Watch as Farmers Grow

Greenhouse 2012 Summary

March 21st, 2013 | Posted by RR in Greenhouse

Greenhouse 2012 Summary

Heated Greenhouse

This structure held all our seedling successions for the farm and for sale. There was very bad aphid infestation, noticed in late March, and became full-blown a month later.  An OMRI-approved insecticidal soap, M-Pede, was bought and used according to the directions (except we found the hard way that certain flowers should not be sprayed).


It’s the structure that transitions the seedlings from the heated greenhouse to the outdoor hardening-off tables. Plans to take down and re-purpose this structure began last season.

 The Farmhouse Gothic

            Beds were prepped for the first succession of market flowers in late March 2012. Sunflowers, zinnias were among the flowers grown in this greenhouse in the spring.  In August, the flowers were removed to make way for a late planting of tomatoes. They also received a minimal amount of tending and blight soon got them. Then Hurricane Sandy blew off the plastic covers.  It will be replaced in March 2013.

 Ralph’s House

            This greenhouse was home to kale and chard during the winter of 2011. Late April 2012, some of those plants were taken out due to an aphid infestation. Peas were then transplanted a little while later and were followed by a direct seeding of radishes. By mid May the chard that had remained had bolted and then removed. Rows and pathways in this greenhouse got a weeding and mulching in mid May as well. A week into June, most beds were emptied and were prepped for tomatoes.  They did well for the next few weeks despite aphids and minimal tending in July and August. Early September, blight was discovered on a few tomato plants. The farm manager cut down 1/3 of that bed and covered them well. The tomatoes received a little more tending before Hurricane Sandy.  This structure survived the super-storm, however, a week later, another storm with strong winds tore the plastic off. New plastic will also be added this March.

 My major focus

            Some personal interest goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year included soil testing and experiments with soil fertility. I didn’t get around to the soil tests, but I did the latter by way of making compost tea. Two different types were made by steeping stinging nettle and comfrey in water, and waiting two weeks. My memory recalls the results after application being favorable, but better data is required.

 Seedling sales

I attempted to increase seedling sales this year. After going over last year’s notes (2011), I reduced the varieties of seedlings offered for sale and upped production on those varieties that seemed popular. What resulted was a more streamlined set of seedlings being offered.  Varieties mostly consisted of tomatoes, beets, chard, kale, peppers and eggplants. Unfortunately, weather and aphids had it out for the plants and a lack of personal, practical labor and marketing experience decreased the sales. The dates of the sales to the account ranged from April 14 to May 9, 2012, for a total of 5 weeks.  During this time period the number plants sold did go up as there were more to offer, but again, since weather aphids, and my own bad judgment decreased the quality of the plants, sales didn’t last. The amount made from sales alone, not counting equipment or labor expenses, was $1456.00. Compared to 2011, when sales totaled $2368.00 (3/21/13 Edit: Wholesale accounts totaled $2573.00 in 2011 according to RC’s post below. I must have overlooked at least one week of sales, or am missing a different account) over the course of 10 weeks, only $272.00 more was made in half the time (in 2012)  as a result of having more plants available (3/21/13 Edit: Nope). So, technically the attempt was a success (3/21/13 Edit: False), but expenses, equipment, stress and the time it takes away from other areas, makes this project I personally wouldn’t try again.


Tend the plants everyday!

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