Tuesday, March 29, 2011


window open with the auto vent opener!
The greenhouse of Blue House Greenhouse Farm now has a vent!  This is very exciting news for the seedlings living in the greenhouse--with more air circulating through they will be less susceptible to molds and fungal problems.  As the sun peeks out once in a while the vent will also keep the greenhouse from becoming too warm.  There are many ways one can vent a greenhouse.  A hoop house like the one we have often has the sides of the plastic sheeting  roll up- rolling up the sides during the day and rolling them down at night. 

in the middle of the day...
 Because I don't go to the farm everyday, I wanted a way to vent when I wouldn't be around and a way to do it without electricity- which is something we don't have at the farm. Here's where the Univent Auto Vent Opener comes in, "the opener has a metal cylinder containing a mineral which expands when heated. This pushes a piston that opens the vent. As the temperature cools, the mineral shrinks and a spring closes the vent and resets the piston." Pretty neat, eh? I bought the vent opener, but had to figure out how to install it since I didn't have a window. 

...in the evening!
Again, I found myself lucky to be so close to the ReBuilding Center and was able to find a screen window for one dollar the approximate size of the existing frame on the south end of the greenhouse!  I took out the screen and replaced it with a sheet of plastic. Jasmine, a lovely volunteer who comes most every Tuesday, and I cut and attached wire lock to the frame and refit the plastic to make an opening for the window. The vent looks really great and serving its purpose.  Come by and check it out sometime!

In other news: The tomatoes have sprouted and are doing well under the lights. I've begun selling to another restaurant, DOC, in NE Portland which looks amazing. And this past Sunday we broke a weather record.  This is the longest we've gone in a year without a 60 degree day. sigh. But I think it's supposed to change on Thursday... I'll keep you posted!

Monday, March 21, 2011

first day of spring. yes!

It's seven o'clock on a Monday night and this (photo on the right) is what it looks like outside!  I am really excited about spring at the farm: peas are just coming up, the greenhouse is full of little seedlings, it hails and the sun shines within ten minutes, and I can work later into the afternoon!

 There is a lot of anticipation in spring- little beginnings happening everywhere.

I am also looking forward to Portland drying out a little in the next few days. 30% percent chance of rain means 70% chance of no rain! It's been a wet month. It's already the wettest March in 8 years so says the weather blog Jeff reads. Yikes!

We're staying busy.  We've started more seeds in the greenhouse- rocky top lettuce, peas, asian greens and mustards.  I also set up this fancy indoor system (it was given to me by a friend last season, so I am trying it out) for our nightshades- a variety of peppers and tomatoes. I leave the lights on during the day and turn them off at night.  I've been watering them every two days. So far so good- nothing has happened but it's only been a few days.  I'll keep you all posted on how this system works.

Monday, March 14, 2011

business is growing!

Today I filled my first restaurant order for Ned Ludd, a restaurant a few blocks away from the farm!  It was a small order but a good one.  Although I haven't eaten there, the restaurant and menu look amazing.  Check them out! Soon I will be selling to other local restaurants as well- stay tuned!

Monday, March 7, 2011


That's right! The sun was out today. It was magnificent. I actually think I may have gotten a little sunburned.  I know that my pictures don't really convey the sunniness, but it was- most of the day!  

We actually got to prepare another bed.  It has been pretty dry the past couple days, but the soil was still a bit wet.   I did some reading on working in moist soils and trusty Steve Soloman, in Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades gave some words of wisdom on the subject as he does on many things.  We pulled out the "cover crop" which was supposed to have been fava beans but has ended up being mostly grass and lightly raked in soils amendments leaving all but the top inch of soil undisturbed.  As I've learned, digging in wet soils can really damage the structure of the soil.

What else is happening? The plant starts are making their way from our home to the greenhouse and now there are places to put them with these lovely tables that Jeff and his sister, Cara, built!  

A variety of brassicas (broccoli pictured on left) and onions are off to a good start!