Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Calvary Comes to the Rescue!!!!

Of course it's raining cats and dogs on Monday when our Bedford High students told us they'd come back to help on their own time.  Given this, Gail and Jeremiah naturally assumed no one would show and started planning accordingly over early morning cups of coffe.  Soooo very much to do to include:
  • Move all plants from catepillar houses down to the now tilled (not all but enough) garden.  But because of the heavy rains, we would have to walk them down rather than destroy the Arel's lawn by driving them in the large truck... probably close to 150 trays of seedlings
  • Once catepillar houses were emptied, move seedlings from the greenhouse tables out to the catepillar houses and then the established eggplant and peppers onto the tables
  • Start separating the hundreds of tomato seedlings into their own cells, which also requires filling many trays with fertilized soil.  The tomatoes would then be secured in the grow chambers at the end of the day
  • Start planting some of the greens into the gardens... Wala Walas are now in the ground
Just an overpowering list for two people, so we contemplated taking a nap instead.  But low and behold two cars filled with 5 BHS students arrived around 9 AM raring to go.  There went our naps.  By the end of the day, all the above tasks were complete and while we were exhausted and soaked to the bone, the sense of accomplishment and pride abounded in all. All and all, a fantastic day thanks to these kind hearted and spirited Bedford teens. 
The Calvary arrives (1 more coming)

Mmmmmm, I love fish guts and seaweed


Monday, April 23, 2012

Day 2: Yet Another Great Day

We were saddened to see our Day 1 crew drive off, thinking we'd never get another great group of students like them.  Once again, we were proven WRONG.  Day 2 Bedford High Students proved equally enthusiastic, finishing up work done on Day 1 and pressing on with new and sometimes even more arduous tasks.  What joy!

Mentor Dave with new Demolition/Construction Team

Pure joy amid stench and heat

A scraping mission til beehive discoverd

Hard core throughout the day,
completing the dirtiest of jobs

Wants to come back during spring break to finish the job

And, he wants in with his construction buddy

Not thrilled when they found out they were mixing fish guts into soil;
however, you can see they adapted just fine

Day 2 Crew

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Demolition and Clean Up DAY 1

Mentor Dave working with demolition crew

Benches in front of Head Houses now gone. 
It's Cleanup time, not an easy task
Our Day 1 Team of 16 Bedford HS students worked incredibly hard to clean  up the head house area so we can start selling seedlings and ultimately our harvest right from here.  As a group, the only break they would take was a short lunch break.  We had to physically tear them away from their various missions when the bus arrived at the end of the day. 

Even the BHS Teachers Worked Hard, a Nasty Job

Green Waste Crew.  Loaded and Secured hundreds of pounds. 
AND, learned how to make a square knot

Supervisor Roger coached on taking down existing structure
 for ultimate move to the front of the head houses

Field Prep and First Plantings

Tyler turned out to be quite the mechanic and fixed the rototiller


Wala Walla Planting

More Wala Wala Planting

Siting Irrigation Lines
More Bedford High School Work in Action!


Our Day #1 Artists

Our Day #2 Artists
Our primary greenhouse is now filled with great life and even more joy thanks to the Bedford High School volunteers.  Day 1 artists painted the entire alphabet with fruits/veggies painted for each letter, what great imagination and enthusiasm these young ladies had.  AND, we had just fertilized the day before with our organic concoction of fish guts and seaweed so you can only imagine (probably not though) the stench after the heat built up... they were troopers.

Day #2 artists proved equally enthusiastic and used a combination of impressionist and modern art techniques to enhance the work accomplished the day before.  We just provided the "canvas" and paints empowering them to use their imaginations.  Needless to say, they exceeded all expectations!  AND, the fertilizer stench was just as strong. 

All our artists relatively quickly adapted to the environmental aromas.  Sorry Moms, I encouraged the students to give you big long hugs when they got home... oh, the stench on their bodies!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Field Preparations

Jeremiah and his buddy Jed installing deer fence

Maria building raised garden

Dumante working hard too, she got the short shovel
but Roger was gracious enough to loan her a long handle
making this arduous task easier 
As you learned in our last posting, the Arels made available a large field for planting.  Problems:  groundhogs and deer are aplenty in the woods behind the field.  So, a fence had to go out to attempt to control these garden destroying creatures.  The fence is electrified in our attempt to belay the deer and as for the groundhogs... you just don't want to know. 

First to go into the ground will be the Wala Wala onions and then cabbage, swiss chard, lettuce, and other greens.  But in the meantime, we continue to seed our warm weather loving plants like various varieties of eggplant, peppers and tomatoes.  Right now the greenhouses are FULL, so it's imperative we get them in the ground soonest to make room for our newest seedlings.  The eggplant right now are just amazing!

Monday, April 16, 2012

110% Capacity

The good news is that both our greenhouse and catepillar houses are now filled to capacity.  The better news is that the Arel family next door have most generously offered close to an acre field, all organic, for planting this year.  First in, Wala Wala onions... a sweet onion comparable to Vidalias.  We are all thrilled by this amazing act of generosity and as you can see, Jeremiah's already plowing it under with our new rototillar (sp?). 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

No Room in The Greenhouse

So, the greenhouse is full... now what?  As always, Jeremiah had ideas and the skills to execute on those ideas.  The solution?  Mini hoop houses, also referred to as caterpillar houses.  These were specifically designed to be mobile so after after the greenhouse season ends they can be transferred to the fields to facilitate better growth of our "heat seeking" plants like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.

Site selected (access to electricity and water)
 and weed control layed

Able and willing crew to include:
 Jeremiah, Roger, Dave, and Jason while
Gail takes pictures

Luna proudly serves as watch dog to keep critters away

Interior view of the three (sides can be raised).
We're already at 75% occupancy

Exterior View.  There are 3 hoop houses, each measuring 16 x 4 feet

Farmers like Deke are filling the houses faster than we can build them. 
Life is good all around.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


STAGE 1:  Newly seeded cell packs on germination pad
(think heating pad)

STAGE 2:  Fully germinated cells

STAGE 3:  Farmers separating individual seedlings, 
transplanting into smaller cells

STAGE 4:  Seedlings returned to grow chambers to harden
in a controlled environment

STAGE 5:  Seedlings relocated to open tables to further harden. 
Tables are coverd with plastic at night with automated heaters/fans 
Well, all grow chambers and tables are now fully occupied with approximately 16,000 seedlings in their final stages of development.  HINT:  There are more stages to come, we're just not there yet.