A bushel of Music

Bushel of Music garlic

A bushel of Music garlic: The bulbs were significantly smaller than expected, for no reason I could point to, but the fine, strong flavor is fully there. Still plenty of time for planting, going by the 14-day weather forecast… Cause if you can’t count on the weather, what can you count on?!

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Won’t give in to the cold

Lettuce overwintering in unheated greenhouse

Lettuce, under a hoop-supported layer of medium weight row cover in the unheated greenhouse, is crisp, colorful, and fresh as daisies. This lettuce mix was planted in October, and some of it cut once in December, and now it’s waiting out the winter. Outside low so far: not bad, around -22°C. Kind of the same picture every time – dead or alive – but still always exciting when you’re there… (:

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Seedlings in January!

Tomato seeds and plugsheet

The earliest ever tomatoes experiment begins… Parts of the plan include a proven super-early variety, multiple seedling start dates, and the unheated greenhouse!

Winter farming in a nutshell

New Year's Day greenhouse

Winter farming in a nutshell: Sundown, New Year’s Day 2017, checking up on the greenhouse after a rattler of a windy night. The snow buildup, the low-riding sun captured by plastic over hoops of steel – it’s all still here! 🙂

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Greens in the sun

[From 3-Jun-2016] Not the best place for them to be, basking in the sun, but it’s only for a moment, fresh in from the field, and they’re also bathing in chilly well water. Mustards, mizunas, lettuces, kales, bok choi, more… Salad mixes are what’s up for the moment, hanging in there and quite delectable, even as the heat and near total absence of rain continue for the third week straight!Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

Lettuce landscape

Plugsheets of lettuce

A tiny landscape of lettuces: Especially with the hot, dry weather we’ve been having, you can’t go wrong with a few trays of leaf lettuce seedlings, lending support to the baby greens in the field! Transplanted at 8-10″ spacing, lettuces in a variety of colors and shapes—oakleafs, salad bowls, lollos—can be picked at least a couple of times as leaves for a bigger-leaf greens mix, or thinned as they start to really fill out, with two or three varieties bundled and the rest left to grow all the way. Lettuce options!

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First salad greens of the outdoor season

First brassica greens from the field

The season’s first field planting of salad greens, making a brief public appearance from under row cover, where they’re in flea beetle protection – we’re weeding today. Mustards, bok choi, arugula (a brassica relative), mizunas and more. So perfectly tasty, plucked straight from the ground, with a little dirt garnish for good measure…

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Greens, protected!

Brassica greens under row cover

Floating row cover, weighed down and made semi-transparent by water, is all that stands between fine young brassica greens and the scourge of the flea beetle. The cover is placed right after seeding, weighed down by rocks every 12.5′ feet, briefly rolled back for weeding, and progressively loosened as the greens grow—we use 14′ wide sheets on 10′ wide beds. This medium-weight cover has worked as a good all-round solution, offering a few degrees of frost protection, and more durable than a lighter, insect-only weight, which would allow better light transmission (this medium weight one is 85%) and better air circulation, but also be more likely to tear.

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The indispensably cheap sprinkler

Cheap lawn sprinklers

[From 4 May 2016] Cheap! To truly appreciate tiny farming, you have to embrace the humble tools that make it all possible, like these cheap ($6) plastic lawn sprinklers that work with the well pump’s low pressure (maybe 20% of normal urban tap psi), where better quality models are too well-built (heavy) to move. On the hunt for more replacements, I picked up a couple of versions at a second stop, after a failed attempt in the sprawling garden center of a giant hardware store, where they’d stopped carrying the cheap stuff. Overhead irrigation is inefficient at any scale, what with evaporation and water being blown off target, but at this small scale, it’s still an effective time-saver for watering in newly seeded beds…Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

More Planet Jr. action!

Planet Jr in action

[From 5 May 2016] The Planet Jr. rides again. Clara learns the way of the antique seeder, having just laid down three rows of Kestrel beets. This old seeder continues to serve well!