What a difference a year makes! And what a learning curve! Going from a small rooftop herb and vegetable garden and a couple of 17-30′ plots to a packed rooftop and a 1/2 acre garden has been quite an adventure. Thanks to a federally funded program through the UI’s Cooperative Extension Program, the learning curve is smoothing out and things are growing like crazy.
Turns out that a 1/2 acre is a lot of ground. Our field had been used for corn last year, so we spent several days shoveling corn husks out of the field and laying down plastic row covers and irrigation tape. Our first ever seedling project in the greenhouse was a great success with virtually 100% germination. Although spring was one of the rainiest ones ever, we managed to get transplants and seeds in the ground in late April and we were off to the races.
By the end of May, we had all 19 beds planted – including 5 beds (approximately 500 plants!) of tomatoes — heirloom varieties such as Green Zebra, Brandywine, German Pink, Mountain Fresh and Black Cherry. We also planted a variety of pepper plants, mixed greens, cucumbers, basil, swiss chard and kale, spinach and bush beans – more on these later…
Overall, it’s been a truly rewarding experience. Every day presents a new challenge as we have to stay ahead of the weeds, start to worry about bugs and pests, and continue to implement new ideas and techniques as we learn them. We can’t wait to see how these plants are going to turn out once it comes time to harvest, which is coming up faster and faster it seems.
Keep checking back with us and we’ll keep you updated on some of the techniques, varietals, and, of course, lots and lots of pictures of the produce as it travels from farm to table.