Greenhouse projects firing up!

Hi folks,

I promised my next update would be about the farming, not just the jamming…so here’s a glimpse at our latest greenhouse project:

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We have adapted some of our greenhouse benches (tables) to be heated by radiant hot water. They are enclosed in a little “greenhouse within a greenhouse.” What you see on the left in Nick laying out the tubing on the benchtop. All the way on the right is me plugging in the tubing to the hot water distribution system. And in the middle you’ve got Kate rolling down the greenhouse plastic over the hoops. Tonight is the first night that we will have some trays hanging in there. We’ll monitor how they do and tune up the system as we go. The goal is to have it really dialed in for tomato seedlings in a few weeks, so we can keep them warm and happy in there, while maintaining low greenhouse air temperatures, and saving energy!

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With the longer days, the spinach growth has taken off and we’re finally able to harvest enough of this sweet stuff to please most of our weekend shoppers (Midcoast Winter Farmers Market every Friday 11-4, Brunswick Winter Market every Saturday 9-12:30). And the ladybugs were loving it in this shot from Valentine’s Day. We release them somewhat regularly to eat aphids, but this year we’re starting another strategy called aphid “banker planting.” Right now we are actually raising aphids in the house on some barley plants inside a “Bug Dorm” (net tent). The species we are raising only feed on grasses and grains, but having them will allow us to also grow a population of parasitic wasps called Aphidius colemani, and they eat the green peach aphids that are a pest on our greens! Next time hopefully we’ll have some action to show you from those banker plantings.

Until then!

Ben