Ok, there may not have been lions or tiger, but there was a snake on the farm this week! A friendly (maybe, still to be determined) neighborhood snake stopped by the farm this week, and decided to lounge around in our pergola for a bit. He was definitely enjoying himself and it was another cool spotting of wildlife on the farm.
I am pretty sure I have said this every week so far, but it was another good week on the farm! I was able to get my project going, we got a lot of things planted, we got rain, and Nepeta let me pet her again!
To start of the week, we worked on getting a lot of things planted. We started transplanting our seedlings into the ground and then adding a layer of mulch around them. The mulch provides a lot of great benefits including helping to control temperature, lessening water loss and helping to control weeds. We planted a bunch of different things including lettuce, arugula, cauliflower and kohlrabi. We started by digging nice little holes for each plant and carefully removing them from the trays. We covered them with dirt and then added a layer of mulch around them. The mulch also makes the rows look really great!
This week I was also able to start my project: hydroponics! Before I started this project, I knew very little about hydroponics. To be honest, I probably still do not know all that much. I have spent quite a bit of time researching about hydroponics, but it seems like one of the best ways to learn is to just do it. Luckily, Corey knows a lot more about hydroponics and has been helping throughout this whole process.
We will be growing a greenhouse variety of cucumbers that are a pickling cucumber. This week, the first thing I did was get all the baskets ready for the buckets. This required using clay pellets to secure rockwool cubes into the baskets. The seeds will grow in these baskets and as they get bigger their roots will navigate through the pellets and will eventually stick out of the bottom. The roots will grow directly in the water buckets and be able to get the nutrients they need from it. There are also air stones at the bottom of each bucket t provide aeration and oxygen for the plant.
After packing all the baskets, it was finally time to get everything officially started. I cleaned out all of the buckets, and then we put them in the greenhouse and hooked each of the buckets up to an air stone and the air pump. Next, we filled them all with water and added the nutrients in. Finally, we tested the pH to ensure that it was in a good range. It was right around 6.5, so it was in the perfect range for the cucumbers. We placed the basket into each bucket and then stuck the seeds into the rockwool cubes. Now, we just have to wait for them to germinate and to start growing!
For the pesto, I mixed the radish leaves with some olive oil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and some salt and pepper to taste. I put all of the ingredients into a food processor and let her rip! I tossed it with a bit of pasta and paired that with a salad. I loosely based my pesto off of the recipe you can find right here: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/fresh_basil_pesto/. Of course subbing radish leaves for the basil and I changed up the amounts a bit to meet my liking. Yummy!
The pickle brine consisted of apple cider vinegar, sugar, garlic, peppercorns and a bit of salt. I will give it a few days to do its thing before I give it a try. Fingers crossed it turns out good! Here is the recipe I used for the pickle brine, although I left out the mustard seeds and instead I opted for garlic: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/basic-quick-pickle-brine-56389776.