Tiny Farm Blog

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A day-to-day journal – growing local food with two acres and some tools...!
Updated: 1 day 19 hours ago

Sundown in the hoophouse

Mon, 02/29/2016 - 18:57

Not your typical postcard sunset, and it’s kinda chilly, damp and mucky in here, even as the temperature outside slides down to an eventual -15°C (5°F). But it’s all about the greens, tucked under a couple of layers of row cover, maybe not exactly cozy with only ground heat to keep them warm—who knows how they’re really feeling—still, well-set to survive another sub-zero night. With that in mind, sundown through 6 mil plastic is a cheery-enough sight to see!

Great gloves get a little better!

Sun, 02/28/2016 - 21:09

How excited can you get about a pair of gloves that you use to work in the field? Quite! Although enthusiastic may be the better word. This style of glove I’ve used for a while, for fall and winter, in cold weather. I wrote about their many fine features a while back—this particular version is the best yet, with the grippy, waterproof coating extending just far enough down the back so that they don’t get wet during normal handling of soggy stuff, while allowing enough open, breathable area so your hands don’t sweat. What more can I say?!

Cold crop lettuce

Sat, 02/27/2016 - 11:31

Lettuce in the unheated greenhouse, under a couple of layers of medium-weight row cover, is doing fine so far, firm and tasty after weeks of sub-freezing nights, all the way down to -30°C (-22°F). Now there’s even a noticeable bit of grow-back from the last cut, late December (even the weeds are getting in on the protection, see bottom left). My first full-winter tiny farming experiment continues…!

Wire work

Fri, 02/26/2016 - 11:03

Electric fence wire work, snipping 6-foot pieces of 9-gauge wire for hoops to hold up floating row cover in the greenhouse. Hopefully this wire is stiff enough to do the job, supporting up to three layers of row cover, heavy with moisture from humidity and being dripped on by water condensed on the inside of the hoophouse plastic, or later, ice, when the soaked cover freezes at night. This test batch of about 180′ came coiled, in a circle about 2½’ in diameter, and the built in curve is perfect for stretching slightly to span about 4′ of bed. So, no bending needed, it’s all about the snipping!

Steel in the field

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 21:57

[From 9-Oct-2014] The steel and plastic for a 108’x30′ double-walled hoophouse, just delivered to the field. Up before snow falls? That’s the plan, but it’s only 50:50, depending on the weather.

Steel in the field

Beef meets kale

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 15:51

Yes, yet another thing to do with KALE! In a small fit of inspiration, I tore up a few fistfuls of baby Red Russian, and tossed ‘em int0 the pot with carrots, onions, grass-fed beef shank, salt, pepper, garlic and water, slow-cooked for quite a while, six hours or more, adding brown rice towards the end. Voila, Beef and Kale Stew. The kale contributes just a hint of seaweed taste, but maybe that’s just me. Anyhow, excellent. Will do again.

Beef meets kale

Back to the market!

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 14:33

[From 24-May-2014] First day of the season at the outdoor farmers’ market. It’s not a particularly early start, the market goes outside on the first Saturday of May. In any case, here we are once again, this time around with lettuce mix and a bit of arugula from the unheated greenhouse, and baby kale from overwintered plants in the field. Nice day!

Back to the market!

Fresh as it gets!

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 18:26

Continuing snowy white and frigid outside, and if it weren’t for the handy neighborhood supermarket, the last thing you’d be thinking about around here right now is fresh orange juice. The reality is, there’s plenty of it, legally speaking, at least: aseptic storage and flavor packs aside, fresh not frozen, not from concentrate, pulpy or pulp free OJ is in abundance, now as ever, and often on special, too!

Fresh as it gets!

Catalogs!

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 13:48

This year’s seed catalogs! Haven’t kept on the mailing lists for the dozen or more I used to get. I do always look around online, but for the hard copy, and the main seed ordering, it’s reduced to two, one main seed supplier and a backup. The more you know, the less you need? I like the sound of that! :)

Catalogs!

Improbably early corn!

Sat, 01/11/2014 - 20:24

[From 5-May-2012] Fresh sweet corn at the beginning of May?! Wow, it’s a miracle! After a period of mild outrage when I first started tiny farming, as it sunk in how far and in what conditions most of our fresh food travels, the knee-jerk negative reaction to the sight of long distance food at the supermarket, and especially at the farmers’ market via the big resellers, thankfully faded away. Automatic anger is a waste of energy that could be put to better uses (weeding comes to mind). So seeing corn in big bins at the store as if it’s fresh from the field down the road, with fields here barely dry and seedlings still in trays, doesn’t surprise or annoy me much now…but it continues to look odd and kinda ridiculous. A miracle, indeed! (I took the photo, but didn’t even think to check the sign to see where exactly this batch is from…)

Improbably early corn!

May salad

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 19:42

[From 18-May-2013] No food styling, just salad! The first grown-this-season greens – romaine, butterhead, oakleaf/salad bowl letuces – picked by raiding half-grown plants for a few leaves apiece. Dinner.

May salad

Volunteers!

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 18:04

[From 5-Aug-2012] Volunteer cherry toms – weed toms, really – ahead of this year’s planting. Cool. Not sure if these have crossed, we had many varieties planted close together last season. These are not hugely sweet, instead, super little bursts of mildly tart tomato-tasty!

Volunteers!

Winter?

Wed, 01/01/2014 - 23:01

[From 28-Jan-2012] It’s a different winter from day to day. Same picture, new weather: today, a more traditionally winter look, with soft flurries and gentle snow drifts. The weather continues to swing around rather wildly. Indoors, this has been a month of reading, clicking and scrolling through the web, thinking about this year’s plan, burning wood. Not having a real winter is a little disorienting, but I’m starting to notice the days getting longer!

Winter?

Hoop house architecture

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 22:07

[From 5-May-2013] A little wood, a little steel, some 6mm UV-stabilized plastic, and simple construction methods come together in the basic walk-in hoophouse, a no-frills structure with its own signature look and quite startling effectiveness when it comes to season extension. What more can you say?!

Hoop house architecture

Fueling up

Sun, 12/22/2013 - 22:41

[From 6-Jul-2012] Always satisfying to fill up the Kubota compact tractor. A little under five gallons of diesel does the trick. It’s quite amazing what you can do on just one tank, like till up 2-3 acres with fuel to spare. Depending on what’s going on, I’ll use somewhere between three and six tanks in a season, so for the amount of work the tiny tractor does, the oil-reliant portion of the program is really kinda small.

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