Winter Growing

unheated high tunnel
It’s so rewarding to put on your toque and boots and run out for a bowl of fresh greens while the ground is still covered in snow! For farmers relying on selling winter greens for income, there’s more to consider than what I’ll describe. Whole books and conferences are devoted to this subject. But for the backyard gardener, growing some winter greens isn’t as crazy as you might think. Best case scenario: You have homegrown greens in the winter, fresher than anything from the grocery store. Worst case scenario: You’re in the same boat as you were before. For winter […]

Growing Cold-Hardy Winter Greens

  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

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

You may not know this but tomorrow is a big national celebration of something great: Kale. Yep, October 2nd is National Kale Day. Kale is also a big deal for us on many other days of the year. Why? Because kale is one of our favourite crops and a favourite vegetable for many of our customers. Many of our customers buy kale from us every week. We also have many customers who are new to kale and ask us how to eat kale. On our farm, kale thought bubbles first begin when we are doing crop planning and seed ordering […]

Kale….it’s kind of a big deal.

Last Saturday was our first week back at the Dieppe Market of the season. We had some cabbage, rutabaga, and pumpkins but we really had a lot of spinach! We wanted to let our customers know how we had this spinach to sell so early in the year. This is the story: We planted the spinach seeds in trays back in late September of 2012. We couldn’t sow them in their final destination in the caterpillar tunnels because we still had tomatoes pumping out delicious fruit at that time. Note: in this picture, I’m actually sowing peas but I don’t […]

The Story of the Winter Spinach

  We hosted a work-party to help erect two caterpillar tunnels. Much like a greenhouse, caterpillar tunnels will provide a sheltered, warmer growing environment for crops, but there are a few important differences. Caterpillar tunnels are: less expensive simpler and faster to construct easily moved from one location to another in the field There is no one way to build these structures, we’ve learned. The design for our tunnels was inspired by Ted Blomgren from Windflower Farm in NY. We also sought inspiration from the construction of the caterpillar tunnels at La Ferme Cooperative Tourne-Sol, which are well documented in […]

Putting up the caterpillars