Sunday, April 26, 2009

It was hot but we did it!

Suzanne. The crew on Sunday. The children enjoying the water. Julie & her helpers.

The rain held off, the storms went north and, despite mechanical difficulties (no tiller), we are happy to report that the bok choi, cauliflower and most of the broccoli have moved out of the cold frames into the main garden. Thanks to the ground prep and planting squad of Bob, Mary & Dorothy! Chris, Corina and Suzanne proved that they could withstand the heat by working in the hot house for a long time weeding, installing tomato cages and mulching. Then, thanks to the patience of Sara & Bruce, we have a planting template rope (plants are properly spaced) and the back garden now is irrigated. Julie came over on Thursday and, while watching 3 little ones (one on her back for a substantial period of time) planted carrots, tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, arugula and fennel. Things are moving along. We still need help with planting of the garlic, asparagus, and more seeds. So, if you have some time this week, give me a call and we can talk about when the weather might cooperate with your schedule.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Planting Schedule and Work Parties

Hello all - the plants in the hot house are coming along! Even the onions that were planted from seed :). We're waiting for the peas to all pop out and the beets and chard to finish coming in but all looks good.
Now that we have a hot house, the growing options have expanded. I couldn't resist buying tomato plants from the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market Saturday. And I'll be planting a few things like basil that I normally wouldn't consider starting until the end of May.

In thinking about work opportunities, please keep in mind that Emily is coming every Monday and Wednesday from 1 - 3:30. So, if you'd like to come by, these are standing times at least until the harvest begins and we re-evaluate. We are going to try to follow the cycles of the moon this year to schedule our planting. So, here are the dates we have thus far. Of course, if there's a torrential rain or the soil is too wet, we may have to postpone for a few days.

Planting Schedule:
  • April 23 (cukes, spinach, lettuce, zucchini, okra, radish, fennel, carrots)
  • April 26 (basil, arugula, lettuce, yellow squash, cabbage, flowers, garlic)
  • May 24 (okra)
  • May 30 (cukes, winter squash, sunflowers, pie pumpkins, flowers, squash, dill, kale, onions, brussel sprouts, dill, beans, summer squash, tomatoes, peppers)
  • June 6 (rutabaga, radish, parsnips, carrots, potatoes, anything that didn't go in last week)
  • June 10 (beans)
  • June 24 (dill, cabbage, onions, pumpkins, yellow squash, mustard,collards)
  • June 29 (snap peas, kohl rabi, broccoli)
  • July 5 (onions, beets, turnips)
  • July 22 (chinese cabbage, pak choi, lettuce, cabbage, peas, dill)
  • July 26 (lettuce)
  • August 5 (radishes)
  • August 18 (lettuce, broccoli raab, bok choi)
Based on this plan, we'll especially need help on the dates that follow. Help can be planting, watering, child watch, preparing rows, mulching, etc.:
April 23 - 1:00 - 4:00
May 30 - 1:00 - 4:00
June 6 - 1:00 - 4:00 (this is potato planting time which is a good crop for little hands to work - relatively easy to plant)
June 24 - 1:00 - 4:00

We'll also have a fall harvest party to dig potatoes, bring in the colder crops, etc.

Please call if you plan to work - even a few hour's notice is fine. I would like to make sure that when you arrive you're not waiting for me to pull things together.

Enjoy Spring - I think it's finally here!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hot House Update

Day 4 of construction and we're close to completion. Thanks to Emily, Gerry Kangas and Dave for helping build the "structure". Dave and I stretched the plastic for the roof this evening. I don't know if it will be mobile but it will be toasty for the plants! The remaining 3 walls will go up on Monday. The lettuce and turnips have germinated and Allie and I found 4 peas poking their heads through. Also, the carrots are beginning to sprout in the cold frame. Woo hoo!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Well, the end of May is quickly approaching and I'm starting to think we need to speed up the growing process. So, Emily and I started a greenhouse today. It's going to be big - 40' x 50' and will hopefully be mobile so that we can wheel it to the area where tomatoes will grow. We'll see.

If anyone is able, we're going to try to work on it again tomorrow and, depending on how far we get, possibly Friday as well. Tomorrow I'll be out there on and off in the morning and will work straight for a few hours between 1 & 3:30. It would be great to have a couple of people to help stretch the plastic!

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Well, we're here waiting for up to 6" of snow! Unbelievable. I am glad the seeds are in the ground though. They'll slow down but I still think they'll jump out of the ground as soon as we have a few days of consistent 60 degree weather. Keep your fingers crossed.

We've got a few exciting announcements -
1. We're very pleased to welcome our first intern/volunteer. Emily Rose Magner has volunteered to work here for a few months before she continues her studies in sustainable agriculture. She'll be completing her degree at Sterling College in Vermont in the fall and hopes to gain a little more experience with farming before she goes. She comes with a wealth of experience - I don't have her resume so I don't want to mis-state her experience but when you meet her, ask her about her prior experiences with CSA's, wilderness training, herbal medicine, cooking, etc. We're going to try to set a weekly schedule of Monday and Wednesday from 1-3 and she's starting tomorrow! If anyone would like to come over during those times, please let me know.
2. Judy Durfy, the bee lady, called Friday. She's going to stop by this week to determine the best place to set her hive. She'll be receiving 2 shipments of bees on April 20 and will bring one over as soon as they arrive. So, we'll have some honey bees which we're really excited about! I'll let you know where the hive is.
3. The Chinese cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli have germinated in the cold frames! As soon as they're about 4" tall, we can set them out in the garden. This will probably be in a few weeks so let's hope the ground isn't frozen!
4. We're working on plans for a tool shed, mobile turkey hut and maybe a fruit stand. If anyone wants to build, let me know. We sawed the logs and have quite a bit of lumber to work with now. The sawing took 5 days, not the estimated 1 1/2. So, Dave's in good shape now. It's really heavy.
5. Dixie came down with a slight case of mastitis this week. Our vet came out Monday and she's now on penicillin. But, the kids are still nursing and doing fine so all is well in goat land.

Hope all is well - we have 9 followers on this blog which is fun. If you haven't signed up and are having troubles doing so, let me know.

Keep warm -
Jennifer, Dave, Nathan, Allie & Hannah