We’ve had a couple of very nice days this week, so we’ve taken advantage of the nice weather to get some big projects completed. We recently made the decision to install a heater in our last unheated coldframe greenhouse so that we can more easily put tender and annual baby plants in there to root without worrying that it might get too cold for them. This meant that we had to not only get the heater installed (a work still in progress), but we needed to be able to put a double layer of plastic on that house and inflate it with a small fan. Double layer plastic that’s inflated is much better insulated than single layer plastic. Yesterday, Chris, Doug and I covered that greenhouse with the new plastic, and installed the inflation fan. This is a task you can only really do well on an absolutely calm day when there is not even the slightest breeze. The plastic was 24 feet wide by 150 feet long, so you can imagine what would happen if three people attempted to cover the greenhouse with any wind at all. It would be like a big kite and we would have been blown to Kansas by now. We also gravelled the floor and covered it with weed barrier cloth. That gravel will make a world of difference too because the floor will drain much better now when we are watering and the gravel combined with the black weed barrier cloth will help hold more heat in the house, which makes a difference in our heating bill. Today, I finished putting down the weed barrier cloth and installing shade cloth along the south inside wall because the sun intensity can be too harsh full strength for the plants. Hopefully, tomorrow the heater will be finished and if the weather is nice enough on Tuesday morning, we will begin to move plants into that house. We definitely need to get plants into this house, as nearly all our other heated space is full now.
As I mentioned last weekend, I have been working on the final edits on my book manuscript. I’m down to the home stretch now, but I still have a fair bit to get done before the end of this week when I have to get everything turned back into my editor at Storey Books. It’s meant a lot of evening work this past week, as the days are filled now with greenhouse work. I think it’s turning out pretty good, but I’m starting to wear out and will be glad when I’m finished.
This past week we also hosted two classes of 5th graders from Harrison School here in Canon City. The kids come every year to learn hands-on about passive and active solar energy, as well as to study the relationship between pest insects (like aphids) and predator insects (like lacewings). The kids learn how we use passive solar energy to heat the greenhouses during the day, and they see how the solar panels on our house rooftop produces electricity to run everything on the farm and in our home. Chris and I really have fun working with these kids and their teachers, and no matter what the age group or what they are studying in their science classes about the nature world, we usually can find something good to teach them here. In fall we had 2nd graders visit to learn about seeds and to do a planting project. Everyone goes home with plants to grow and it is great fun for all of us. Later this week we will host the final class of the Harrison 5th grade.
Tomorrow we will be getting our second semi-truck load of soil medium delivered (8 pallets of 52 huge bags each). This is a very big task, and it will be all hands on deck, as we get the soil unloaded from the truck into the driveway and then re-stacked by hand back by the greenhouses and tarped to protect it from getting wet until we need it. Needless to say, we will all sleep well tomorrow night!