Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Building the Greenhouse - COMPLETE!

YAY! The greenhouse is finally complete. It took us 6 weeks to build the structure, (mind you we had a myriad of other projects to work on during that time). It was recommended that it would require 3-5 people to build this structure. Pffft, all you need is two Gavigans :) We are overwhelmingly proud, and in awe of ourselves. And as a bonus, our marriage is still intact lol (all you couples out there who've worked on large projects together know what Im talking about! lol). This is by far, the biggest structure we've built to date. And we did a dam fine job :)

Now comes the finishing work. Installing our 60ft propagation table, leveling out the site around the structure, tilling & cover cropping the greenhouse beds for planting late summer, and moving in all our greenhouse supplies & equipment.

As well, our first transplants went out into the field this week. Leeks, Shallots, Onions, and Squashes. It was a pleasure working with the new silty, sandy, loamy soil. So light and fluffy. Such a contrast to the hard, clay majority soil we have been working with the last several years.

We're almost to the point where the farm infrastructure will be complete, the wash station and storage facilities will be built, and we can just focus on farming and preparing for markets this fall. We're really happy with how everything has been working out, the farm is really coming together nicely.

More updates to come so stay tuned :)

Trinity Valley Drilling installing our high tech pump in the farm well

Finishing off installing the end wall struts and foundation posts

Installing the end wall struts

Nev's happy to finally be putting up the fans. Yay!

Installing the last fan
Installing the plastic on the east end wall
Installing the plastic on the west end wall
It was quite a feat to install the main plastic sheet with only two people, but we did it!
Plastic and roll-up sides are on! Yay! The greenhouse structure is complete (finally!)

Planting potatoes (Red Chieftain and German Butter)

A panoramic of the fields (facing east)

We popped out to Yarrow Ecovillage last week for a visit and to pickup our cooler. Which made it safe and sound to our new farm in Lumby.

My mom and sis helped me layout and transplant all the winter squashes last week. Thanks gals!

Transplanting the winter squashes

Monday, 12 May 2014

A Connoisseur of Fine Manure

What do you call someone who considers themselves a connoisseur of fine manures? Someone who understands and appreciates the subtle complexities of a well aged pile of dung? Simply put, you call them a Farmer.

Last week the lovely German couple from up the road, operating the largest and most prestigious Show Jumping Stables in North America, called and offered us a few loads of their mountainous pile of horse manure. Yippeee! Only a farmer could get as excited as we were to receive such a gracious gift. And only a farmer could consider a big pile of horse poo a "gift". lol.

We jumped on it straight away, and within a couple of days we had ourselves a big steamy pile of beautiful overwintered horse manure. It had the perfect ratio of manure/bedding/straw. And, as it had sat all winter, it was already mostly composted. With only a slight hint of ammonia to its sweet earthiness. Horse dung is the Bordeaux of manures, as it contains the perfect ratio of carbon to nitrogen. Making it the favoured choice of vegetable farmers.

As we operate an organic farm, we hot compost all of our manures. Meaning we turn the pile (the act of transporting it and piling it is sufficient), and heat that pile to over 130 degrees Celcius for a minimum of at least 4 days. This process kills off any seeds or pathogens that might have been present in the pile, making it fit for use on our farm. Once the pile starts to cool down, meaning the thermophilic bacteria have done their work and start to die off, we cover the pile and let it age and cure for another few months.

Once our precious pile has cured, it will have the sweet, earthy, seductive smell of a well aged wine. Its texture will be light and fluffy, silky and soft. And it will add an array of nutrients, as well as organic matter, to our soil. We are so blessed to have this traditionally run horse stables just up the road from us. Thanks a HEAP Gerwig & Eleke Bahle!

First Day: Sunny and beautiful. A foal was born not 2 min before we got there that morning. Cute!

Second Day: Pouring Rain. We were still happy as pigs in... well you know! To be receiving this manure.

Nevin taking the piles temperature with our handy compost thermometer.

Mmmmm, smells almost done!