WAF 2.1 Upgrades and New Tricks

  • Posted on: 20 April 2021
  • By: Gianni

It's April 20th; instead of preparing for our annual party that is not happening AGAIN, I sit here contemplating our progress through the wackiest year ever.   We are essentially shut ins.  So we're making lots of progress on the farm.

We've added a Jacuzzi to our staycation home to help with those sore ass farmer muscles.  Our Covid Cluster is still 3 humans and a baby strong.  

So what's new in the last year.... In no particular order.
Click the photos at the bottom of the page for the full size photo essay

Vertical Grow Tubes in the Greenhouse allow us to stack 72 plants along the eastern wall.  We are still experimenting with what to grow in them, currently Year Round Lettuce, Strawberries, Nasturtium and Tom Thumb Lettuce.

We traded the old Kabota Tractor with issues for several loads of Top Soil and the wood to deck the porch for the jacuzzi.  The new top soil was added to our annual garden area (The River) mostly on the side that hovers just a few inches above a rock shelf.  We laid it out as mounds in the planting rows, creating mini swales that function essentially as raised beds without borders.  The mounds made rolling out the thick layer of hay we use as mulch a little difficult, but I'm sure it will be much better.  We also shoveled the 3 years of decomposed hay off of our garden paths and put that in the growing rows before rolling out this years hay.  In parts of The River we are allowing Yarrow to grow in the path as chop-n-drop mulching.

We are releasing 50 million Beneficial Nematodes at the base of our troubled fruit tress and in The River.  The 3 kinds being released are Heterorhabditis Bacteriophora, Steinernema Carpocapsae,Steinernema Feltiae.  These microscopic soldiers invade all the bad bugs and eat them from the inside out.  Serious guerilla warfare on the aphids, cut worms, tree borers, ants, fleas, ticks, grubs, weevils and beetles and more.

We have added a Gala Apple Tree, Rock Paths and finally regraded and Seeded The Road that leads out to the festival area and hay field.

This year we are using 3'x8' Cold Frames to get an early harvest of spinach and radishes as well as using them to start seeds in because the greenhouse is crammed full.

We have a 250 gallon tank for making a constant flow of Compost Tea, nutrient rich irrigation water made by "brewing" weeds in the hot sun.

This year we are trying to reduce our carbon footprint by starting our seeds in compressed Soil Blocks,  eliminating plastic seed starter trays (to a degree).  Getting the mixture of peat, soil and vermiculite just right has been a real trial and error adventure but Chappell has got it down to a science now.  (I failed)  The soil blocks will reduce transplant shock/damage and supposedly keep the little babies from getting too big by "air pruning" the roots while you wait for the really last frost.

Last year we had a lot of garlics that were just 1 enormous, onion sized clove.  We decide not to eat them and plant them instead, the Single Clove Garlics are already massive, I can't wait to see how big these things get.

I decided to dedicate our "carry all" to make a detachable Tractor Water Shuttle that we can use to move water to the furthest areas of our edible landscape and food forest experiments.  Our 4,000 gallon water catchment from the roof of our shop now Gravity Feeds our compost tea and greenhouse water tank as well as the tank out by the river and tractor shuttle tank

We are slowly creating an event area that we call the Living Room.  It started with a couch and a coffee table in a secluded amphitheater like field.  We now have the couch, big fire pit, a rickety stage and the Living Room Carpet.  The "carpet is to be a lounging area in front of the stage that is seeded densely with Roman Chamomile.  We've had the initial 40X100 foot area covered with thick black plastic all winter.  We removed the plastic for 2 weeks to let whatever still wants to sprout pop its head up.  We've now replaced the plastic to kill those little suckers and next week we remove the plastic again, use the edger to slice planting lines into the ground and we'll cover the area lightly with hay to hold it all together.

We've been growing a little Molasses Sorghum (Sugar Drip & Delta) every year for about 5 years.  This year we are growing a lavender colored grain sorghum in our furthest field and M61 Survivor Perennial Sorghum in a hidden field that our hiking trail moves through and is difficult to mow.  These new sorghums are both from our friends at The Experimental Farm Network.

On the business side, we are limiting our local Farmers Market attendance to the days of way too much of something.   Most likely Melon, Squash, Strawberry and Bean harvests.  Our line of dried herbal products are starting to gain traction from Our Etsy Store and you may find some of our produce and products at the Hill & Hollow booth at the Nashville Farmers Market.

~ click the photo for full screen ~

Vertical PVC Grow Tubes in the Greenhouse hold lettuce strawberry and Nasturtium.  They get watered from the top and in trickles down better than money.
Vertical PVC Grow Tubes in the Greenhouse hold lettuce strawberry and Nasturtium. They get watered from the top and in trickles down better than money.