Today we actually got all of the seeding done. Between and during some rain showers we got another hoop house ready for plastic to go up when we have a chance later this week. I started taking care of the animals this week. We don’t have pigs yet so it’s just chickens and ducks to feed, water and check for eggs. I go a little earlier than usual in the morning to get them all fed and watered. Then at the end of the day I check on the chickens again for eggs. We wash the eggs and put them in a centrally located outdoor cooler so everyone can take them as they need them. It’s nice having a lot of our food available right on the farm. The fruit orchard is starting to blossom. That’s what I’m really looking forward to, fresh fruit (Picture).
We got lots of things done today. I started by hoeing and weeding in the lettuce house while the others started potting up tomatoes into one-gallon pots. Then I went over to the hoop house we’ve been working on and finished putting the channel on for the wiggle wire that will hold the plastic on. Steve left early in the morning to get plastic and other supplies from a place north of Seattle. We finished the tomatoes just as Steve was getting back and went out to finish the 60-foot hoop house. Now all the hoop houses are up with the exception of about 30 feet of another house that Steve and I only partially reconstructed a few weeks ago.
We started out watering one of the hoop houses. They’re all a little different for watering needs. This one appeared to be getting enough water, but the leaves weren’t perking up after a few days after transplanting. Since it’s a fairly new transplant the lettuce’s roots haven’t been fully established into the ground so they still have to absorb water through the little soil blocks they went in the ground with. If there isn’t enough water penetrating the soil, the blocks will dry up and the plants won’t absorb what they need. Water is also escaping through the plants leaves. After learning a little more about watering two of us started seeding a few more brassicas and test flats of lettuce seed saved from last season. Today we finally got the chickens into outdoor pins (Picture). We did some spring cleaning and repair work on the pins and then divided the chickens between the two. The pins have wheels and are moved around every two to three days so the chickens have new grass to eat and scratch in. Our last project was setting up for the final repair work on the final hoop house. We laid out the hoops, determined the angles needed to bend the hoops back into shape and found the brackets. Each of us met with Steve and Cecelia this evening to talk about individual projects, goals and to discuss how things are going. I’m going to take care of a small hops crop (not for production), work on the roof of our house, work on a business plan and eventually, when the fields dry out, start on squash and pumpkins.
We started out today hoeing in the hoop houses and mowing around all of the houses. After lunch we put up wire fencing on the side of a building as a trellis for a new plant to work its way up. Then we worked on bending more pipes for the extension of yet another hoop house. This should actually be the last one. We figured out what angles we need and shaped a few of them. We stopped early today because it was raining and we had things to do in town.
Today we potted up more tomatoes into one-gallon pots. It took all morning to work on the tomatoes and then we started back in on the pipe bending for the last hoop house repair. We came up with a new method for bending that went really fast. The arches are split into two pieces that have to be joined together to complete that arch. The original pieces have been either lost or broken so we had to manufacture our own. We found a piece of pipe that fits inside the hoop house pipes and cut four inch pieces. I smoothed off the cut edges with a table grinder and then used a drill press to make holes for the bolts to go through (Pictures). Now all that’s left is joining the two pieces and putting the arches back into place. We finished for the day at 5 o’clock and I stayed out to take care of the ducks and chickens and to start cleaning up around my newest project growing hops.