Farm Infrastructure

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I originally wrote this article for and it was published in The Canadian Organic Growers Magazine’s Spring 2016 issue. TCOG (for short) magazine is a great magazine that you can either subscribe to online or as a print/paper copy. Check it out! This article was written as a follow-up to the first article I wrote on this issue originally published in the ACORN newsletter (and later published in The BC Organic Grower). After years of using biodegradable biobased mulch films (or biofilms for brevity), in early 2015 certified organic farmers in Canada were told that biofilms would no longer be […]

Biodegradable Plastic Mulches No Longer Allowed in Canadian ...

  The sun feels good! It’s been nice to see plants that spend the winter in the ground sprouting up and doing well. With the mild winter that alternated snow and thaw, we weren’t sure how things would overwinter. It’s still unknown whether everything did well….our overwintered onions seem alive but their black plastic ground cover blew off during heavy winds mixed with thawed out soil. A bed of overwintered baby kale (never harvested) looks really nice and we’ll be harvesting from it soon. This year our biennial flowers were planted into beds that were pretty wet this winter….though bulbs […]

Spring Update on the Farm

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I wrote this article for ACORN’s summer 2015 newsletter and am now republishing it here. At the end of March of this year (2015), we found a memo in our inbox from Ecocert (the organic certifying body that we are certified with). In this memo, we were told that we would no longer be able to use the biodegradable plastic mulch (made with non-GMO corn starch) that we had been using unless we removed it after use. We were surprised and concerned. It was definitely a little last-minute! We still had leftover rolls of it at the farm from last […]

The Case of the Unapproved Biodegradable Plastic Mulch

On our small farm, projects often come about after some internet research and using odd pieces of “junk” we’ve got hanging around. One of this winter’s projects was a germination chamber. Some of our seeds require light to germinate but most vegetable seeds don’t. They do need consistent moisture though. So, in an effort to reduce the space that seedling trays take up before the baby plants emerge (at which point they do require light) and in order to reduce the watering these trays need so they don’t dry out, many growers use a germination (or sweat) chamber. Since we […]

DIY Germination Chamber

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Saving seed is one thing…but then cleaning it is a whole other thing. Why clean it? Well, when we first harvest the seed, we just want to get it out of the elements and keep it dry. Along with the seeds, we end up bringing in all kinds of other bits of the plant. In order to incorporate seed saving into the operations of our small farm, we need to try to make the process of both harvesting seed and re-planting the seeds we’ve saved, as efficient as possible. You know when you buy seed and you open up that […]

Work Bee: Building a Seed Cleaner

Last Sunday, we hosted a hands-on workshop called Extending Your Season with Caterpillar Tunnels, presented by ACORN’s Grow a Farmer program as part of their Learning Series. The timing was great as we’re in the midst of putting up 5 caterpillar tunnels (3 for vegetable crops, 1 for cut flowers, and 1 for vegetable seed crops). If you look back on this blog (here), you will see that we wrote about putting up the caterpillar tunnels a few years ago. There have been a few changes since then that we will highlight in this blog post. I really want to […]

Caterpillar Tunnel Workshop, class of ‘14