Kitchen Garden Writing

Back at the Greenhouse

Greenhouse at Sundog Farm April 12, 2020

I’m still soil blocking at the farm and took this photo to prove it.

The coronavirus pandemic is impacting the food system dramatically. I didn’t think we’d be in such a position yet there are legitimate concerns about running out of food while large dairies and vegetable and meat producers destroy excess perishables because so many U.S. restaurant dining rooms are closed. One would think the distribution challenges could be resolved, although they haven’t yet been.

Our household will make it through the food supply turbulence, and I’ll make sure our neighbors do as well. Barring unexpected issues it looks to be a great garden year.

The combination of using a large greenhouse and my portable one makes things possible that weren’t last year. I’m starting more seeds at home and soon will see the result. A larger number of seedlings are growing at home than I’ve had this early. Also no worries about vegetable predators.

There are responsibilities with having a home greenhouse. Mainly monitoring internal temperature and watching the weather for strong winds. Too hot or too cold and seedlings in which so much was invested could perish. A strong wind could blow the structure over despite 200 pounds of sand buckets weighing it down. I used the Weather Channel app on my phone before, yet find myself checking it more often with a home greenhouse. Last night the temperature dipped below freezing so I hooked up a space heater to protect the seedlings.

Yesterday I planted in trays at the farm:


Marketmore, Ferry-Morse, 68 days.
Tendergreen (Burpless), Ferry-Morse, 55 days.
Tasty Jade, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, 54 days
Little Leaf Pickling, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, 57 days.


Arugula, Ferry-Morse, 40 days.
Magenta, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, 48 days.
Buttercrunch, Ferry-Morse, 65-70 days.
Bibb, Ferry-Morse, 57 days
Parris Island Cos, Ferry-Morse, 68 days.

I also transplanted pepper starts from a channel tray to larger soil blocks.

Where I am deficient in technique, I’m learning needed skills at the farm. I’m re-engineering how I grow peppers as part of the barter arrangement with the farmer. I’m also learning how to produce a better crop of onions. As a result of this learning, I placed a heating pad and channel trays in the on-line shopping cart at the seed company. The seed company is not taking orders from home gardeners because of the pandemic. I won’t use them until next year in any case, so there is time. A bigger concern is whether they will ship my onion starts before planting time. Because of a need to keep their employees safe during the pandemic, their shipping process slowed down.

As usual I was tired after my shift at the farm.

I went home and took a shower, then it rained in the afternoon. Once the ground dries out, I’ll return to the garden. My hope is to harvest grass clippings for mulch before the lawn gets too tall. I don’t know about that if it keeps raining.