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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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Seas of seedlings

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An endless sea of sweet pepper seedlings, out from under the fluorescent lamps, getting used to the sun. Well, not endless, a few hundred plants, mostly red, yellow and orange bell type. If all goes well, that should be…plenty!

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Toothpick timekeeping!

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Toothpick timekeeping system. Two toothpicks means two days hardening off in the sun. Simple and, I suspect, sustainabls – a single box of toothpicks could probably be made to last a lifetime. For when you’re not doing everything at once…

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Tape time!

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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

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Ice storm

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Ice storm. Some strange, quick mix of rain and freezing cold that puts a thick coating of ice on everything, and creates thick little icicles wherever water drips (like, above, from the 3-point hitch that’s attaching the rototiller to the tiny tractor. Quite amazing, and a little alarming as well when you pass under big trees drooping and sagging under the extra weight. Massive branches falling and whole trees toppling are taking out power lines all over, it’s already been out for 12 hours in places around here, and the radio’s saying it might not be restored for another 24 hours. Back to the Stone Age. The Ice Age. At least, the pre-Electric Era. No Internet at night? Light a candle, or use your long-lasting LED headlamp, and read a book!

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New plug sheets

72-cell plug sheets for seed starting

Picked up a small shipment of new plug sheets and webbed trays at the post office. I really stretch ‘em out, have some going for years—they’re reusable, but not incredibly tough, especially when you take them into the field for transplanting. Handle with care and all that, and replace as needed! These are 72-cell sheets, my basic standby. Bigger is generally better here (my other standby is 38-cells), but there’s only so much room under the lights: if you keep the timing tight, don’t leave things in there too long, they’re fine for just about any small seed. Waste no space! 

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