Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Greenhouse Is Awakening!

Well, the greenhouse has been cleaned and is ready for planting! Betsy and her 2 young'uns helped Dan and I organize  the pots and flats and do a general clean-up on Saturday. Even the chickens got involved. The back door of the greenhouse was opened and they 'flocked' in to search out and destroy any weed or bug we unearthed. Cheyenne being the smallest, got elected to go under the benches to bring out the occasional pot found lurking there and to alert the chickens of another tasty morsel of spider or roly poly.
We stacked flats and got out the starter pots that we will fill with soil and seeds.Anything used last year was cleaned for the next usage. The benches were cleaned up both on top and underneath. The fluorescent light fixtures were hung back up and tested. Bins for my special soil mixes were brought out. Bales of soil, and amendments stand ready.

So bare now but see it in a month.

 The compost tea machine was filled up with water and  worm castings, special nutrients, and organic molasses and plugged in.  Please do research on the value of adding a compost tea to your plants and soil. It really does work. We use it both as a soil drench and foliar spray as soon as the seedlings appear to prevent "damping off" and as an inocculant to the soil to make it super healthy. We also use it during the growing season on the plants and also straight on the soil in early spring after the ground warms. People often make the mistake of just feeding the plant and not the soil. Then why are we even using soil? Make it strong and vibrant and in turn it will give you healthy and happy plants. And you will need less fertilizer and will have less problems with pests and disease.

And of course the oxygen in the compost tea.
Most beneficial organisms, which help plant-life grow and become resistant  to disease and stress are there because of the existence of oxygen. They cannot exist without it so  it is vital to the tea. I have used it for years and I wish I could sell it at Farmers market but because of the oxygen in it, it has a very short shelf life.
We also put out beneficial nematodes in the greenhouse. They are microscopic 'good' bugs that are added to water in a sprayer and applied to plants and soil. They will help keep insect infestations under control naturally. Also a praying mantis cocoon was placed and the grand-kids are eagerly awaiting the hatching.

There are between 100 to 400 baby in this case. They are very tiny when they hatch and hard to see. We have them in a paper bag so we can watch them. They will take a couple of weeks to hatch and then will be released to go in search of food. I am told they can be quite docile and tame and may be hand-fed small bugs. They will not bite, supposedly, if you do not pick them up by their forelegs.

The mantis is able to turn its head to look over its shoulder.

On a more human note, I had my Market meeting Saturday morning. Dues were paid and committees were formed. We are adding several new ideas to this years market. For one, our hours have gone from 8am-1pm to 9am to 1:30 pm. Alot of vendors felt it was too cold and dark to set up at 7am.
We will also have activities for the children each week, plus more hands-on projects for the adults. and we will have a group credit card/debit machine. This will enable patrons to use plastic at all the booths.
If you haven't had the opportunity to visit, you should. It is in Couer d' Alene, Idaho on the corner of Highway 95 and Prairie Road. We open Mothers Day weekend and go thru October. We also have a one day sale in December at the fairgrounds.There is also a Wednesday market in downtown Couer d' Alene.
They are getting a new website at
Be sure to sign up for their newsletter to keep you up to date on all the events and foods available.
Hope to see you there. Here's to a great season! May it be a bountiful one so we may help those in need around us.

Speaking of that, what a dreadful time they are having in Japan. I can't even imagine surviving that devastation and then the aftermath of all their fields destroyed so they can't raise food to feed themselves. And how long before they can fish again? What are that many people to do? We must count our blessings that we have what we do.

The fields before, looking so fertile and green. And after, with all the debris and sludge left with nowhere to go.

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