The Weekly #96

by Becky

One of the highlights of this week was visiting a local no-till farm. I have never visited another farm of someone who gardens with a similar methodology. It was so inspiring! Perfect looking vegetables with hardly a weed in sight. I wish I had taken more pictures but during winter most of the production is under low tunnels. I was also so awestruck I didn’t even think about it.

My friend Jeremy who runs the farm offered to let us come and check out some of the caterpillar tunnels he has up because we are going to buy one this year from Farmer’s Friend. I wasn’t sure which type to get but after visiting, now I feel confident the classic type will be best. 

Not my farm- I wish!

We are going to be using the caterpillar tunnel for tomatoes this year since disease spread by rain is such a problem. I’m really excited about it!

I think we will make it a point to visit more farms in the future, I learned so much just from a few hours.

In the garden:

The 2021 garden has started with sowing indoor seeds. I planted kale, onions, celery, and spinach so far. I have a LOT more to plant for this week.  

I have started seeds indoors for many years and really considered upgrading my fluorescent lights this year to LED’s. In the end I decided against it. From what I’ve read they work great but the negative for me is that you need to place them a little higher and farther away from your seedlings so the light doesn’t burn them.

If the lighting is higher, that would require more space between shelves and more space in general. I don’t have the luxury of a lot of space this year so I’m sticking with the fluorescent shop lights.

Seed starting. The upper row (in the dark) is kale. I’ve been taking that one outside to sit in the sun everyday so it doesn’t have lights on it. Lower trays under lights are onions on the left and spinach on the right.

I hope that next year maybe we will be able to set up another caterpillar tunnel or convert our portable carport into a makeshift greenhouse that we can do seed starting in. Then I won’t need lights or electricity at all! I may perhaps need a heater if I move seed starting outside though. 

House Progress:

I am so happy to be saying there is progress this week! Last week you may remember they finished the roof. This week we went through three rounds of house inspections because they all failed. The inspector came on Thursday and met with our builder to go through the list. 

This inspection had to pass before they could put up any insulation or sheetrock. Luckily the inspector ok’d putting up insulation for now because all the remaining checklist items for passing the inspection were not in the walls. So we could make some progress there and the insulation went in yesterday.

The inspector will come again on Monday to make sure everything else is finished.

Speaking of insulation, we originally planned to put insulation all around one of our pantry rooms in the house so we could mimic a root cellar in there. We also plan on adding a Coolbot to keep the temperature low year round. 

Through our research we discovered that using fiberglass batting insulation in that room would not be a good idea because the temperature may get low enough that it would cause condensation between the walls. Condensation inside the fiberglass batting is a recipe for mold. 

Instead, we are going to do a vapor barrier and rigid foam insulation.

Sunset in my garden this week

We had spoken to our builder about leaving off the fiber batting insulation in the pantry but only briefly and we were not clear enough. Cameron went up to the house yesterday and there was the fiberglass insulation all around the pantry. 

 I was sort of freaking out about it but Cameron (who is good at helping my anxious mind see reason) said that we could just take it out and use it somewhere else in the house or we could even save it for when we put up a shop. He doesn’t think it will take too long to take off and move. The plan was always to install the rigid foam ourselves. 

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Kathryn Jowitt January 27, 2021 - 12:37 pm

I have enjoyed your youtube videos so much. I have a small backyard in Melbourne, Australia. It is mid summer here, so I am just starting to get fruit on my tomatoes and the beginnings of cucumbers. My carrots are strange as I should have separated the seedling more and incorporated some sand into the soil. That will be for next round of seedlings.. Good luck with your food farming, love watching you all. Keep safe and well in these difficult times. Thinking of you all from ‘down under’
Regards Kathy

theseasonalhomestead January 27, 2021 - 1:15 pm

Thanks Kathy!

Briana January 30, 2021 - 1:14 pm

Just found your YouTube channel recently and really enjoyed seeing what’ve accomplished. I like your shelving and shop lights. I think that’s our solution this year. Do you have any heat pads underneath for those seeds needing higher temps or are the shop lights enough in your experience? Thanks! Briana

theseasonalhomestead January 30, 2021 - 1:30 pm

I do use heat pads but only for the seeds that require really warm soil like peppers and tomatoes. Cooler season crops like the onions, kale, and spinach don’t mind germinating in cool soil. But for the peppers and tomatoes the heat pad makes a huge difference!


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