We haven’t updated our blog with photos in awhile so we took a few to show what’s going on in the greenhouse in December. Lots of greens!We have 2 polyculture beds going this winter. One outside and one in the hoophouse. These beds have over 15 varieties of cool weather crops growing in them simultaneously. The seeds of the respective veggies were hand broadcast all together and covered lightly with soil on the same day. Soon there was a thick carpet of germinating greens and root vegetables covering the soil. This living mulch quickly outcompetes weeds and helps keep moisture in the soil, so it’s a very low-labor-intensive style of farming. It looks beautiful too!
A few weeks after sowing the seeds, we can begin harvesting the baby greens for delectable salads. By thinning the greens in this way, it makes space for select plants to grow bigger and reach full maturity. We are regularly thinning the polycultures so there is a constant supply of food, but we are careful to make sure that the soil is always covered by the lush vegetables.
Another advantage of polycultures is that they confuse the pests because the varieties are all mixed in with each other. A bug might find one plant he likes to munch on, but the plant next door is probably something totally different, so he’ll have a hard time finding all of the plants of that variety that he craves.
Spring and fall are the best times to start a polyculture, so now is a good time to start planning a spring polyculture in your garden. It doesn’t take much space to grow great polyculture!
Climatically speaking it’s been a roller coaster week. Most days were extremely hot with intermittent periods of breezy, cool cloud cover and the occasional raging downpour. The one thing that has remained constant is dripping humidity.
Peppers are changing color overnight, the okra are thriving, rice is in full bloom and beans and cowpeas are weaving their way over the last spots of barren soil on their beds.
Summer is a time of abundance. Our job according to Michael Pollan is one who captures essence of the sun. Sometimes I really feel that way as I package and see a whole array of colors in your CSA boxes. Most of these will keep coming for another 2 months so take advantage of the abundance and preserve the goodness of summer so you can have a burst of sun in the dead of winter. Preserve! Preserve! Preserve!
Winter has melted into spring here at Edible Earthscapes. Haruka and I have been neck deep in our preparations for the upcoming season over the past 2 months and figured it was about time to step back, take a deep breath and let y’all know how things are looking over here these days.
We’ve got 4 varieties of garlic that overwintered very well and are starting into their big growth spurt before the May/June harvest.
We planted many perrennials that have both culinary and medicinal properties. You can always find bees buzzing about or butterflies fluttering about…Not only is this section of our farm pretty, this area creates a safe haven for the beneficial insects to ‘hang out’ and rest before they go out into the fields for the hunt.
We enjoyed a vegetarian Christmas dinner with some of our vegan friends. At the heart of that supper was this harvest of daikon, watermelon radishes, purple and yellow carrots, red and golden beets, mizuna, arugula and dill. Delicious!!!