Here in Texas, the most abundant seasons are peak fall and peak spring. It seems we can grow almost anything at these nice, temperate times of year. It's the edge seasons, however, deep summer and deep winter, that are the bottleneck.
This year, we are undertaking several initiatives to overcome these limitations and ensure greater diversity and higher-quality vegetables throughout the year. As a CSA member, you may have noticed the delightful surprise of sprouted microgreens in your shares. We have recently launched a shoots and microgreens growing program to supplement the CSA, allowing members to enjoy fresh tender greens during the hot deep summer.
Some of the first sprouts we trialed were sunflower sprouts, shown here.
Our microgreens are cultivated in ebb and flood trays on a vertical rack within a cooled room. The scorching temperatures outside make it difficult for peas to germinate, but by growing in a controlled environment under lights, we can produce top-notch tender greens during a time when outdoor cultivation is impossible.
Our next season-extension project is more macro than micro. We're building a (humongous!) 3000 square foot, 30 by 100 ft greenhouse. This greenhouse is big enough for our tractors to enter, and we'll actually plant crops directly into the ground, inside the greenhouse. This greenhouse will give us the ability to extend our harvest in the fall by keeping tender plants like tomatoes or cucumbers, warmer longer. And it will help us have earlier spring vegetables, flowers, and herbs around the end of January/early February when there's not a large diversity of produce otherwise available. It's a bit of insurance against bad weather, and overall just gives the farm a new mircroclimate in which to grow food for you.
We are so excited to complete this project and get it into production! I'm skipping the part of the story where I tell you how grueling it has been to build this greenhouse, but rest assured - it's been a big project and the learning curve has been steep! I have a feeling that every greenhouse I build after this will be a quick process than this one which has seemed to loom all summer.
The end is in sight, and we already have a room filled with tomato transplants, currently housed in our smaller existing transplant greenhouse. As soon as the construction is complete, we will transfer these transplants to the ground, heralding the arrival of a few weeks of fall tomatoes!
Thanks for being a part of our journey as a farm. I have so much gratitude for those of you who have been with us through the beginning. We are constantly thinking about you and trying to put into place systems to continue to provide the highest quality freshest nutrient-dense veggies!!!
p.s. Melons (all the kinds!) are coming very soon! Make sure to order a CSA at least once this month so you don't miss out on Texas melons.