Sunday, February 14, 2010

Warm weather spell.

Hi all. This little stretch of weather that is teasing us with thoughts of spring is an annual event around this time of year. It is a friendly and welcome reminder that the growing season is not far away! Below are photos of some of the things that we're doing right now to get ready. Trays of soil blocks are steadily multiplying in my basement. I'll be making quite a few of these little blocks over the course of the next few months!
We're also in the midst of receiving, cataloging seeds and planning our planting calendar and crop rotation. We will be expanding our variety selection on almost all crops this year as a result of last season. We want to work to be able to provide things even in an horrible season. That takes a lot of time, effort and experimentation to see which varieties might have a genetic habit that allows them to grow under stressful conditions. Luckily, I love the work!

Also, our new heat mats have arrived!!! Each year we try to make one large investment to further our goals. Last year's was the 6-row precision seeder. This year's is definitely the heat mat. (seeds don't count or they would always be the biggest investment) These are the best heat mats in the trade according to many farmers I know, including Eliot Coleman, Maine based worldwide organic farming guru. I've been wanting them for a long time and getting by without them. Hopefully they will give us a jump on many crops. The mats are heavy red rubber with electric wire running throughout to give even bottom heat to our seedlings. We were able to purchase 4 this year and one thermostat to control all of them. Onions are going in starting this Friday and we get to try them out. Can't wait!

Finally, our chickens are loving the warm weather. Whenever it's nice I let them out of their greenhouse to range around our yard. I let them out a little longer every day and I think I finally have them trained not to go in the road. Knock on wood. Here are three of them checking our our rhododendrons and saying hello to an elderly couple that walks by every morning.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Off Season" - nealy ended

Well, the winter is drawing to a close. We've had a couple of nice days where temperatures actually reached into the 30's and the sun has been shining. I've been working hard to get our house projects done. To view some of the progress you can visit Em's blog at
I'm also hard at work on things that won't get done during the growing season. Yesterday's nice weather gave me a chance to get into the woods to cut some of next winter's firewood. I pick away as time permits.
I've also been working on some administrative things over the past few weeks. This includes sending reminders and informational cards to our members who haven't yet signed up for the upcoming season. Another big project is the organization of the Bangor region's CSA/CSF Fair, which I volunteered to do this year. The fair is on Feb. 28th so the real work is just beginning!
I'm also doing some of the winter things that are essential to the growing season like painting the milk house after scraping the old peeling paint, cleaning it and organizing for the harvests to come, building bird and bat houses for the garden (hopefully I can get some photos on here soon) and beginning to work out our crop rotation/layout and planting calendar.
So much to do!!!
In other exciting news, I've been nominated (and accepted) to be the Chair of the Board of Food For Maine's Future, a small, grass roots organization that is trying to change the food system to reflect food sovereignty and local control values. It is an honor to work with the many people involved in FMF to make positive social change! To learn more about FMF and our work, please visit I hope to post more frequently now that things are heating up!
Speaking of heating up. Lizzie and I were in the greenhouse today and the spinach I planted in late January is starting to come up! Wahoo, I miss fresh spinach. When the warm weather of March makes itself known we'll get some good growth.
Bye for now.