greenhouse

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Protección de los conejos

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

So the rabbit problems have continued. We have gotten very little rain, and they’re just so starving for water. After more frustration over this than is healthy, this week we harvested and abandoned a few beds and then brainstormed what to do for the rest of the year. We decided to fence in one bed and try to grow intensively there (in addition to the greenhouses). Here are the results.

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I was worried about how this would look (which is why we haven’t relented and just fenced the whole thing — in addition to the time and expense and being unsure if it would work anyway), especially in front of out beautiful mountain view, but I think it looks cute.

Despite more challenges this year than we’ve ever had, we’re also having some successes. Garlic, shallots, and onions were all fabulous this year. We’ve harvested and sold over 70 bags of greens at the market so far (plus more we’ve eat here). Our new greenhouse is great. This week, we ate the first edamame and shishido peppers, and the eggplants are coming along. And the first figs have appeared!

Spring greens

Friday, May 27th, 2016

This week I remembered to take a picture when the beds were uncovered.

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The greenhouse is looking good as well.

eggplants and peppers

eggplants and peppers

chard

chard and edamame

green beans

green beans

 

Finally

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

We’ve had more than our share of struggles with the garden this year — beds of greens munched to the ground multiple times despite being covered, artichoke plants eaten beyond recovery, even the lemon grass got mowed down by something (most likely deer), a whole bed of tomato starts eaten down by the vole.

We keep trying though and are finally having some success. The new greenhouse is doing great, and we could be harvesting from it within a couple weeks. I also tried a new setup for greens in our regular beds where I put down a sheet of agribon (row cover) and then covered that with two layers of insect netting (the same stuff that we cover the hoops with — which has been getting chewed through and dug under — but this time I put it right on the ground with lots of rocks on the edges). This has worked well. I suspect that the animals either haven’t figured out what’s under there or they can’t easily get in. Probably both. At least for now.

Today we had our first harvest big enough to sell some of — arugula, tat soi, and lettuce all coming in strong. It will be nice to have our produce at the market this week in addition to bread, other baked goods, and pesto.

arugula

Garden update

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

Challenges with the rodents continue, but a seed library meeting on Friday motivated me to double down and work harder on the garden. This weekend I replanted a bed of greens and covered it more securely (I hope). I also planted cover crop in two beds that were hit hard with rodent tunnels last fall, deciding to try to enrich the soil and not worry about what eats the plants. (And if this goes well, I may sneak in a few edible plants as things grow up.) You’d think the animals would be happy eating this and not bother the other things, but it doesn’t seem to work that way.

We harvested our first few garlic as well. We only finished last year’s garlic about a month ago (and are finding store bought garlic to be quite inferior) so we are almost to the point of growing enough to last a whole year.

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We are eating asparagus and strawberries from the garden, and the onions are looking very good.

I’m also realizing that the new greenhouse may be our best shot at food this summer. It was getting very hot in there last week (over 100 degrees, even when it was only in the 70s outside), so we made some adjustments — a new fan, shade cloth on the ceiling, and some nice new screen doors (thanks to the friend who originally had the greenhouse). It’s much better now.

I now have green beans, edamame, chard, radishes, and cucumbers growing in it. And just yesterday, lettuce germinated! (Yay…I didn’t know if the soil was cool enough.) Peppers and eggplants are also going in this week.

I am doing all this with the knowledge that this might not survive the hottest part of summer, but I am hopeful. Farming is indeed an act of faith.

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The cussingest project ever

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Back in December, a friend of ours said he was getting rid of a small greenhouse and asked us if we wanted it. “Sure,” we said, especially with all the recent damage to our gardens from critters. A more sheltered environment sounded very appealing.

So in January, we went out to move this greenhouse. It was a very cold and windy day, and the greenhouse didn’t come down easy. It clearly wasn’t meant to be disassembled and reassembled. Also, the plastic material in the panels was beginning to fall apart. (Not coincidentally, the greenhouse was seven years old, which was the duration of the warranty.) The sound of the plastic panels breaking as we did this made me cringe, and by the end of the day, my hands and feet were numb with cold. Even taken apart, the parts barely fit in our truck bed, and we had to drive very slowly partly with Brad in the back.

This was the first of many times, we reconsidered the decision to proceed with this.

As with any construction here, we had to consider high winds, so the first thing we did was plan to pour a partial concrete slab to anchor the greenhouse to so it wouldn’t blow away. We also dug out the whole area that would be the interior beds in the greenhouse so we could filter all the dirt. (This is a standard part of making beds here because of all the rocks in our soil.) We also decided to put wire mesh hardware cloth about 6 inches below the floor of the beds to try to prevent rodents from tunneling in. All of this was quite a bit of work.

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the site before we began

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the dissembled greenhouse (ugh)

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concrete done and screening down

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filtering dirt

Next, we began putting together various pieces of the structure. Of course, being spring, we had some windy days during this and so had to use various bracing and hope for the best.

Along the way, more plastic broke, and it was evident that the roof needed to be completely replaced. We considered several options (the same corrugated polycarbonate material as the original manufacturer, sheet plastic, clear corrugated roofing material, etc.), and ultimately decided to go with clear corrugated. Though it wasn’t cheap, it was easy to work with and seems like it will be very durable. Eventually, we are likely to be replacing the material in the walls as well and may use the same material.

Four months from beginning to end, we finished it this weekend.

One concern we have is that the greenhouse may get too hot and kill what’s growing in it. We installed a new vent to try to forestall this and may put in additional screening and shade cloth as well.

For now, I am very eager to get things growing in here. It’s the time of the year for lots of new little seedlings to go in so the timing is great. Stay tuned for updates.

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finished

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inside, including shelving

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clear new roof

Garden update

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

We ate our first French breakfast radishes today.

radishes

And here’s what the front beds are looking like. Starting to get filled up with sweet potatoes, tomatoes, beans, and greens!

Another growing season

Monday, February 10th, 2014

This weekend we finally had some warm afternoons and took the opportunity to work in the garden.

Here is Brad working on the asparagus beds. With a little luck, we’ll be eating fresh asparagus in a few weeks.

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My artichokes seem to have come through the winter nicely. We love perennials!

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And we’ve been enjoying lettuce from the cold frame even with nighttime temperatures in the low 20s.

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As usual, we put in two beds of garlic last fall. Until they’re ready, we’re still enjoying last year’s garlic.

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And in the house, I have 30 or so tomato starts going. I’m also starting leeks inside this year. They are another crop that should last through the winter next year.

Changing seasons

Monday, November 19th, 2012

I am remiss in not writing (here at least) lately, but I have had a crazy travel schedule and am also (reluctantly) doing NaNoWriMo again this month.

While I’ve been not writing, the seasons have changed. Last week, we had temperatures of 25 or so at night. That, of course, meant the end of beans and melons. The tomatoes in the greenhouse are still hanging in there, as are the greens, which I hope will continue into the winter.

A couple weeks ago, we got a surprise gift of some strawberry plants from our friend Jerry. I didn’t know you could plant them in the fall, but apparently you can, so I put two of the new beds to that use. Perhaps we’ll have strawberries in the spring.

The frost last week meant it was time to dig up my sweet potatoes. I’d heard from someone that they don’t grow if you don’t have very loose soil, so I was pretty sure there wouldn’t be much to dig up. But look at this!

Almost 10 pounds. Very exciting. We will definitely grow these again next year.

And we are making progress on the doors for Virga. I’ll save that for another post.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Eat well, and enjoy your time with loved ones.

Garden update

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Yes, we’re still going strong. The heirloom tomatoes are at their peak, and we’re hoping the frost holds off for another month. (They’re too big to cover.)

And we harvested the first of the fall greens this morning. Hopefully, we’ll have these all winter long.

And I came home from my trip last week to find that Brad had made me 6 new beds for spring! Woo hoo. We are seeming more and more like farmers.

This week, we are getting ready for the big Harvest Festival at the Douglas Mercado Farmers Market next week. This will be the close of the season for this year. We’ll have a seed exchange, pumpkin decorating for the kids, live music, and more. Should be fun!

My poor babies

Friday, June 1st, 2012

I went out to the garden this morning to find that all the leaves on the new baby garbanzo plants had been completely munched. Not sure if it was the quail or something else like insects. (I’d made cute little scarecrows out of old CDs, but they haven’t deterred the quail.)

So today, Brad built the first of our mini-hoophouses. This idea came from our friend Edwin. Here is a marvelous post on how to make these as well as some of the challenges of farming here. Because this design is round and low to the ground, it is relatively wind-resistant, an important consideration here.

Oh, and yes, this is another bed. We harvested the first round of garlic and replanted the bed with garbanzos.

In the meantime, the tomatoes are thriving, and there is more lettuce and tat soi than we can eat. It is lush and delicious.