Since it's been awhile since I've posted about the development of the farm infrastructure, I'm thinking that some of you might be curious about what we've been working on.
We have a high tunnel up and operational. This fall, we'll plant it up with cold-tolerant vegetables in an attempt to provide the staff with cooking and salad greens all winter long.
We are in the midst of constructing an overflow hoop house for spring overflow. In 2010, we simply ran out of space between February and April, causing crop timing problems that we are still dealing with. Rather than expanding the entire facility for just a few months of space crunch, we are putting up an overflow house --- simple yet heated --- for that short window of overflow need. We'll move the cold-hardiest of the spring seedlings out there when space gets tight in the spring, and simply maintain the temperature within above 45 F.
To the right of the hoop house, you can see that we put up an overwintering cold frame in the fall of 2009 in order to overwinter our herbaceous and woody perennial projects. Most of these overwinter in the ground --- a much more realistic evaluation of long-term hardiness here in our 6A location --- but we've had issues with overwintering in containers in the open, so ... a cold frame it is. It's still not perfect, but it does simulate an herbaceous production environment reasonably well. Keeping some of our breeding stock in containers allows us to work with them in late winter by forcing them into bloom in the greenhouse.
The pond is doing well. We've got cattails and sedges that just appeared on the pond edges. Goldfish, bluegills and gambusia all overwintered in the pond, despite the fact that the pond was ice-covered for weeks. There were thousands of frogs and toads last year, but almost none this year. We're thinking (hoping, actually) that the fish became large enough to keep the amphibian population quite low. That means that it's time to add some larger fish (largemouth bass) into the mix to prey on the smaller species, and begin to balance things out. We're had plenty of visits from mallards and Canada geese. A pair of geese appeared to be visiting daily and becoming territorial, but no nesting followed, and we only see them erratically now.
We also put up some livestock housing on the farm so we can produce our own ham and eggs.
More on the animals in the next post.