Frith Farm

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Aya Alliums!

The other day marked the beginning of the season with planting of our first seeds in the greenhouse. We use soil blocks - compressed cubes of soil that allow for transplanting with little to no jostling of seedling's roots. This year I decided to make our own soil mix from compost, peat, vermiculite, and a potpourri of rock powders. As the chickens watched from their half of the greenhouse (separated by bird netting), we worked most of the day and mixed, formed, and planted 1800 blocks, which - if all grows well - will produce over 5000 onions by fall.

 We use a technique made popular by Eliot Coleman which consists of planting 3-4 seeds in each block. Rather than transplanting individual seedlings stripped from their soil, we transplant a third as many blocks without disturbing the roots. As the onions sharing a block grow, they simply push each other apart and show little difference in final size when compared to uniformly spaced single transplants. These pictures of last year's onions show the process.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Chicken Salad

As we transitioned the greenhouse from winter greens to spring seedlings, we let our chickens help by cleaning off the mustards, lettuces, and spinach before we spread the ground cover in preparation for seed starting. It was a satisfying sight to see: ecstatic layers-to-be feasting on the fresh mesclun greens in a time of year when green is not a common color.