[From 15-Apr-2013] Tape time again, measuring out this year’s market garden. I’ve come up with various schemes to do away with this step as an annual thing, but end up wanting to move things around, or accidentally tilling under a critical stake or two left from the year before. The method is pretty primitive: walk around with a 200′ reel tape measure, trying to keep things square (the 3-4-5 trick!), staking an outline that can be used later to easily line up smaller sections as needed. That’s Rochelle at the other end, doing this two-person is the preferred way to go. The eventual result: a new garden map.
Tiny farming: People
[From 31-Aug-2012] Brassica greens in perfect, flea beetle hole-free shape, thanks to good weather and…floating row cover. Rochelle is cutting mizuna—in the pic, there’s green and purple mustards, mizuna and tatsoi. Our extra focus on salad mixes this season continues to go over well, with a Mild Mix, Zesty Mix, and Mix of the Week, plus everything bagged individually. To fill the line-up, we have our own lettuce blend, the brassicas just mentioned plus arugula, all grown separately and as a mustards-mizuna-tatsoi mix (the tatsoi tends to be too small to easily cut in, so that’ll be out next round), spinach, and chard and beet greens (both grown tightly spaced). The greens harvest bin of choice this season is bushel baskets lined with a new clear bag each time (easy to toss into, hold a lot, the bags stay put even in wind and can be easily lifted out). Will be fun to expand the greens line-up and tweak the planting and harvest next year!
[From 12-Nov-2012] Yep, like just about every year, the new growing season starts here with fall garlic planting. Miserable, damp day, though not so cold. Andrea (close) and Rochelle (far) are working on different sections to hedge bets on which areas of the field dry out first in case of a disastrously wet spring. Crafty! The little metal pails, paint pails that happen to be from…Home Depot, turn out to be perfect for this job (they’re useful all over the place). Handy!
[From Jul. 27, 2011] There’s talking about biking-not-driving, and then there’s doing it! :) Today, Tracy, Andrea and I all made it in on two wheels with feet doing their stuff. It’s not a hard ride, about 30 minutes each way, Tracy a little closer, and mostly on pleasant bike trails. Fun on a beautiful, sunny summer’s day. Still, even after last season’s driving adventures, commuting to the farm is new, unusual and…bothersome, the way it limits the farm day. At least, by biking, the commute has a payoff, a daily one-hour workout that’s not just exercise for its own sake, it actually has a higher purpose!
The last-plantings-of-the-season fun continues as we watch the weather and hope these crops get a jump before cool temperatures and weaker sun start to seriously slow things down. More sun is the main thing, right now, and that’s been going well. Our last beds of spinach, lettuce, radish and Asian greens, direct seeded a week ago, got well-rained in the day after seeding, and they’re all coming up now. Still, it’s been fairly windy and dry since, so we decided to hand water them, to help ‘em all along. Here, Tracy uses the RedHead water breaker to gently lay down a little flood (behind her that’s broccoli, exploded: tiny broccoli flowers from unharvested heads that we take to market as a free edible flower salad garnish). In this section, 100′ x 5 rows of lettuce mix, and the same of Bloomsdale spinach… Grow, little plants, grow! :)
Watching this video made me smile! It wasn’t the kind of smile you do when you’ve seen something cute or funny. This was the deep, involuntary smile of wonder and appreciation and, um, joy, that happens when you see something really cool and admirable. When you see something that…rocks! :)
I’ve been following the adventure at Factor e Farm, through their blog, for maybe three years now, not always diligently, but what they’re up to is always somewhere on my mind. The mission they’re on is incredibly ambitious and fundamental and world-class. You have to read through their blog and wiki, and watch some of their other videos, to get a full feel for what Factor e is up to, but to try and summarize:
Using modern technological knowledge and methods, and very little cash, they are designing and building a set of machines and methods that are open source (plans are free for all), low cost, easy to replicate, highly efficient, simple to maintain, and sustainable to operate, called the Global Village Construction Set, just about everything you would need to build a community, from the house you live in to the food you eat, from scratch.
Or as their blog puts it: “We are farmer scientists – working to develop a world class research center for decentralization technologies using open source permaculture and technology to work together for providing basic needs and self replicating the entire operation at the cost of scrap metal.”
This video is their two-minute introduction: