Spring Farm Life Update!
Holy wow, this sure is the busy season! Every spare chance I get, I'm out at the farm, sometimes just for a few hours, sometimes aaaaall day long, sometimes by myself, and sometimes with volunteers to ease the load.
In just the past few weeks the fields have been cleared, beds built and composted, irrigation installed, so many plants started and transplanted and moved to the greenhouse, and finally into the ground. Happily the arbitrary deadlines that I set for myself back in February are the right deadlines (the weather is 100% responsible for that!) and they're all being met 😅
This year is the first time I've used an indoor heat and light set-up for seed starting, and there's a bit of a learning curve! There have been some dramatic successes and some spectacular failures. Most of the failures have happened when I moved potted-up plants to the greenhouse on-site - not having daily access, and with much more heat in the greenhouse, means that I couldn't water as often as I should have, and I lost a fair amount of plants. Fortunately I overseeded *everything* which means I had a lot of back-ups, and where I didn't have extra, farmer friends shared their extra plant starts with me. Valuable lesson learned: make sure plants in a greenhouse can be watered every day!
There was a bit of a setback when I discovered that the free compost on-site was absolutely ridden with plastic. There was no way I would put that into my soil, especially after having done a walk-through to pick out all the plastic from previous years! I ended up ordering 15 yards of soil from Kutny's Richmond Soils (a $600 expense I hadn't planned for) and am I ever glad I did! I got the most lovely 100% mushroom compost from them, and the delivery was quick and painless. Props to the delivery driver who dropped it in exactly the area I had flagged for it!
We've got so many plants in the ground now. June 1 was my deadline for getting things into the ground, and I'm pleased to say that since May 28 it's been go time! Evenings and weekends are spent transplanting and direct sowing, and I'd say that well more than half of the plot is planted. As far as transplants go, so far we've got three kinds of tomatoes (Giant Crimson, Blush and Clear Pink), cantaloupes, zucchinis, cucumbers pumpkins, peppers, eggplants, ground cherries, echinacea, sunflowers, tobacco, dianthus, marigolds, cosmos, marshmallow, and a couple of flower blends I'm testing out. We've also seeded four kinds of dry beans (Borlotti, Fiesta, Black Coco and Mbombo), peas, cosmos, nasturtiums and a variety of beets. All of the flowers are being grown for seeds, and the veggies are about an even split between being grown for seed and/or donation to community fridges around Vancouver.
Next up: getting the rest of the transplants and seeds into the ground, adding more irrigation, installing T-posts and trellising for the tomatoes, beans and peas, and making sure I don't kill off the next round of starts in the greenhouse! Oh, and weeding, lots and lots of weeding!
None of this could've happened without the help of volunteers! Jolayne, Troy and Delilah have been lifesavers, they're keen on learning and are a lot of fun to have around! If volunteering on our farm sounds like something you'd be interested in doing, shoot me a message and I'll add you to our volunteer mailing list. I can't pay, but I do offer rides to and from Vancouver, I provide food and drinks, and when crops are ready to harvest, you won't go home empty-handed!