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Friday, March 10, 2006

It's Been a Busy Week...

It's been a busy week in Lake Wobegone...Oh wait that's Garrison Keillor's line from a A Prairie Home Companion which airs live Saturday evenings at 6pm on most public radio stations across the USA.

Lets start again. It's been a busy week here at Boulder Belt Farm. Spring is here (The whistlepig was wrong!) and we have stepped up the work load a bit (we are not in full swing yet but we are getting there. It has been a rainy but warmish week which has made working in the market garden a bit hard to do but we did have dry weather Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and so Eugene was able to get the beds we need for strawberries and asparagus tilled (plus a couple of more ready for spinach and lettuce) so now all that needs to be done is getting irrigation and landscape fabric mulch put down on the strawberry beds so they will be ready for the strawberries when they arrive on March 15th (The Ides of March what killed Julius Caesar. Okay Brutus Killed Caesar on the Ides of March).

We got many thing started this week. We planted a bed of spinach which should be ready for the last winter market in April. I finally got the second phase of my onion experiment started by direct seeding a cold frame with 3 kinds of onions and 2 kinds of leeks. Phase 1 of this experiment was planting onion seeds in deep pots rather than into flats filled with soil to see if we would get bigger seedlings (so far the answer seems to be YES). Now I want to see if the seeds planting into the garden will be stronger seedlings than those in pots.

I also planted in soil blocks to go under grow lights (I use plain old fluorescent lights as they work just as well as "gro lights™" at about 1/3 the cost), a second round of lettuce (Salad Bowl, Lollo Rossa, New Red Fire and Nancy) , 4 kinds of tomatoes (yellow Taxi, Moscovich, Early Big Red and Sunsugar) that will go into a hoophouse for an early harvest sometime in June. Two kinds of celery (Ventura and Red ventura), fennel and artichokes from really old seed that I will be very surprised if we get any germination out of.

Yesterday, Molly, a Miami Student and also the current Market master of the Oxford Farmers' Market Uptown (a market I worked on from its' inception and later was a board member until this past November), came out to help us for the afternoon. Despite intermittent heavy downpours (it is spring after all) we managed to get a lot done with her help. We moved an old hay wagon that had been sitting where sever beds need to go since we bought the place to a new location where it will not be in our way (but it has not been moved to it's permanent and yet to be decided location).

After moving that we went into the hoophouse and finished cleaning up the beds. It was surprisingly wet in the hoophouse and got wetter as we worked. Water was seeping in from the bottom and the more it rained the higher it got. This made raking the beds a bit diffract where they were drenched and or under water. but most of the soil was dry as a bone so we were able to rake the big clumps of weeds out, put down irrigation tape and landscaping fabric mulch over top and get the edges of that dug into the ground to the mulch is reasonably tight. In 2 weeks we ought have the crops that will be going into that house-Cucumbers and specialty zucchini ready to go into the house so we will have early cukes and zukes for market. We try to get these crop ready to go at least 6 weeks before anyone else has such items to offer at market.
It was fun working with Molly and she helped us get a lot done in a short amount of time (about 4 hours).

Today it is supposed to be sunny early and than rain some more this afternoon and evening. It will be too wet to any outside work but we plan to make a few flats of soil blocks and plant some cucumber and zucchini seeds. After we are done with that we will run some errands in town and perhaps look for ancient human artifacts (aka "arrowheads") in the garden beds since the heavy rains have washed the soil in the beds and things have been exposed.

1 comment:

Joe said...

I'm a few days behind in my blog reading but wanted to comment on this post from last week. I'd be interested in learning more about your celery cultivation. Also, do you use a commercial mix for your soil blocks? I've had bad luck making up something that will hold it's shape.