Extending the Season with Greenhouses

The first week of December is at a close and nighttime lows are approaching freezing temperatures. We’ve spent the last week installing Greenhouses, known as Caterpillar Tunnels or Low Tunnels, and our plants will now enjoy a boost of warmth from the added heat units and those little leaves will begin to grow faster than they would in natural winter temperatures. For example, today was a 60°F, but inside the Greenhouse it reached 90°F before the vents were open at noon.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0001.How’d we do that?

We started with the skeleton of the greenhouse. We pounded 2ft long rebar, with 1ft into the ground, and spaced them every six feet. Next, PVC pipe arches were placed over the rebar and secured to the bed with U shaped brackets. To calculate how log the arches of PVC needed to be, we used the equation d(3.14)/2. The “d” stands for diameter, for which we measured the width of the garden bed (the bed pictured above is thirteen feet wide and we treated that width like the diameter of a circle). Then, we found the Circumference of a circle (d(3.14)) with a diameter of 13ft which equals about 40ft. We divided 40 by 2 and got 20ft for the length needed for our half circle PVC arches. A ridge pole, or the spine of the greenhouse, was fashioned with furring strips on our larger greenhouse, we used rope for the ridge poles on our smaller low tunnels. Six millimeter thick greenhouse plastic was stretched over the hoops and attached to the garden bed with furring strips and screws. Clamps are used on the ends to secure the plastic and vent the greenhouses.




Fermentation Frau

IMG_0821Naturally, it is only a matter of time on a bountiful Farm-stead (Farm + Homestead), before the kitchen garden begins to produce a longevity enhancing, flavor transforming, snack that is incredibly valuable for good health.

Here at Farm Rancho Cordova, Alex has been having a ball researching and experimenting with fermenting just about everything! Through the magical science of fermentation, fresh Rancho Radishes are cultured for seven days to produce crunchy, flavorful, pickle-like, PROBIOTIC treats that will last as long as a year in the refrigerator.


Grow up

It gives us such great joy to accomplish so many of our goals with one project.IMG_8111

These vertical gardens are made from upcycled pallets that we gratefully received for FREE from Craigslist, hay, and landscape fabric. They grow food, utilize a small unused space of our farm, and we think they look stunning.


STEP 1: Staple landscape fabric to the inside of the pallet, leave an opening on the top.

STEP 2: Fill pallet cavities with hay or straw; pack tightly.

STEP 3: Cut into landscape fabric where you would like plant transplant to grow.

STEP 4: Mix organic compost with water until it can be rolled into a ball and keep its shape. Then, insert the balls of compost into the opening that you cut.

STEP 5: Gently arrange plants into their new home and cover with another ball of compost.

STEP 6: Water well, we all appreciate a nice drink!