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Laying Plastic Mulch

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OLD PLASTIC MULCH BED SHAPER

Today was the day that we were able to get in the field and lay our plastic mulch, three weeks ahead of schedule from previous years. The bed shaper creates raised beds while laying plastic on top and drip tape under the plastic as the tractor drives down the bed. Usually this is an all day event with a lot of frustrating moments. Today was an absolute breeze. There was no hanging off the back of the tractor crushing your ribs and tail bone in fear you will fall in front of the discs, no stopping due to ripped plastic, no cinder blocks of compacted soil and no frantic shoveling of dirt to try to cover the ripped edges before the wind catches them. Since the plastic was laid so well today it will prevent a lot of headaches throughout the season and will be essential to our weed control plan. Looking towards the future, it really pays to invest in good equipment! Also, this was a one to two (wo)man job compared to the previous shaper which was a three or four (wo)man job.

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NEW PLASTIC MULCH BED SHAPER (PLEASE NOTE CUSHY SEAT ON BACK)

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END RESULT – BEAUTIFUL TIGHTLY LAID PLASTIC AND DRIP

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Turn Up The Heat!

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Bring on the heat! The weather has turned and it is consistently in the 70’s during the day. This is grrrrrrrreat for the greenhouse plants. I was complaining a couple weeks ago about poor germination. I narrowed down the possibilities and came to the conclusion that it was 100% due to soil temperature. We had a series of cloudy days which prevented heat from the sun and the outside temperature was still in the 50s/ 60s. Not cool for the little seedlings. My next round of plantings I doubled up on seed and also put some of the trays on heat mats. The result was impressive. Heat mats = happy plants.

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Everything that is being transplanted is planted in the greenhouse. I am impatiently waiting for it to stop raining every three days so we can get in the ground. So close!

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Up On The Roof

 

 

*********PLEASE CLICK THE RED CIRCLE WITH THE WHITE ARROW INSIDE ON THE TOP LEFT OF ‘THE DRIFTERS’ PICTURE TO BE SERENADED WHILE READING BLOG*********

I AM PLANTING THE ROOF!! Rollin’ the dice and hoping the early morning frosts are behind us. The seven day forecast looks promising and this Saturday is the frost free date for the region. The odds in our favor.

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I pulled the herbs for the roof out of the greenhouse this week and started a process called “hardening off”. This is where the plants are taken from their warm, protected environment about a week before being planted in the ground in order to slowly acclimate them to the cooler, windier conditions outside. Everything that is started in the greenhouse will go through this process before it is planted in the ground. Luckily I am good friends with the Arboretum crew and they are nice enough to let me use some of their bench space. Thanks Claire, Dale and Bill!!

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I was able to get on the roof and set up the hard lines to the irrigation system in preparation for planting at the end of the week. I am sooooooooooo excited about the end result. So far this year my favorite new toy is the timer for the irrigation though that will likely change when the caterpillar tunnels arrive this week 🙂 . This new irrigation set up will save us so much time!! Last year it took two hours to water the roof by hand. This year each bed top will have a valve shut off enabling us to have complete control of what gets watered when, which will free me and the boys up to focus on other things.

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The Ingredient List

I am continually impressed with the similarities between cooking and farming. When you are preparing to cook you would usually start with a recipe. For that recipe you would need a list of ingredients prepared in a certain order to produce a well balanced, tasty dish. Growing, or more specifically seed starting transplants in a greenhouse, also requires a recipe which includes a list of ingredients and a certain method by which to follow in order to produce healthy plants. We all know healthy plants = healthy fruit that usually tastes great, unless you picked a gross variety :).

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Here is your generic recipe for starting seeds that will get good germination (pop out of the soil) to eventually become a beautiful plant:

 

Seeds (duh)

Seed trays

Potting soil

Water

Fertilizer

Heat

Sunlight

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You can control the first six items in your recipe. You can not control sunlight. Can you guess why I spent three paragraphs talking about recipes??? That’s right! We have not had very much sunlight which means we are missing a key ingredient in our recipe! Now, usually I wait at least until the beginning of June to complain about weather just because you will have to hear it all year. Sorry readers, it came early! These cloudy days have been really bad for germination, which means that for every 100 seeds I planted approximately 60-70 came up. Compared to other years this is very bad. Luckily planting early has allowed me enough time to replant if necessary. I will wait another week and see what happens. This is not the end of the world but rather a little annoying.

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In other news, we have been having a mouse problem in the greenhouse this year. The little guys are pretty cute but certainly pesky, especially when they are eating your planted seeds. The farmers put out glue traps. I have a strict no kill policy when I’m around and we have had some great adventures this winter with the catch and release program I enforced. Unfortunately a little bird (also a pesky greenhouse pest) was stuck in the trap. Luckily we are right across from the small animal vet clinic so I am happy to report the bird is being cleaned and treated as we speak. Each day brings a new adventure :).

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