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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Farm Update - Vegetable Area!

We started planting our winter crop a month a half ago and continue planting to have a steady supply.  We have various types of lettuce, peas, cauliflower, broccoli, beets, cabbage, cilantro, parsley, and collard greens.   Here are some pictures of the rows.  Some of the lettuce is ready to harvest.    My parents are also repairing a drip line to one of the rows.   Some of the rows have small seedlings that were planted in the last week.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Bored Parents + Grapefruit order = Grapefruit picking party!

I received a order for 6 cases of grapefruit the other day.  My parents are also visiting from South Dakota.   I took them to the farm to pick grapefruit in the orchard.     They didn't complain, but I guess picking grapefruit in 60 degree sunny weather is better than being knee deep in snow and below zero weather.     The trees are old marsh grapefruit trees.   I have 11 of them in the orchard.   I am happy to find someone interested in grapefruit because the pharmaceutical industry has destroyed the grapefruit demand.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

No Till Planting - Back to Eden Method!

This is my second year planting on this property and after tilling a lot of compost into each row,  I have decided to stop tilling and utilize a variation of Paul Gautchis back to eden gardening method.   His method involves using raised beds with thick layers of compost, organic material and wood chips.   I am not using wood chips because the compost I purchase has a lot of wood particles in it.  
My rows are 3 foot wide and 50 feet long.  I have 26 rows so a total of 3900 square feet of planting space, so I will need a lot of organic material.

I am covering the row with 3-4 inches of compost before planting.   This will serve a few purposes.   One is to rebuild the soil because the compost will be worked into the soil by planting and earthworm activity.   It will also provide nutrients to the plant when I water by compost tea washing into the soil.  It will also hold moisture in the soil reducing water use.   Finally, it will eliminate the need to weed because the compost layer is so thick, weed seeds will not be able to sprout.    This will save a lot of time.

Here are images of the row being prepared.  The base soil had a lot of compost added last spring, but still has a lot of clay as you can tell by the reddish color.   The images will show the layer of compost being added and my dad surveying the work after we were done.

We laid out drip lines that only use a little over a half a gallon per hour for each 100 feet so basically I can water each row with 3 lines for a hour and only use 1.8 gallons.    Considering I have to use city water, this will save a lot of money.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Planting Cilantro

We prepared a row yesterday and I got Duane to come out to the farm to help me plant Cilantro.      We planted two plug trays of cilantro.   I have a restaurant and a Mexican market and Carniceria who want to buy cilantro from me.
My mother was busy in the kitchen preparing christmas dinner so we decided to go to the farm to plant.   Duane came along and help which is great because it took half the time.  

Seedling Party Update

We planted 14 plug trays of seedlings on 12-23-15 and we have some of the seeds already sprouting after 2 days.   Lettuce and brassicas (cabbage family) seedlings sprout very easily.      They are sprouted under grow lights and the trays are placed on a seedling heating mat set at 72 degrees which speeds up germination.  
Here are a couple pictures of them poking through the soil.

Seed Starting Party!

Its time to start another round of winter vegetables.    I had help from my mother, Sarrah, who helps me on the farm and Alanah, a UCR student who is interested in farming and permaculture.     We started plug trays of varous kinds of lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, swiss chard, spinach, cabbage and and basil.    we planted 14 plug trays or about 3500 seeds.     Here is a picture of my helpers, and all the plug trays under the grow lights.   The trays are set on heated mats to help warm the soil and improve and speed up the germination.     Sarrah was the boss and the second picture is of here ordering us around.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Vegetable Cooler is up and running!

The cooler is finally built.   We wired the cooler the other day, and installed the air conditioner.   We installed the coolbot cooling system, and started it up.    It lowered the temp from 65 to 51 in about a hour.   It appeared to keep the temperature without running the A/C that much.   We will have to see how it works when its 100 degrees outside this summer.     The coolbot system bypasses the window air conditioners thermostat and runs it at a much lower temperature.

Here are some pictures of the cooler, exterior, interior, and coolbot.