Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Friday, February 5, 2010


February 5, 2010

So we've made our decisions on what the details of our 2010 season will look like. 19 weeks, mostly full shares with a few half-shares available to test out that potential. Veggie varieties are chosen and ordered, and most of the seeds have already arrived. Fliers are posted in town, emails are going out, and the Flagpole magazine has been given a listing. Now we wait in faith while moving into action. Trust that the CSA will fill. Build our hoop houses and plant our seeds.

Hoop houses. We started construction on Wednesday. Each house is 28' wide and 120' long and has 18 hoops. Each hoop is made of 6 pieces. Each piece gets a self-tapping screw. The steel these hoops are made of is thicker than any I've used before, and the effort to drill through them is not insubstantial. I was using a system of kneeling on the hoop with one knee while holding the drill in both hands and bracing my right arm against my right thigh for extra leverage. Who knew using a power tool could still be so exhausting? Powerful pecs, here I come! And the drilling part is just one of the puzzles we've had to solve. The other is that these hoops really should be built on a flat surface to keep them all straight, which is important for structural integrity. Being that they're made of 6 pieces, the potential for lopsided wiggle is very real. Unfortunately, the availability of flat space on the farm is pretty slim. The garage, the road in front of our drive, and the top of our flatbed trailer are about it. So far, we've been using the top of the flatbed trailer, plus extra props, and a level. Is it working? I guess we'll find out.

As far as plants to plant, we've put in an order for broccoli and cabbage starts from a greenhouse grower in North GA and next week we'll begin our own first flats of seedlings. Kale and chard, here we come. This is a big step. The beginning of maintaining the greenhouse again. Once we start, the wheel is in motion and we don't stop it until June. That's 4 months of daily, and I do mean daily, attention. At least now we've got an automated thermostat to control the fan coming on so the plants don't roast. But we still do all our watering by hand, at least once a day. A new routine is about to begin. Am I ready? Guess I'll have to be.

But that's next week. Today is about deciding crop rotation, ordering compost, taking inventory of our irrigation supplies and ordering new ones, and beginning the process of uploading my backstock of recipes onto our website. That's the ambitious list. I'll most likely only get one of the four accomplished, maybe two. So it goes. One step at a time. I'm grateful that it's rainy out so I can work on some of these more office-oriented tasks without feeling guilty about neglecting an outdoor job to be done. Like screwing together 6 pieces of steel, and 6 pieces of steel, and 6 pieces of steel . . .

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