Spring Newsletter May 2017

Riverbend Farm Spring Newsletter May 20, 2017

It is raining. If it wasn’t Mary and I would be selling garden starter plants at the Birchwood with our friend Mette. But it is raining. We got about an inch and a half today, bringing us to a little over 4.5” for the week. That’s plenty.

The storm on Wednesday dumped on us pretty hard and packed the soil surface forming a crust. That crust needs to be broken up to get the air circulating through the soil again otherwise the plant roots will suffocate. The crust also leads to run off and erosion.

As you can imagine getting that much water in a week makes it hard to do any field work. Driving a tracto or even a pickup truck on saturated soil squeezes the air spaces shut and creates a hard spot, compaction. Our soil drains pretty well so we tend to be better off than our neighbors when it is too wet but it will still take a while before we can go anywhere but the high spots without causing problems.

We will be back selling plants at the Birchwood tomorrow. You can also get Riverbend plants for your garden at either Seward Coop location or the little greenhouse in the Wedge parking lot.
It has been a busy month. Scheduling the plant production has been a logistical nightmare.

The furnace in the second greenhouse died last year. Bypassing the troublesome gas valve and connecting the supply line directly to the burner, and hotwiring the fan got it working but it was not a long term solution. For example, it is a mistake to stand in front of the furnace when lighting the burner and there are no over temperature, flame rollout, or flameout controls. Heck, once it is lit it just runs wide open all the time. Luckily the nights were chilly when it was running.

All that means that earlier this spring was a great time to put radiant heat in the floor. There was a warm spell in early March that took the frost out of the greenhouse floor so I could dig out 6” of dirt and install the foam and PEX tubing. The dirt got moved back into the greenhouse just before it started raining and got cold again. At the same time a lot of seeds needed to be started to produce veggie transplants. And so it went. My niece Kathy and I finished up the floor the day before we started moving plants over there.

The new heating system has plumbed and filled right before the we started moving warm season (tomatoes) in there. A week later it was full. Now we are emptying it out to fill it with plants that are going into to the field here.

Up coming events:
Sunday – plant sale at the Birchwood
TBD – produce deliveries
Last Saturday of the month – tomato planting crop mob
Mid June – CSA starts up

More later