From the chilly morning air to the bright colors of the trees, there is no mistaking that fall has arrived at Stony Point Center. Just as the leaves turn from the lush greens of summer to the reds, oranges, yellows, and browns of autumn, work on the farm at SPC has shifted as well. The days of seemingly endless harvests have passed. While many of our “summer” crops like tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, beans, and basil are amazingly still producing, this week’s harvest could be the last of the season for these crops because freezing overnight temperatures are likely coming before the end of the week. Our gardens will likely still produce greens, carrots, peas, and scallions in the month ahead, but much of the farm work in the upcoming weeks will focus on cleaning out the gardens. We’ll be gathering up whatever plant matter is left to take to the compost piles and removing and storing the trellises, t-posts, and black plastic mulch that cover most of our fields.
In addition to these typical seasonal chores, this fall has been unique for us at SPC because we are building a greenhouse. Thanks to our successful Sukkot Farm-to-Table fundraiser, we have been able to purchase all the materials necessary to build the greenhouse and move forward with construction. Construction progress has come in installments during the past several weeks. I have been making periodic trips up to Holmes Camp and Conference Center to mill wood for the greenhouse beds with David Frost, our farm advisor. Matt and I spent a couple of different mornings and afternoons cutting the boards, nailing them together, and meticulously positioning them according to the dimensions of our greenhouse. We had 20 cubic yards of a potting soil/compost mix delivered a few weeks ago that several different volunteer groups have diligently shoveled and wheelbarrowed into the beds. Two weeks ago, David came down to SPC from Holmes and helped all of us on the farm crew assemble the greenhouse’s arching metal beams and fit them into a frame we built to hold them in place. As it stands right now, we have what looks like the skeleton of a greenhouse awaiting its plastic roof.
In the upcoming days and weeks we will be planting the greenhouse beds with cold-tolerant plants like kale, chard, lettuce, arugula, and spinach that will be able to survive the winter thanks to the greenhouse’s protection. We’ll also put the finishing touches on the greenhouse itself including “skinning” it with thick, durable plastic and anchoring the entire structure into the ground. If all goes according to plan, we will have a fully functioning greenhouse before the cold of winter sets in. The greenhouse will be an enormous boon to the farm. It allows us to extend our growing season into the winter months and also gives us warm space to starts seeds in the spring. We’re all so thankful for everyone who came to our Sukkot dinner that has helped us make our greenhouse plans become a reality.
See you in the gardens (and in the greenhouse),