Operation Greenhouse Max! has been a great success! We sealed up the end walls with an extra layer of plastic, insulated the seams, cleaned and cleaned, and hung a partition so we don't have to heat the parts of the house that aren't full of plants. We also set up our new, fantastic heat mats! They are a major upgrade for us because they are able to keep the soil the perfect temperature, regardless of the ambient temperature in the greenhouse, meaning less energy usage overall. And it all came together just in time because this week, the greenhouse has come alive!
All past years, our greenhouse adventure has started with onions. This year, we pushed them back a week because we finally admitted they are always ready to go out a week before we are ready to put them out. So instead, the plant parade kicked off with celery, celery root, a gang of herbs, and tomatoes for our early hoop house! We also just embarked on our adventure with microgreens and they are coming up quick. In all likelihood they will be ready for next weeks market next Saturday the 24th.
Also freshly tucked into the greenhouse is the ginger. First we cut the seed pieces to a proper 1-2 ounce size, then we cure them, and next week we will begin pre-sprouting them. Ginger can take a long time to get going, and although we won't be putting them out until the end of April, they need this time to wake up and get pumped. Did you know that ginger is not actually a root but a rhizome? It is an underground stem that grows perpendicular to gravity. It produces roots and shoots from its nodes. Some of the worst weeds grow in the same fashion (think quack grass, creeping charlie, and Japanese knotweed), making them incredibly difficult to annihilate. That is what we are taking advantage of when we cut the ginger into smaller pieces, its ability to grow as long as there are nodes on each piece.
And to add to our rhizomatous crops, we are growing turmeric this year too! Not a lot, but just enough to test the waters and see how it sells, how it tastes, how it grows, you know curiosity, delicious curiosity. We also love its anti-inflammatory properties. It is a great whole food supplement for the aching body.
Everything about this year screams "this is so much better than last year!" It is hard not to repeat myself singing the praises of a completed greenhouse, two functioning coolers, and the addition of three hoop houses. Another big difference from last year, we have already filled both of our full-time positions! We won't be spending March and April interviewing and worrying because we will already have the helping hands lined up. Both hires are enthusiastic, interested in farming, and interested in working efficiently. We will be introducing them over the next couple weeks.
On top of that, we have a pretty good lead on filling our two summer part-time positions as well. Jim and I have been glancing at each other, afraid to face it head on and acknowledge how different this year could be. This could be the year!
I could go on and on but here are two things I can't leave out:
- Some farmer friends came out and gave us some helpful tips and suggestions both on a few equipment fabrications and some cultivation ideas.
- It was warm enough for us to irrigate in the hoop houses. The freshly seeded turnips and radishes really appreciated it, as did our spinach and kale. I think we are only a few weeks away from some greens!
Helen, Jim, Exie the dog, and the Lake Divide Farm Crew!
Cabbage: Green, red, round, crinkly, smooth, ALL DELICIOUS! Check out our pseudo-brussels-cabbage too!
Kohlrabi: Beastly beauties. I have been cubing and roasting them and can't get enough. I don't even peel the little ones!
Potatoes: White, red skinned, and fingerlings!
Radishes: Loose daikon, green meat (sweet daikon), black, watermelon
Winter squash: Long pie, spaghetti, butternut
Turnips- Purple Top and a sweet white ruta-turnip (limited)
*We send this email out before harvest, and although we do our very best to make accurate predictions, crops and quantities found at market may vary.
Markets, always rain or shine!
(we begin attending on dates listed above)
Saturday: Ann Arbor and Chelsea
The Ann Arbor Market is located in the Kerrytown District at 315 Detroit St, Ann Arbor, MI. The market runs from May thru December, 7 am to 3 pm and January thru April from 8 am to 3 pm.
The Chelsea Farmers' Market is in the cafeteria of the Washington Street Education Center at 500 Washington Street in Chelsea, It runs November through March from 9 am to 1 pm.