Groundhog Day

Seeds have been ordered and started.  The planting plan is done.  The new high tunnel pieces arrived last week.  We still have a few weeks left to get a handle on all the outside projects before spring planting time.  Not sure how long it will take to get the new tunnel up…

high tunnel metal

This is just part of the metal we unloaded from the freight truck.

the mighty augur

For the construction of the other two high tunnels Gavin and my Dad pounded the posts into the ground with a sledgehammer.  This is back-breaking work that’s at an awkward level and hard on the wrists.  Trying to make things a little easier this time by using an auger to drill the holes.  We are setting most of the posts in concrete for this structure, even though it will take more time.

holes for posts

The subsoil under this part of the farm is bright orange clay.

clay subsoil

With all the crazy wind we’ve had lately it makes sense to put every effort into building a secure foundation.

checking for level

The construction manual for the greenhouse actually calls for putting every single post in concrete.  That would take a couple of pallets of concrete, so we’re just going to use concrete for every other post.


Seven posts in so far…

southeast corner post

Gavin’s almost finished the framing work on the shed additions.  Now just waiting for the weather to warm up to do the metal roofing and walls.

shed addition

All the seedlings I started in January are ready for potting up.  Time for them to move out of the yurt and into the greenhouse, to make room for another round of seeds.  Still no heat in the greenhouse… yet another future construction project, to set up the wood stove.  This greenhouse is huge for a potting house at 1200 sq ft, at least at our small scale, but with the benches that came with the structure it would be silly not to use it for this purpose.  Who knows, maybe someday we’ll need this much transplant space.  We already have the wood stove for heat, we just need to buy the stovepipe and detail a way for the pipe to go through the plastic end wall.  In the meantime, we rigged up a little heat chamber out of scaffolding, boards, and heat mats.  It’s a step up from last year’s design.

heated chamber

At night I drape row-cover over the scaffolding to keep the heat in.

setting up the chamber

This should work okay for now.

keeping the heat in

Our next winter market date is February 9th.  We are getting ready to harvest everything remaining in the high tunnel so we can start new spring crops.  This kohlrabi has been growing slowly all winter in the tunnel.  I’m looking forward to a fresh slate!


Winter sky over the farm.

January sky

And you thought we were just resting with all our down time, right?

8 thoughts on “Groundhog Day

  1. Mary Atthowe says:

    Rest is not in your vocabulary! What a lot of work for this time of year! We see lots of progress however. I look forward to seeing the changes.

  2. Kevin Watkins says:

    As always, thanks for the update and the great pics. The mild winter has been a great opportunity for moving forward with projects and it looks like y’all have been taking good advantage. I laughed at the part about using the auger rather than driving posts by hand with a sledge. I’ve driven many posts with a sledge. I discovered the auger attachment for my tractor some years back and have used it ever since. Keep up the great work and pray that spring comes early with just the right amount of rain at the right times.

  3. DM says:

    Just read your “about” page and see you guys are passionate about lots of things I am passionate about (plus you are light years ahead of me in knowing how to pull some of this stuff off. Also just subscribed to your blog. I’ll be back 😉 DM

    • Meredith says:

      Thanks for following! I enjoy your blog as well, which I found through domesteading. Looks like you had a great trip, I can’t wait to see more of your journey. Traveling by train is so fun! I don’t know about light years ahead with what we are doing, it is such a learning process! Some experiments are more successful than others, but there is always something to keep me fascinated with this farming life.

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