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Choosing straw!

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[From 13-Jun-2013] Mulching peppers with straw. So pretty! Plastic mulch is cheaper than straw, also, quicker to lay down and clean up, and generally more effective in suppressing weeds and retaining soil heat, but plastic is also less fun! Hahaha, those crazy business decisions. I’ve used plastic before, and like as not will again—in tiny farming, thinking small in 50′ and 100′ beds, flexibility comes easy. In any case, this year, we choose straw!

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Enter the Riot Garden

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[From 17-Jun-2013] Tried this a couple of times before, to varying degrees of success, a small garden within the market garden, a kinda test/demo back yard-sized plot. One year, it was an elaborate set-up we called Home Garden, masterminded by Shannon: after a great start, I think it eventually went to the weeds, being lower on the weeding list than many other things… This year, it’s a simple 10′x20′ rectangle, being measured, squared and staked out for tilling by Ashley. This version is called the Riot Garden because the plan is no plan, just throw in odds and ends of leftover seedlings and seeds, and edit as we go…what could be easier, right?!

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Salad box planning

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Rise of the Salad Box: First meeting, with Rochelle and artist Shannon, on design details for our salad box project. Yes, it’s simple coolers, to be converted into standalone salad dispensers, with an honor system cash box and helpful signage built in, and cool graphics on the outside. The Plan: fresh, same-day-harvested salad and cooking greens, EVERYWHERE! We’ll see how it goes.

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Brrrr… Peppers under wraps

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Not the happiest campers after three days and nights of frost protection, peppers and eggplant have one day and two nights more under row cover, if the forecast is to be believed. But the 15-day forecast a week ago was for no more cold nights, so…who knows! We’ve had about a week of frost warning nights so far since the second week of May, which I don’t think I’ve seen before. Normally, the covers would come off during the day, but with everything else to do now, and the kinda elaborate weighting-down-with-rocks setup, it’s simpler to leave it in place till the end…

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Early lettuce heats up

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Couple hundred not-so-early early lettuce, toughing it out in the semi-sauna-like greenhouse, along with seedlings that should be out in the field soon. This year, we went from chilly late winter conditions to summer-ish heat, with absolutely no mild spring in between—one day to the next. Always exciting (never dull)!

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Working on water

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At work on water: Rochelle changes an shutoff valve—a tap!—to the 1″ header pipe that runs from the well through the field. Not exactly a big pipe by irrigation standards, OK for our low volume use. You could call it a hybrid setup, a mix of commercial and home garden gear, with a healthy amount of manual labor thrown in to make it all go (dragging around hoses to where they’re needed and the like, hand watering from 55-gal barrels when necessary). Full drip irrigation has been on the to-do list for years, all the gear has been here, but I’ve never quite got round to it, which sounds odd, I’m sure, but we’ve done well relying on rain, and working with minimal gear when the rains don’t come. Kinda…satisfying! :)

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