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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Winter Farm Fun

I had a spring mix order to fill for tomorrow so that meant going up to the salad house and seeing what there was to cut. So Eugene and I went up to see what's what and among other things, found buried in the area that is supposed to have onion seedlings a deer leg. Nice.

So he moved the leg out of the garden and we proceeded on to the salad house, went inside and found it nice and warm-a good 10 degrees warmer than outside. Nice conditions for the arugula, lettuces, mizuna, mustard and weeds growing in there.

We keep row covers on everything to keep the risk of frost damage down and so far this winter it has worked well. Though, in past winters, even with row cover and gallon milk jugs acting as heat sinks, we have had major damage to the crops. But not this year and it has been real nice to be able to eat fresh greens in deep winter. But using row covers means we have to remove them to work the beds

and That is exactly what Eugene is doing here, removing the cover over the arugula and mustard bed. And you can see the beds beyond him and next to him have no covers over them because I took those off so I could cut greens.

While I cut Eugene hoed. Even in winter we have to do some weeding. But the weeds and crops grow slowly so it is relatively easy to keep up with them. This arugula/mustard bed was not too bad and the soil was dry enough to work

But this lettuce bed to the south of the arugula/mustard bed was quite wet and hard to hoe. But it has to be done before these weeds all flower and go to seed

and you can see already some of the winter hardy weeds are beginning to flower. That is because in the hoop houses it is already late Feb/early March.

So for about 30 minutes we hoed weeds and cut salad. I harvested a pound of spring mix in that time. In warmer months I would have easily harvested 15 pounds in a half hour of cutting and within 10 days the cut beds would have grown back. This time of year it takes about 8 weeks for the greens to grow back. though this will change in a matter of days, by mid month the crops in the hoop houses will have broken dormancy and will start growing again.

About the time we were all done with work in the hoop house and were debating whether or not we should call it quits or not (there was a little bit of hoeing that could have been done) betty makes the decision for us by appearing outside the hoop house-we heard a noise and the next thing we see black paws on the side of the house. Betty had escaped from the fenced back yard. how? We do not know.

So we leave the hoop house taking our harvest and tools with us and see what Betty is up to.

Betty is hunting mice because she remembered that yesterday she caught her first vole right out side this hoop house and she hoped to get more (and she will in the fullness of time). So We let her poke around the perimeter of the hoop house for a bit than eventually went back to the hiuse. okay Betty and Eugene went to the house and I went to the store to bagged the Spring Mix for tomorrow's order.


Sheila said...

Oh! It looks so cold there! I must stop whining about our cool, damp winter this year in California!

Robin said...

It's snowing and I'm completely jealous of your bare ground and warm temps.

Yeah Betty! Cute as can be and catches voles...what more could a puppy be!

Lucy said...

Do be too jealous Robin, 2 days after this post we go 10" of snow and another several inches is on the way tonight.

Now we are in a winter wonderland. I 'spose I should post some pictures