Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Month of February 2011 : GO!

(Here is a photo of our cover crops and soil thermometers. The winter rye / hairy vetch mix looks good. The thermometers dont look so good; the glare obscures the 30*F temperature. So this season is a "go!" but it is not a "go now!")

Last season never really ended and the new season is already starting. The fall field cleanup chores then the winter planning now the spring work ... farming is a year round effort.

We accomplished many things during the winter. We read each and every page in the seed catalogs, we did the usual business planning and goal setting and we gave the seed starting room a tuneup.

First, we made grow benches. Using a laser-guided miter saw and a drill press, I transformed 1" x 4" and 1" x 6" lumber and carriage bolts into (over engineered) bench frames.

I wanted the classic expanded metal bench tops however availability and cost changed my mind. My alternate choice was Ultra Bench Dura Bench tops.

We built one indoor version and one outdoor version. The outdoor version is covered with electrical conduit and polyfilm; it is a green house on wheels.

We also bought Agritape heaters. These are seed starting heat mats with a variable thermostat. The mats are particularly useful for fickle seedlings like watermelons.

Because I love laser-guided miter saws, I also built an energy efficient(ish) germination box. This is a 2' x 4' wood frame with a foil coated, foam board insulation floor. The heat mats are placed on top of the insulation then covered with sand.

The insulation minimizes heat loss and the sand improves mat-to-seedling heat transfer.

We are ready for a good start.

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