Here’s a video I made last summer to explain how our greenhouse tray systems work. Enjoy!!!
Someone asked me the other day how we germinate seeds here at Kilpatrick Family Farm. I figured a quick blog post would be in order to show our cheap, and easy method.
We have heated benches in our smaller transplant house. I’ll do another Post on these latter, but the short version is that a 30 K BTU standard water heater is used to heat water which is pumped through small tubes on our benches. This system keeps the root zone warm, which is the most important part for strong growth.
Seeds need 3 things to germinate. Moisture, Heat, and in some cases light. We wet the trays before they go into the germination chamber. While in there, we either cover them with rowcover or germination domes to keep the moist. Heat is supplied by the heat tubes running underneath. The probe that powers the heat system is sunk in a small pot in the germ chamber. For those crops that need light, we’ll either place them on the top in the chamber or bring them out after a couple days. That is enough time to give them a jumpstart.
Here is a closeup of the tubing running under the bench and germ chamber.
What our cheap germ chamber does is concentrate that heat to a temperature which most seeds germ quickly at (80F). This is done through a few sheets of 1″ and 2″ foam board held together with great stuff and a few long roofing nails.
Here’s a shot of seedings just coming out of the germ chamber. We’ll stack trays several high in there for a capacity of over 100 trays.
right now the chamber is chock full of ginger germinating!
During the summer, when it is too hot, we germ in the cooler or a cool basement room.
I was privileged to be asked to speak at the 2014 CSA Expert Exchange. I talked about Customizable Share options for members. Unfortunately, the talk I used had a few slides that didn’t work so here’s the full Slide deck. It was a lot of fun- there are lots of different systems that farmers are using to get vegetables into the bellies of eaters and I was excited to be able to talk about a few of them.
You can also see the video of the harvester that we use for carrots and beets here.
This week I spent mostly at the New England Vegetable and Fruit conference in Manchester. Its always a good couple of days of sessions and farmer-to farmer talks. The conference is held on a bi-annual basis and this is the 4th one i have attended. There was several exciting takeaways for me.
Organic farming is growing. Compared to when i first started, there were twice as many organic sessions this time, as well as the organic sessions being completely full compared to the conventional sessions being sparse. It was really telling in the Strawberry session. For 3/4ths of the session there was barely 50 people in the room during the industry talk of chemicals, fungicides, and matted row systems. At 11:30 when I was scheduled to talk about organic annual bed system the door opened and barely closed for the next 15 minutes as the room filled up with growers interested in a safer, more profitable way of farming.
The Organic movement is maturing. When i first started attending this conference there was very few young people. The next one had a lot more, and the next was flooded with young people. This time there was a new sound in the sessions, babies crying. All of us young, hippy farmers are growing up, getting married and having kids. It was exciting to see friend and newcomers alike with the next generation of farmers in slings and carseats.
It was an honor to be able to present 3 talks and accompanying papers at the conference. I presented on:
And To all of you, a very Merry Christmas to you! We appreciate your support through the year and feel honored to serve you.
I was privileged to be selected to give a webinar for the NRCS last week about high tunnel production. Webinars are hard to give, as you can’t see your audience or hear yourself, so feedback and feeling that you are connecting with your audience is tough.
We briefly covered high tunnel placement and construction, crop planning, and different crop production.
NRCS recorded the webinar. You can access that HERE.
Overall, it was a fun experience.
Ben from NOFA_MASS recorded the sessions-
Session 1 – Farm overview, soil, fertility, disease, economics
Introduction: Soils, markets and finances at Kilpatrick Family Fam
Goals and Purpose of Year-Round Farming
- The Green Spot Ltd
- Gardens Alive
Economics of High Tunnel Production
- Material of portion of seminar borrowed with permission from Adam Montri, Hoophouse Outreach Specialist at Michigan State University Department of Horticulture
Economics of Winter Growing: budgets, depreciation and labor costs
SLIDES FROM SESSION 1
Session 2 – Farm Systems for Field Production, Tunnel Structure IntroWashing and Packing Resources
- Vegetable Growers Supply
- Hudson Valves (find on amazon)
- Utility scale: http://www.uline.com/BL_2209/Utility-Scales
- Price computing scales: http://www.uline.com/BL_2223/Ohaus-Price-Computing-Scales?keywords=ohaus
- Bins: Buckhorn
- Bins and pallets: Orbis
- Also find plastic bins at (Lowes or Home Depot)
- Gloves: Vegetable Growers Supply
- Root Digger: http://www.roetersfarmequipment.com/
- Root Bags: Uline product S-16504
- Barrel washer: Grindstone FarmStorage Facilities
Tunnel overviewTransplant/propagation housesSoilGreenhouses ManufacturersVenting options
SLIDES FROM SESSION 2Session 3 – Greens for tunnels and season extensionIrrigation, row cover and other tools of the trade
- Johnny’s Selected Seeds
- High Mowing Seeds
- Wild Garden Seeds
- Osborne Seeds
- Territorial Seeds
- Fedco Seeds
SLIDES FROM SESSION 3Session 4 Marketing the FarmThe Why of Marketing
- Simon Sinek
- Other books
- Guy Kawasaki – Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Action
- Seth Godin – All his books are greatEducate the consumer