Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Prepping for winter growing

We are getting our selves ready for the winter at the farm these days. Taking out all the growth from this summer (those amazing corn stalks and leafy tomato plants), turning under the last of the lettuce leftovers into the soil and building cold frames for some winter planting. We had a great team of volunteers this past week, who helped us construct 2 cold frames on our ground level beds. The day we built them was cold and very much an autumn afternoon, but we managed to build both cold frames in record time. The cover will provide some added warmth for our garlic, onions, spinach, kale and chard, as we move swiftly into the winter season. We will be starting our cold frames with a cover of row cloth, a fabric that lets light and air and water through, but still provides a blanket of warmth, and then we will move into plastic sheeting when the weather gets real cold. As usual, this is an experiment, so I'll keep you up to date with how the results turn out.

Thankfully for us the weather this week is warmer, in the 60's!, and is providing us with perfect cover cropping days! We will be spreading a cover crop mix of vetch, winter rye and a few other cold hardy varietals in all of our ground level and rooftop beds. I am hoping this helps to fix some of the nitrogen loss from this season and that we are able to build healthy soil for next year. The cover crop mix we are using is from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply, it's their Soil Builder Mix. I have had great success with their products, and I am looking forward to the tall grains fortifying our soil throughout the winter.

Next week we put our garlic and onions into the raised beds, so stay tuned for some how-to photos!

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