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Winter Projects Part II: The Germination Chamber

Monday, March 12th, 2012


We are now accepting registration for the summer CSA share!  Whether you are new to the farm or a long time member, now is the time to secure your share of this year’s harvest.  You can print the brochure here.  If you know someone else who you think would enjoy sharing the bounty, please pass this invitation along!

and now onto another introduction…

Tayne is our propagation proprietess, the plant mama, the germination sensation.  When she’s not ushering forth and nurturing along our beloved young plants, she can be found picking the banjo, knee deep in sauerkraut, or breaking the sound barrier on her bicycle, though rarely all at the same time.  Now this may sound like a tall tale, and I’ve told a few in my day, but this one is not.  Tayne is certifiably related to Johnny Appleseed, or John Chapman as the records would indicate.  Go figure…

Tayne, layin' down that seed

Tayne is very intuitive and organized and will be directing traffic in and out of the greenhouse in the year to come.  This is a huge job as the greenhouse is one of our most important resources and in the early season it is usually packed to the gills with plants.  It is also the place where the food we grow is most fragile and needy as seeds emerge and grow until they are strong enough to make a go of it out in the fields where all sorts of other adversity awaits.

The greenhouse highway ...and now we cross our fingers

Tayne has quietly gone about re-vamping our whole greenhouse area and making some great improvements for the year to come.  She has increased our space within the structure and re-organized for a more efficient flow of the activities we carry out.  The biggest new feature of our greenhouse this year is a “germination chamber” that Tayne designed and built on site.  She brought this idea from her experience working in greenhouses in Colorado.  Behold…

In all it's glory

The “germ chamber” is essentially a micro-climate that achieves conditions that are most ideal for seeds to germinate.  This primarily means high humidity, and warm consistent temperatures.  It is a simple design, using industrial shelving wrapped in greenhouse plastic.  A bucket heater sits in the bottom and heats water to maintain temperature and humidity.  A thermostat allows us to control the temperature depending on what the seeds want. It can fit 60 trays which also increases our greenhouse space substantially!

The greenhouse is filling up fast with all the promises of the season to come.  We have already had several successful trials that show the germ chamber is doing its job!  We will keep you updated on how things progress in there.  I hope everyone enjoyed that incredible weather last week.  We will see you next week for another share!  and stay tuned for part III of Winter Projects…

– Ian

Winter Projects Part I: New Wash Station!

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Hello friends of the farm,

Even though we are full time winter farmers here at 47th Ave, the winter months still offer something in the way of a time to reflect on the season behind us and the season ahead and to attend to all of those things that keep getting pushed to the back of our endless summer to-do lists.  It is also a time to think critically about our systems and to imagine ways to make our farm better!  Our crew this year is pretty amazing, Im not gonna lie, and the innovations and ideas that have come forward have been very exciting.  We have taken on some serious infrastructural improvements over the last couple months and we wanted to let everyone in on what we have been up to.  Keep checking the website for more installments of our winter project series…

Steve models his handy dandy skills with a nail gun at 47th Avenue Farm

Steve models his handy dandy skills with a nail gun

Steve is our wash station Guru, master of the spigot, the hydro captain, “flow-jo” as we call him, and is our head quality control as our veggies move from our field to your tables.  He has been pushing for some wash station innovation for some time and we put our heads together and totally revamped the wash station area.  We had some old cast iron bathtubs collecting dust in the barn and Steve and Brice put together plans to give them new life.

Steve builds the frame over the inverted tub at 47th Avenue Farm

Steve builds the frame over the inverted tub

They built some very sturdy frames that would fit the tubs perfectly and then we hauled the beasts on out to the wash station and nestled them down into their new homes.  The first one was a huge success so we built two more!

A completed tub station

The result is a very elegant (i think) and functional new system with much increased washing area, and easy cleanability.  The tubs can work as dunking stations for more delicate things like lettuce and arugula.  Throw our homemade lightweight screens on top and you have a great root washing setup!

Tub with removeable washing screen


The whole fleet!

Future innovations may include hose fixtures for hands free washing and robots to wash vegetables for us!  Just kidding about the robots.  Hope everyone has enjoyed last week’s share.  Those Yellowfinn potatoes are the best of the best!!  See you all next week for more of the winter bounty.

–  Ian