It’s going to be a busy week off the farm for Steve and Cecelia and it looks like rain all week too so, we did Monday’s work in the greenhouse today. We planted 30 flats of lettuce. It’s really cool to see the seeds we planted last week and the one’s they have been planting start to pop-up and look like lettuce. We had a break from the rain in the afternoon that gave us a chance to take down some of the Reed Canary grass from one of the gardens, pick-up branches left over from last weeks pruning rampage and move trees to appropriate parts of the property.
Reed Canary grass is a non-native species to Washington that has literally taken over. It loves wet soil and grows rapidly taking over plants and small trees. “The species grows so vigorously that it is able to inhibit and eliminate competing species” (Apfelbaum and Sams 1987) (http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/plants/weeds/aqua011.html). All we can do is try and stay on top of it with mowing.
Today I basically have the day off. I went to Aberdeen, about an hour from the farm, to explore my new home and see more of this amazing state. I did do a little work this morning around my house and I checked on the greenhouse to make sure the watering system was good and to make sure there weren’t any slugs on the lettuce.
I woke up to a snow shower and a snow covered ground this morning. It’s going to rain and snow all week so we’ve started on indoor projects. In the greenhouse Cecelia’s flowers are finishing up their blooms. We clipped off the finished blooms and weeded all of the pots of flowers and trees (I’ll put up a picture of the row of flowers at some point).
After lunch we stayed inside and organized seed inventory and made sure all of the orders from this season were correct. I called one of the seed companies to find out when a back ordered seed was scheduled to arrive. So far we’re only short one variety of winter squash.
Another day of rain, so another day of greenhouse work. Some of the tomato plants are getting big enough to transplant. The next stage for these tomatoes is a 4” container. It took the whole day (which we cut a few hours short) for the two of us to transplant 234 tomato plants.
We stopped short because we’re going to a meeting tonight on bee keeping. I’ll let you know how it goes and what we learn tomorrow.
First, about the bee meeting last night. We met in the Chehalis city hall. It’s been some time since I‘ve been to a small town gathering and it was interesting and humorous. Interesting because learning about bees is kind of cool and there is a lot to learn. Humorous because small town meetings are filled with awkward comments and people who are very serious about bee keeping and I think that’s cool. In this meeting we learned when the bees people bought for this season will arrive and a little about where those bees are coming from and how they are transported. At the end there was a short presentation on cleaning bees’ wax and shaping it into usable blocks (for candle making and other products). Apparently the next meeting will be more informative because the bees will have arrived and they will talk more about how to take care of them and how to harvest honey and wax.
Thursday was a short day. Lots of rain still coming down and not a lot to do indoors anymore. We worked in the greenhouse doing a job called “onesieing”. I have no idea how to spell it and I don’t know if it’s a technical term. Here’s how it works though. When we seed the soil blocks we drop an extra seed in one or two blocks on each row, for insurance. If both seeds germinate they don’t want to stay in the same soil block. Meanwhile, some of the single seeded blocks have not germinated. So “onesieing” (it’s still weird for me to say it) is breaking the block in two and putting one of the little plants in an empty block. It’s not a recommended technique in the book I’m reading (The New Organic Farmer; Coleman), but it works well for us.
Yet another slow day, but I’m not complaining. Steve brought a load of soil mix in this morning and I shoveled it out of the back of the truck and into a holding cell in the greenhouse. This special soil is a compost blend with the vital nutrients that encourage germination and make the plants want to grow.
After unloading the truck an inspector came to recertify the farm as a Salmon Safe Farm. They check to make sure the farm isn’t using any harmful chemicals or participating in any other practices that could hurt wildlife in the streams and rivers as a result of run-off. We have an easy time of staying certified since we’re already certified organic.
Once those things were taken care of we had lunch and then I left for Seattle to see some friends.
No work today. I think Saturday and Sunday are going to be off days more regularly. I came back from Seattle this morning and we had a St. Patrick’s Day dinner in the little town of Oakville. The community library is raising funds to build a library so they don’t have to use the city hall anymore, and this dinner was a fundraiser for that project.