Snow, Greenhouse, Miso

1 Mar

Gosh we learn so much, every single day. There is certainly never a dull moment at Hello Farm Organics. Here are some highlights from the past 3 months.

In the autumn, we scored big with some beautiful veggies and fungi. It was our best year for daikon radish varieties and turnip. We were especially carful about preparing the beds 2 to 4 weeks before seeding, which we now know if absolutely necessary in our organic garden. We add all soil amendments, water and rototill the beds before covering them with clear plastic. This allows the top layer of the bed to superheat, killing pest insect larvae and eggs, as well as some weed seed. Trust us, it gets too hot to touch some days! But this treatment also supports beneficial bacteria and fungi to establish themselves in the warm humid conditions deeper underground, giving seedlings tons of nutrition as they grow.

Although there was tons of snow, that didn’t stop the Nappa cabbage and baby salad mix from growing strong under extra hoops and floating row cover, and of course in the greenhouses. We never heat our greenhouses and rely on passive solar heating, tunnels with floating row cover and plastic to hold the heat overnight. We also strategically place lots of large water containers inside the greenhouse. Having standing water in a greenhouse can help moderate the climate inside by slowly releasing heat overnight, and then cooling the hot greenhouse during the day. Its a win-win.

Unfortunately, the deer were getting very aggressive at destroying our fencing to reach our veggies. We had record amounts of snow this year making it hard for deer to find food. They were so hungry, the even started digging up plastic row cover to reach the daikon radish underground, like a wild boar might do. Crazy! They ate 100% of our kale, cabbage, broccoli and chicory. The snowman is meant to scare them. Didn’t work. And yes, that is a sling shot.

We decided to do a little professional development at The Little Farm Thailand this winter. It was a wonderful sharing and learning experience for us. We learned about raising chickens, goats, and ducks, and a bit about organic fruit production like bananas, papaya and pineapple. As you can see, they have lots of animal friends on the farm helping us out.

Unfortunately, when we returned to Japan we discovered one of our greenhouses had collapsed under the record-breaking amount of snow in our area. Many of our neighbours also lost their greenhouses. We’ve since learned that older greenhouses tend to collapse first because of algae growing on the roof plastic, which snow clings to, rather than sliding off, like on new plastic. In the pictures, you can see how we had to crawl under the collapsed snow-filled centre of the greenhouse to harvest some of our baby salad mix. Unfortunately, we cannot save this greenhouse as its structural integrity is completely compromised. But we will salvage valuable metal poles and likely keep the walls as a barrier agains wildlife. Roof’s gotta go!

A highlight for us was learning how to make miso with our good friend Jun Hoshino-sensei. It took 10 adults, 6 kids, 3 hours, 25Kg cooked soy beans, 25Kg koji (fermented rice), and 5Kg salt to make 50Kg of miso. OMG it was already tasting good even though it needs a minimum of 8 months to ferment!!! Honestly, learning together offer the best memory-makers.






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