At last, a rainy day. The past few months have been a steady regimen of watering, transplanting, building, tending, tidying, repairing, tweaking… a blissful spring, overall.
Our designs for the greenhouse underwent the inevitable revisions that occur as such plans are put into action. The practicality and feasibility of ideas seem always to go through this stress-test, usually reducing the complexity of plans to something a notch above adequate—but with a touch of artfulness.
The process of setting up the greenhouse interior was carried out over a few weeks, building raised beds, some with benches atop them. As seedlings started coming outside from their indoor nursery (light racks), space quickly filled up and had to conform to the needs of the moment. We began tenting benchtops for cooler nights, using blankets for insulation. But as the days grew longer, so reduced the threat of freezing temperatures.
Rather than build benches on all of the raised beds, we set pallets down onto the bed soil to serve as platforms for the transplanted seedlings ready for sale. As we transition to actually planting the beds, the pallets will be taken up.
Germination this spring has been mostly very strong, notably with some notoriously difficult plants (like columbine). It’s hard to know how effective our biodynamic planting has been, despite a bit of experimentation starting things at the ‘wrong’ time. Similarly, a lesson we’ve learned is against starting things too early (inside), as some things seeded later caught up with the early starts; the quality of indoor grow lights just doesn’t compare to El Sol.
Whatever the factors, we’re looking at a fine population of herbs, vegetables and flowers.
We have also built straw bale beds that can function as cold frames, along the south side of the hoop house. At this point in the season, we’ve gone straight to planting in the beds (including watermelon!), and later in the autumn we’ll extend the season by adding clear coverings.
Seedling sales have been trickling along. We advertised in the local paper. A couple of local farmers’ markets start up at the end of May, which will allow us some direct sales and added word-of-mouth promotion.