. This will save the need to apply hay mulch by hand, a significant labor and cost savings.

All this while keeping our number one priority, our CSA, loaded with fresh vegetables and fruit. No problem right? We love a challenge and look forward to meeting our goals, but a workforce for the year would help. We still have two apprenticeship positions open, though we have had some nibbles. And we are looking for a qualified person for our seasonal full-time position. If you know anyone who is up to either task, send them to our website's Apprentice page.

Our birds
Birds passing through

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