Week 22

A lot of market gardens are starting to wrap up their production season around now. People are asking us, so are you going to take a break? Quite the opposite! This is a very busy time for us, when we need to do everything possible to get storage crops in, winter crops planted, bare soil covered, and the winter irrigation system set up. Winter irrigation means all the summer lines, and big irrigation pump, are drained, and the winter pump is installed by the pond. The winter pump is drained after every use so there is no freezing and thawing inside. We usually move a few of the field tunnels at this time, taking them off summer crops and putting them on winter crops.

How are the impending economic conditions going to affect the farm? Already we have seen supply shortages for things like insect net, or lumber for building. We also have seen steep increases in shipping costs! For example, the cost of shipping seed for growing shoots has tripled this year. The cost of fuel, has gone way up. We are happy we’ve invested so heavily in solar energy and ground heat systems for the farm. And we’re glad we only have to transport the produce we grow 75 km (47 miles) to Halifax. Less than 100 miles to get produce to the people who eat it, including the trip back to the farm with empty bins.

Soon we will be doing a debrief from the 2021 production season. What worked, what didn’t, and why. We’ll explore together how to improve space design, field tunnel design, wash/pack design. Overall I am feeling very positive about this growing season. I would like to do a better job growing cucumbers and ginger. The leek moth is moving into the province and is going to be a challenge for us, possibly requiring that we cover the entire leek crop with insect net. We also want to learn about growing radicchio. I know we can do it, but we’re still learning! I’m excited to hear everyone else’s ideas for the future.

David started taking the tomato trellis down on Saturday when Marshall dropped by to talk shop
Plastic off field tunnel #1
Hanging the ribs on tractor forks for transport to Middle field.
Here’s a field tunnel going up on the Sheila Shack extension.
David and Sean building the endwall and wiring in the plastic.
The first ground heat greenhouse, Nina, is ready for winter production!
Winter leeks on the left, and summer leeks on the right. Clover and ryegrass with David in between.
Summer leek on top and winter leek on the bottom. We’re almost finished harvesting the summer leeks and will start on the winter leeks soon. We will store most of them through the winter and process them every week for market.
Spinach and beets in front of the lettuce and green onion beds
While the Abundant Acres crew is harvesting, Marshall and Hilary are in an adjacent field mowing a fence line and then moving the electric fence for the laying hens to have new, fresh grazing space.