• Sarah Elizabeth Smith

Sweet Soil Winter Share ~ 3rd Week

Updated: Dec 1, 2020

Happy 1st of December everyone. We hope you enjoy the vegetables in your Winter CSA share this week:

Spinach or Napa Cabbage

Curly Kale




Yellow & Red Onions


Delicata Squash

For full shares, we’ve included Pickled Garlic Scapes & Apple Pie Jam from the value-adding artists at Ferme L’Hirondelle

And my musings for this week ….

As we come to the end of November, a full moon eclipse, a little bit more snow and rain and things getting cooler, we settle into a slower pace. This is one of my favourite times of the year because there is room to breathe and to reflect on the season; That rest and reflection inevitably opens the gates for creativity and the envisioning of the next season. Sometimes, usually in late September, I can look around the farm and think “oh god, I don’t know if I can do ALL of this again next year”. By that time, we’re all tired and working with the threat of the first frost and the imminent cold right on our heels. But, after only a bit of respite, a month or two of rest and some deep sleep, a new energy arises and plans begin to form. There is something so enticing about the blank slate that is the next farming season; Successes and new learnings will be built on what we already know, our past failures given the opportunity to be redeemed. And its because of this pure potential, held in the anticipation of each new season, that the motivation going forward is fuelled by the challenge of trying again and again, season after season. In the interest of becoming more organized, I’ve just painted two new chalkboard walls where we can web our plans and our farm design can visually unfold. I’m excited by the idea of improving my communication skills, becoming even more clear, so what the mind dreams can be realized on the ground.

I thought for this week, that I would share photos that track the changes of the season through the evolution in our greenhouse from Spring to Fall. Improving productivity in our one 16’ x 48’ greenhouse continues to be a focus as we think about really caring for our soil and what it means to take full advantage of its growing capacity. This season, with appropriate succession planning, good soil aeration and the addition of lots of organic matter in form of several seasons worth of decomposed marine compost and straw, our soil structure was greatly improved. We have tended to grow early crops (April transplanting) of Fennel, Radicchio, Broccoli and Beets in the greenhouse in order to have those crops available in early June for our first CSA shares. This season we took advantage of the vertical space along the sides of our greenhouse and set up our indeterminate tomatoes in pots to grow up the sides of the greenhouse. It turned out to be a bit of a harvesting nightmare, but nonetheless a creative use of space! In early Summer we seeded our Basil and second planting of sweet peppers along the borders of our greenhouse. We then clean out the main three beds in the greenhouse in early August to make room for a late Fall crop. We transplant and seed Spinach, Fennel and Radicchio. These crops are being harvested now for our Winter shares and should provide until the end of December. The greenhouse goes dormant throughout the Winter and then usually by early March the Spinach will spring back to life!

Enjoy …. A greenhouse season in photos

Getting ready to grow

Tomato transplants getting started in June!

Radicchio, Fennel, Beets and Broccoli

Tomatoes with the first flowers, growing up the side of the greenhouse

Basil babies in July

First ripening tomatoes in August!

Tomatoes, Peppers, Spinach and Fennel mid-September

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