February 25th, 2018

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Winter Preparation for the Growing season

Sunday, February 25th, 2018

Winter is a time to prepare for the next season. Its also a time for other distractions … like prepping fossils we collect in Pennsylvania. I have been concentrating on a few new aspects of the farm. The new market garden and exploring some winter production ideas. I have also been thinking about compost and how to get more and faster. If I did not address weeds before planting the new garden, I’d be spending a lot of time weeding the garden. The existing weeds and weed seeds will quickly overwhelm the vegetable plants. So a lot of small scale intensive farmers have been successfully growing without much weeding by starting with stale beds. I bought 2 large uv resistant pool covers. By joining them together it covers an area of 70×110 feet. This should smother the weeds  so when I pull it off in the spring the weeds will have been eliminated and the seeds rotted. I will then move it to the next section which I will either leave on long enough to kill the weeds or just long enough that they start germinating. Then I pull it off and flame kill the germinated weed seeds. It is very important to use no-till at that point so we don’t introduce new weed seeds below the surface.

Beds will be laid out on contour to stop the runoff and allow it to sink into the ground.

I’ve also started seedlings in the house. I have 150 cells with lettuce, spinach and arugula that will go into either the new bed in the front porch or under row covers. I also have other early plants seeded like celery, celeriac, cauliflower, broccoli cabbage and kale.

This sunny room with south and east exposure will be to start seedlings.

This bed in the front porch will also be used to get seeds started and possibly produce some early cold hardy plants like spinach, lettuce, arugula and leeks.

As a immediate source of water, I am collecting from the downspout in this barrel. I’ll eventually add a spigot and hose to bring into the front porch.

This is my interpretation of a tumbling style composter using a free barrel and scrap wood I had laying around.