It’s been 65 weeks since we started this journey! We’ve been busy taking on projects and growing in preparation for the Gastonia Farmer’s Market next year. Here’s a run down of everything going on,
In The High Tunnel:
- Winter Carrots and Beets germinated well, we tried to water daily or 2x daily and we saw a huge improvement in germination rate.
- All of our summer crops are out of the tunnel, we left a few pepper plants for just for us.
- Collards, Kale, lettuce, Swiss Chard have all be transplanted out in the tunnel. Including 4 successions of lettuce and two more still in trays slated to go in in the next few weeks. This marks the last of transplanted until January or February.
- Turmeric was pulled, more on that later.
Our carrots seeded in the summer were almost a complete failure, almost all turned out bitter. We’ve chalked it up to lack of sunlight and too hot temperatures in the tunnel. We will be growing carrots in the hot weather only outside now to avoid this in next year. Soil was also an issue in the spot we grew them and we may try a different variety “Mokum” next year as well.
Germination for direct seeded crops will be done next year using silage tarps cut to a bed width. Using the tarp with the white side up and leaving on the bed until germination should help us get better germination.
Our peppers got cucumber mosaic virus so we had to pull them all early. The orange bell suffered the worse, only turning slightly orange before developing spots and starting to rot. Really unfortunate but we know it came from the cucumbers in the next row. Next year we will be growing two successions of cucumbers and that should help stave off the virus.
Turmeric was a bit of a disappointment. The rhizomes were not in the ground long enough for the rhizomes to develop. We had a decent harvest but young rhizomes don’t store well. The plan next year is to switch to more ginger and a few turmeric plants for ourselves.
- The asparagus bed has been composted for the winter with about 2″ of compost.
- Garlic! We planted 16lbs of garlic. That may not sound like much until you think about that being over 900 cloves that will grow into 900 heads.
- There is one succession of lettuce left outside and will be harvested in the next week or so, leaving only lettuce in the tunnel.
- Sweet Potatoes were pulled and this was a huge success! We harvested 180lbs of sweet potatoes from 24 slips. We have half a dozen sweet potatoes over 5 lbs and one that was 5.4 lbs!
Big changes in the next few months to this plot, we will be expanding it building about 15 more beds. We got the beds staked out after lots of math and walking. Our plot has a weird shape where no corner is a right angle(odd shaped), so all of the beds are different lengths and are at an angle. Work to build these bed was being postponed until we started getting rains that would allow us to be able to dig out the paths.
The chickens are still in the woods being rotated every 3-4 weeks. we finally got some rain a few weeks ago and our grasses are starting to come up! The chickens are on their 5th move and with the winter coming we are going to be moving them closer to the house for the winter. We will be constantly adding material over the winter creating a deep bedding for them with hopes of turning that material into compost in the spring for the garden.
We are building our wash/pack/processing/cooler shed over the winter! Surely to be a project but also very excited to be able to process everything in a clean/covered spot when its done. We spent hours over the details and are building something that is efficient for the future but not too big to be excessive. The total footprint is 288 square feet, including a 64 square feet cooler and 80 square foot outdoor processing area. We are adding some neat features like a floor drain along with wiring and plumbing. Work is scheduled to start in a few weeks!
Thanks for reading,