Very exciting news…High Mowing’s seed donation has arrived! A surprise variety of 50 seed packets of organic, heirloom and open-pollinated varieties of seeds were delivered to my door step a few days ago. I had made a list of ideal seed varieties for the farm, and it turns out that this donation provided a multitude of what I had already planned on ordering, and more that may serve as replacements for the varieties I had intended on paying for. This totals over $130 in donations, and it’s only February…Sweet! Thank you High Mowing Organic Seeds!
Next step…set up the growing racks in my cooperative’s second floor kitchen to take advantage of the sun that our south-facing windows provide. These glass book shelf type racks are courtesy of a farmer friend from France who recently moved to New York from Cambridge to volunteer at Camp Hill ( www.camphill.org ) Perfect! They’ll let the light in for the little seedlings, allow me to attach grow lights (somehow!) and also act as serious space savers to my house’s relief. Last year we used a screen door on top of a table which took up substantially more room than this.
And for an update on the greenhouse, as you saw, the plastic is on, and we are all enjoying a few moments each day in a warmer than outside interior of the greenhouse, which we anticipate to be even warmer once the end walls are fully sealed in. The final door has been hung, and swings like a charm. We will work towards buttoning everything up as soon as possible and work on researching more ways to heat the greenhouse sustainably. My newest obsession is making use of a rocket stove-a super efficient wood stove that uses a 55 gallon barrel and some fire bricks-sounds like just what we need! We have wood available, barrels accessible, and the need for an efficient heating system that doesn’t take too much maintenance. More to come on that as we learn more. If you know anyone who is in to rocket stoves, let us know!
In other news, the Dynamy interns painted any exposed walls silver or white to reflect some of the light back into the greenhouse and protect the untreated wood from humidity and put up more plexi glass to seal the end walls. They also successfully moved a lot of dirt out of the greenhouse and into a new garden bed nearby. This will make way for moving the compost operation indoors. We have successfully managed to get our first compost pile up to 150 degrees F!! (optimum is 135 to 150) I see this as an incredible feat for our team, just learning how to compost on a larger scale, building it up very quickly with a lot of food scraps, coffee grounds, and spent grain from a local brewery.
It is a struggle to deal with the logistics of picking up compost several times a week at various restaurants on unpredictable days. Since the cargo trailer hitch has been broken for the last few weeks, I have (sadly) been using my little toyota corolla to do the job my legs could manage instead. The good news is that this has inspired a new blacksmithing project: forging 2 new hitches for cargo trailers that will be universal for any bicycle (meaning YOU could help us pick up compost, too, by borrowing the cargo trailer!!) I say 2 new hitches because another bike trailer will be constructed in the near future! The more bike trailers we have, the fewer cars we need to drive. These things can haul so much stuff without really noticing much of a difference while riding (especially bulky stuff, that isn’t terribly heavy.)
Why do I go into so much detail with all of this stuff? We want to share what we’ve done, in hopes that it might inspire or help others interested in food production. This has been an incredible learning process for all of us, why not put what we’ve learned out into the ether where others can benefit from it?
Just found this informative piece on ways to heat greenhouses, or at least increase efficiency: http://www.greenhouse.cornell.edu/crops/factsheets/ten_ways.pdf Cool!
More to come. Thanks for reading!