Spring has Sprung on the farm!
This is the first of our communications for this season to everyone who is a Member of this year's CSA program. Welcome!! I am so happy you're here & reading about what's happening with your food & farmers!!
We started our germination chamber and the greenhouse is up and running!!
For those of you who don't know our background story I'll summarize really quick... this past season we bought a farm property! We have been farming and offering CSA Shares for almost a decade but as a first generational farm we needed to grow slowly and save to get where we're at. We moved in last spring, so this is our second year here in our new farm house and we love it here!! Since we moved in last April, the greenhouse was already full of plants so we couldn't move it at the same time we moved ourselves. So we tended to our plants in Big Lake and brought them up here to our new place in Oak Park in the beds of pick up trucks and trailers gradually as we were ready to plant. Keep in mind this is hundreds of thousands of little plants.. lol. Man, are we happy we're here now!!! :D
So we built the greenhouse this spring. We set up the structure with metal hoops & wood, wired it with electricity, had the propane company come out and hook up a brand new furnace for us, pulled plastic over and installed the door. I summarized weeks worth of work right there, there are so many steps to the process. Ben has experience in all of this but I'm a noobie so it was fun for me to learn how it's done. That was a big project for us this spring and we are really happy how it all turned out!! Still a couple of small things to wrap up the project, but we're waiting for the rain to clear for that.
The germination chamber is up and running. This beautiful tray of peppers came out yesterday (below), and we'll be taking our more today. The reason we use the germination chamber is because it's basically a rainforest in there as Ben would say. It is hot and humid and stimulates the germination of seeds, temperature controlled by yours truly. In a large setting like this, when we're germinating some 4,000 tomato plants, it's important to get the biggest return from our investment and it all starts there in the germination chamber. As the trays germinate over the next couple days we'll take them out and put them in the greenhouse where it will still be warm and humid, but not nearly as much.
From these small trays, we will transplant them into larger trays. They'll live in those trays for a month or so and then get transplanted directly into the ground! You might ask, why don't we just start out with the larger cell trays, rather than these super small cells (about the size of your pinky nail). The answer is root development. We want to make sure these little plants create a nice little root ball before we transplant them, so by having the peppers start in smaller cells the root ball is tighter.
One thing I want to touch on briefly, some of you are waiting to hear from me about a new pick up site in Robbinsdale. I appreciate that so many of you volunteered to host! I look forward to following up with you next week via email with more info about the new site(s). Remember, this only applies to you if you're picking up at Dancing Bears Chocolate or our current Robbinsdale site; we're adding more CSA pick up site options because we have so much interest in your area!! I will send out an email next week with options for you!
We also have a little project of our own going on.. we're hatching eggs! I haven't ever done this before, I've actually only had chickens for a year or so now. Before when we lived in town, we weren't allowed to have any. So Ben got me a half dozen for mother's day last year and there is how it all started!! Now I have a ceramic chicken on my kitchen counter and have been affectionately doted as a chicken lady. Anyone else with me?!
We are on day 18, which is lock down day for the incubator. Now it's closed until they hatch, which will be a nice break for me because I've been turning them twice a day since we started the incubator haha! As we've stood over the incubator looking in, we can physically see the eggs rolling into each other and moving. We are patiently waiting for these little chickies!! I'll be sure to update and post about them, hoping to see baby chicks in the next 2 days!!
This is the time of year that we've been waiting for all winter!! The woods are starting to green up a bit, we've seen and heard a lot of sand hill cranes and geese of course and I already got new cedar chips in our wood duck house, hopeful and waiting for a nesting pair this year (instead of the robins like last year, little stinkers).
We have our work cut out for us around here. Now we're just hopeful that the weather continues to get nicer as the days get longer <3 We're ready to get our hands dirty!! It's TIME!
Stay well friends,
~The Farmer's Wife