We have been busy getting ready for the 2013 season at Fair Fields. A major task has been getting the greenhouse ready for the seedlings that we have already started in the house, and that we will continue to grow over the next few months until they are ready to go in the ground. We put the greenhouse structure up last year. It’s pretty snug now and warms up nicely on sunny days, despite the snow that keeps coming and going outside.
When the sky is cloudy and the temperature drops outside, the greenhouse gets cold too. Most of the seedlings we will be growing need a fairly steady, warm temperature to germinate and mature. This means we have to heat the greenhouse whenever the temperature drops over the next couple of months. We have installed an old woodstove as the main source of heat and will be using scrap lumber and wood from our woodlot for fuel.
As a backup system, we’ve also installed a thermostat-controlled propane heater to supply heat when we are working off-farm and aren’t around to fire up the woodstove. We will use this fossil fuel as little as possible.
Unfortunately, the warmth inside the greenhouse meant that weeds got a head start, and we had to start our weeding even before the snow disappeared! The weeds are gone from the greenhouse for the moment, but we’re certain they will be back soon enough.
While we readied the greenhouse, we started a variety of seeds inside the house. These include green onions, leeks, celeriac, parsley, seven kinds of lettuce, fennel, eggplant, cauliflower, cabbage, anise hyssop and a variety of sweet and hot peppers.
Max Gibson of Food Files took the photos of our celeriac and green onion seedlings during a recent visit. You can see the tiny celeriac seedlings emerging from the compost in one of our potting trays at the top of the page.
The green onion seedlings in the photo on the left are shown leaning towards the light in our family room window, waiting to be transferred to the greenhouse. They’re in the greenhouse now, growing rapidly.
Our garlic, rhubarb and strawberries are still cosied up under straw mulch in the fields. We’re waiting for some consistently warmer weather before uncovering them. Hopefully that will come soon. We’ll keep you posted.