Last night we had the first frost of the year. It wasn't a hard frost: our remaining outdoor crops were protected by row cover, and all in all it was relatively uneventful. It did however provide a kind of punctuation mark for this season. At this point, nothing more will be planted, we won't see too much more growth. Essentially, what we have is what we will have for the remaining weeks of harvest. So, what's next?
This week's blog is an initial catalog of some upcoming projects and a loose schedule of things I'm hoping to get done between now and the end of the year.
First and foremost.. finish strong! We've had such a great first year at all of our markets and with all of our farm share members, I really want to make sure everyone ends the year on a high note. The last few weeks have been a little light on produce—some of our plantings were hit pretty hard by the flood. That two week period of rain also really brought a transition in the amount of light plants are getting and therefore the speed of growth I've been seeing in the successions. BUT the good news is, we have several new beds of greens that will be ready and beautiful for the last 5 weeks of harvest. We will also have my two fall favorites in abundance—broccoli and spinach!
Clean up, clean up, everybody clean up! The frost put the nail in the coffin of the outside tomato beds, so we have a few hundred plants to pull, stakes to remove, and plastic mulch to take out of the field. We also have a number of old salad beds etc that have been left to the weeds (which the frost killed too!). These beds all need to be cleared and reworked in preparation for winter.
Building projects galore. Guess what? It's finally time to finish putting the roof on the cooler :) We weren't able to finish that project last spring and the tar roofing has held up very well, but it's time to put on the finishing tin. It is also time to get a door put on that building. The open air entrance was convenient for summer, but now it's time to get the room insulated and protect the plumbing for winter freezes.
Hoop house construction and maintenance. It's time to purchase a new hoop house! This tomato house will be full of tomatoes, peppers, and basil all season :). But, it is also time to give a little "tlc" to our current hoop house and heated greenhouse. The plastic on the big hoop house needs to be tightened and one of the rollup sides has come unscrewed. The heated greenhouse needs to be re-insulated with dirt and gravel around the baseboards, and we need to dig out the "wiggle wire" to seal the walls and get ready for making heat!
Vacation. I need to go on vacation. I need to spend some major qt with my nieces in DC and I need to get out of my father's hair. I feel sure reading this project list will just make him groan, so perhaps the best christmas present I can give him (and me!) is to take the entire month of January off and get the heck out of here! Because guess what, the planting starts all over again come February :)