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from the Field

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December 31, 2017
Baby It's Cold Outside
Notes From The Field
By Derek McGeehan
Chiseling away frozen and expanded soil to get into the Hoop Tunnel.
About 12 degrees and cloudy at 4pm Sunday...
Due to the extreme cold we're experiencing we'll try our best to distribute what's on the Expected Harvest list but we might have to make some last minute adjustments. Because spinach is known to be exceptionally cold hardy we postponed picking it last week in favor of cutting slightly less tolerant arugula and greens mix in case the extreme cold damaged them. As of now all the fresh greens look to have survived 7 consecutive days and nights below freezing. Before the worst of it began last Wednesday night, we added our thickest floating row cover (i.e. blanket) over top of the interior hoops and row cover that was already in place. This system should trap enough daytime solar radiation and soil/earth warmth to keep the greens between 25-35 degrees at night. Because the length and severity of this cold spell is unprecedented during our tenure at Anchor Run Farm, we're not 100% certain of the outcome after these two weeks. However, midway through the event, protected crops continue their healthy lives unscathed.
Also, the water line from our irrigation well to the barn and washroom freezes when single digits freeze the ground so now we'll have to run hoses from our basement to the washroom. Last week we were unable to prepare this in time for pick up which resulted in dirty beets. This week we'll have that system up and running so we can clean the roots. However, we don't wash sweet potatoes because this damages them and then they deteriorate quickly afterwards.
Additionally, we're doing our best to keep the pick up room temperature pleasantly above freezing. Now that we're fully embracing a January-February Winter CSA we need to think about the most appropriate longterm solution for heating an uninsulated, lofty, drafty barn. We've been so focused on how to grow fresh crops through the winter months that we overlooked the cold/heat situation in the barn. Our sincere apologies! However, with our current set up, you can expect to enjoy a 35 degree sauna in the pick up room when it's 10-15 degrees outside, thanks to tarps, greenhouse plastic, floating row cover, and space heaters.
As of now, Monday, January 8 is predicted to crest the freezing mark, so get your bathing suits and shorts ready!
Hello in there!
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