Yes, we have been carefully preparing one-quarter acre of beautiful, fertile land for vegetable production since late December. And this weekend marks the beginning of our expanding farming adventure.
While we don’t expect to have any produce available for at least a month, I’ll be updating this post regularly to highlight new developments, so check back weekly if you’re interested in farm progress.
Another busy week/weekend on the farm, but they usually are! This weekend’s highlights include: Teeny tiny baby chicks! And shiitake mushroom log inoculation!
The chicks will be raised in an A-frame enclosure until they’re about six weeks old. Then they become “teenagers” and graduate to live out in the chicken house, where they will still remain physically separated from our laying hens until they are 16-18 weeks old. This separation allows us to feed the teenagers separately (layer mix could damage their little kidneys). However, it also gives the old and new chickens a chance to get accustomed to one another without having physical contact. This helps ease the tension that results when integrating the flock, as chickens take “pecking order” very seriously.
This week we also ventured into mushroom cultivation. 750 wooden dowels, inoculated with 3 different strains of certified organic mushroom spawn, arrived just in time for weekend planting.
An angle grinder made easy work of the 750 holes that need to be drilled, then the dowels were hammered into the logs and waxed over to prevent dessication.
Shiitakes lovers, don’t hold your breath – it may take over a year to see these logs produce their first edible mushrooms. I’m hoping it’s well worth the wait!
We started the weekend by harrowing the field one last time, then used a chisel plow to make deep rows for our potatoes. The next thing we needed to do was amend the soil. Rather than broadcast spreading the amount of nitrogen recommended in a recent soil analysis, we amended just the planting rows with composted cow manure. This way, we’re fertilizing only the plants we want in the garden (not weeds!), are not relying on synthetic chemicals, and we’re finding a use for what otherwise could be a waste product (literatlly…).
Finally, the field is ready! We planted lots of red potatoes and a variety we’ve never tried before, Adirondack blue.
Also planted were kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage (green and red), onions, purple top turnips, spinach, and several varieties of carrots.