Well we’ve done it. For the last twelve years we have been managing greenhouse vents manually, and now we have the seedling house vents automated. This will save us some time in the long run, but saving time is only the third and least important reason we are making this change. The first and most important reason is for our lifestyle. Managing vents manually means never being far from home and always available, 7 days a week, for months at a time over the winter and spring. Yesterday was mostly sunny with a bit of cloud which means we would have had to stay home to manage vents, but because we now have the vent controlled by computer we were able to go to church. Over the years we have missed family Easter celebrations, and even been late for Christmas once not to mention countless other events because of the greenhouse. This won’t solve all of that since there are three more greenhouses that we still haven’t automated, but this zone always has had the fastest temperature swings, so it had the tightest hold on our schedules. The second reason for automation is because it can do a better job than we ever could without it. At very best, if we were working full time in the greenhouses we could open and close the vents as we noticed the temperature changing. And sometimes that is the case. But even then, we don’t consistently notice at set temperature thresholds. Temperatures change, and we adapt before changing the conditions. And that would be if we were always in the greenhouse. The rest of the time we try to notice conditions changing and open or shut vents as needed, but sometimes it gets missed. Just in the last week before installing the vent motor there was at least once that we missed opening on time and it was 39ºC inside before it got opened, and several times where it got cloudy and the furnace was on to keep it warm before we noticed and closed the vent. So that will be a change as well. Hopefully the plants appreciate their new computer controlled environment.
This week in CSA we have Lettuce Mix, Cabbage, Beets, Carrots, Garlic, and winter sweet squash.
This is our delivery week for Dufferin area folks and pickup only at the Montgomery’s Inn so get those orders in by tonight!
In addition to progress on greenhouse automation (can you tell we’re excited?) we were able to make some progress on the manure spreader again. We picked up the new piece of steel from the welding shop to replace the rusty parts I took there a few weeks ago. We must have done our measurements right because it fit perfectly and is now bolted in place. Now just a bit of final reassembly and a bit of welding and it should be ready to go for hopefully another five years. We’re really looking forward to having this rather bulky piece of equipment back out of the shop so we can work on other things!
More eggs are coming! Well not quite yet. But the new flock is starting to lay a few eggs per day, right about on schedule. So far those eggs are not only few, but very small so they won’t be appearing at market this week or next. In the mean time, duck egg production is really starting to take off, so if you’ve wanted to try duck eggs this would be a good opportunity. They are richer and eggier than chicken eggs so if you enjoy eggs that have flavour they are a treat! The old flock of hens is not keeping up with the level of production we are used to, so egg supply will continue to be tight the next few weeks. We’ve been wondering if the change in diet from how many greens and weeds we were giving them might be a factor so we are trying to ration greenhouse weeds to one bin per day to see if that is a better balance, but there are so many other factors of time of year, temperature in the coop, and age of the birds that it is hard to say anything for sure. For now we’ll just be thankful for the eggs we get and eat more duck eggs.
Customers are always asking for greens forecasts, so here is what we are expecting for the next little while. Greens are growing, but never fast enough. This week we have a bit of second cut from a late planting of lettuce that we plan to be harvesting. It’s hard to predict actual yield from that, but safe to say it will probably be less than we had last week. Hopefully by the following week the new second planting of lettuce has reached a respectable size for harvest so we don’t have a gap. Arugula continues to hold out in small quantities for now, and the new planting is making slow progress. And the planting after that is germinating so there will be more at some point at least. Baby Kale is producing consistently as it should, but demand has far exceeded what we had the nerve to plant based on previous year’s sales experience. We’ll take it as a win anyway. Dandelions are coming. Not this week, but possibly next. The first Bok Choi are also coming along nicely. We’re forecasting two to three weeks for those to be ready, but they are coming! Spinach continues to be disappointing at the time of year it should be in it’s prime. We’ll have a few, but not much. Well that’s about it for what we have growing. We’re trying some Swiss Chard for early spring harvest as well, but those are still in the trays so it will be a while.
Well that’s most of the news for this week anyway and as always there is lots to get done.
Until next week,
Nathan and Aleta Klassen