Greenhouse, Vegetables

Saving Spinach Seed

I am trying to save as many seeds this year as I can. I have saved spinach seeds, some seeds from mescluen mixes and I will save some leaf lettuce seeds too.

After drying…

To save the spinach seeds, I let them get a little dry in the garden, then hung them on the porch. When they were dry, I took all the seeds (they are the nodules on the stem) off over a pan. When I planted my garden this year I had two kinds of spinach and I didn’t plan to save seeds so my seeds are a mix of what worked in the garden this year.

Greenhouse, Recipes, Vegetables, What’s for Breakfast

Dinner Tonight Italian Sausage with Sweet Potatoes and Swiss Chard

Since we are out of all our root veggies except a few beets (not my favorite thing to prepare obviously, or they would be gone too) when we were at our local store Bath Natural Market this afternoon and they had a couple sweet potatoes on sale, I grabbed them.

Dinner became a stir fry with Firehouse Farm Italian Sausage, and from the greenhouse a leek, Swiss chard and fresh garlic ( Not even sure how this managed to get planted in the greenhouse, compost perhaps, would that even happen?)

Goodies from the greenhouse, I broke the leek pulling it up, when will I learn to just start with the shovel before it breaks?….

I began by sautéing the sausage, adding the chopped leek and sweet potato at the same time. While they cooked I added some hot pepper flakes (from last summers peppers) salt and pepper. I added the garlic and Swiss chard when everything was almost done, wilting the Swiss chard.

Swiss chard in the greenhouse, ready to be picked…

Serving this with rice tonight, hopefully the kids aren’t too disappointed when breakfast is basically the same thing substitute Italian Sausage for Breakfast Sausage and no rice. Wish me luck…



Farming, Greenhouse

Voles vs LA

I am at war with the voles that have been eating everything growing in our greenhouse.

I tried to deter them with castor oil pellets, a lot of them, to no avail. I finally (several months late) made some vole traps Elliot Coleman style. See this link for a photo of his traps.

After waiting a few months for River to make the traps, (not like he was busy making syrup or anything!) The little boys and I finally made 3 on Sunday using scrap wood. We had managed to dispose of a couple voles without traps (don’t ask, you don’t want to know what happened) we knew that they had been eating really well and were quite chubby, so I decided to get some rat traps similar to what Elliot uses. I also got two of the mouse traps he used on the off chance they would work.

I did not put bottoms on my traps, so I put them directly over some of the entrance holes in the greenhouse. I got two in the first 24 hours with no bait in the same rat trap, over what looked like a well used entrance.

The trap that had the mouse traps in it was missing a trap, completely gone. I looked around the greenhouse and did not find it anywhere. I had accidentally made the doors on this one a little larger then I meant to, so the vole must have pulled the trap out through the hole when it was stuck on its little foot or something and managed to get into a hole with it.


LA 2

Voles 1 (and all the greens and bean seeds in the greenhouse)

Yesterday I rearranged the traps and added some apple and orange bait to change it up a bit and success! One more Vole down!


LA 3

Voles 1 (and all the greens we should be eating right now except the kale, apparently they don’t like kale)

I have been reading This Organic Life Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader by Joan Dye Gussow, she brings up the point that even if we are vegetarian, it does not mean that no death is involved in growing the plants we eat. She talks about the true cost of the food we eat.

“Whatever you choose to eat, and wherever you get it, the true cost of your food will, almost inevitably, include death.”

This Organic Life Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader page 161 Joan Dye Gussow

I tried alternatives to no avail. Unfortunately in this situation, to successfully grow food to eat I have to get rid of these little creatures.

Farming, Greenhouse

The Greenhouse

20180202_124453I love our greenhouse! Our 1 acre is on a hill. Our house is up high and our growing space is down below where is has a tendency to get very wet in the spring or during a thaw. Because of this we had to raise our greenhouse up a couple feet to make sure it would not be full of water in the spring. This is not so good for insulation in the winter, but it does keep it from floating!

We were inspired by Eliot Coleman and his book Four Season Harvest to put in a greenhouse and two winters ago we had greens almost all winter except for the coldest couple of weeks. I have found that when I use the greenhouse for tomatoes I don’t get greens planted early enough for a winter harvest in here.

We use the double coverage method in the greenhouse to keep the soil warmer.


We used an old movable garage shed for the frame and bought greenhouse plastic to cover it for longevity.

The greenhouse is 12 x 20 with a vent on one end on top and a window and door that open on the other end. The vent and window have automatic openers for when it is hot. It is a very basic greenhouse because we did not put in a fan.

We have drip irrigation, although I would like to rework it to be more efficient. I have grown our tomatoes there for the last several years and this year I am going to give it a break and plant more greens in it as crop rotation is important.

I was able to can as much tomato sauce as we will need this year from those tomatoes as well as lots of salsa. We may fall short on salsa before tomatoes are ripe again this year and this is a year I need to make Ketchup so I will need a lot of tomatoes, I hope our garden is up for the challenge!

I also grew peppers here and was able to freeze several pints to be used in stirfrys etc.

Last year I wintered over leeks in here and they were delicious, we just don’t have storage for them so I would dig them out when it was warm enough and we needed them.

I had some leeks planted in here and some small onions, however some critter (a gopher I think) has been munching the tops. I have been researching ways to get rid of gophers. I haven’t found anything I love, but they have got to go!