Soil blocks

This fall we are starting hardy annuals and preparing to transplant to the field, where they will (hopefully) overwinter under low hoops for an early, robust start. Over the weekend we finished forming the last of ~700 soil blocks, using Eliot Coleman’s recipe and a soil block press from Johnny’s Seeds.

Advantages: No plastic cell-trays (huge reduction in waste). Roots don’t bind in the cells, and transplanting is less of a shock.

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Early autumn beekeeping

The hot, extremely dry (drought-level dry) spring has taxed both hives, but now that the weather is cooler and we have had some rains they are both rebuilding. However, last week we noticed a new and unwelcome guest: small hive beetles. This week during the hive check I slipped several beetle traps between the honey frames — they are small containers filled with soybean oil that beetles crawl into and, hopefully, don’t crawl out of. I also sprinkled diatomaceous earth around the hive. Fingers crossed, I’ll see how they are doing after the ASCFG conference.

Compost Heating Up

After the very dry, hot summer the cooler weather and increased volume of organics is creating a very nice compost pile, which is steadily heading towards the ideal hot-cook temperature of 135. 

I turned and watered the pile this morning and was glad to see steam rise from the middle with the first fork -- I use A. M. Leonard's 4 Tine Bully Super Fork -- and it's all coming along nicely. 

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