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Lettuce Rejoice! October 28, 2021- Havens and Hedgerows

Posted on October 22nd, 2021 by Tamara McMullen

October 28, 2021

The Lettuce Rejoice!

Firmly Rooted Farm's Newsletter for their Veggie Loving Farm-ily

On the Farm: Havens and Hedgerows

Hello again my veggie loving friends,

At Firmly Rooted, things are always changing and we’re always learning. But such is life I suppose. How dull it would be if everything stayed the same (although our perspective may prevent us from ever realizing it, so who’s to say).

The new greenhouse is completely planted! When spring arrives, and the sun sticks around a little longer each day, the little seedlings that have been waiting in anticipation all winter will burst forth into the newest plant haven on the farm. There’s still no plastic on it, but the end walls are up and soon it will be completely covered. Brian has been working diligently on the project, putting in countless hours of labour with some occasional help to see it done. I’m sure it will feel rewarding once he reaches the end. The greenhouse is still nameless, but I’m sure Jack has one in the works already (he named the last one "Home of the Plants").

Next week we will be making some additions to our hedgerows. I’ve written about the importance of hedgerows before. Not only do they provide a buffer area from the land surrounding the farm, but they also provide habitat for countless wildlife. From the soil to the air, our hedgerows nourish and protect. They provide enduring areas of undisturbed soil, which permanently sequester carbon with the help of millions of microorganisms and fungal species. Our hedgerows are also home to early flowers from trees and shrubs such as willows and maples, which provide the first offerings of nectar for early-season pollinators such as bees. Our hedgerows also provide food for birds, helping to attract excellent insect eaters. Overall, our hedgerows are built as a diverse habitat that contributes to the food web in ways we cannot fathom. There are likely turtles, raccoons, and other critters that have found a brief rest or a home in our hedgerows. We’ve put out the call before, but if anyone wishes to be involved in the planting of our hedgerows, please reach out to Tamara (!

Tamara also has some ripe ideas brewing in the way of waste disposal. Currently, most or all of our farm fertility is purchased. We buy in a couple of different composts, with different nutrient profiles. We also purchase micronutrient amendments to sprinkle on our beds. Many farms have the benefit of having on-farm biodigesters at the ready, in the forms of cattle, sheep, pigs, or chickens. We don’t have animals to create waste for us to compost. So Tamara would like to add some new editions to their on-farm family. Vermicomposting, have you heard of it? It’s an exciting type of hyper-nutrient dense, fast turnover composting usually using worms called “red wigglers”. It’s scalable, you can have a vermicomposting set up small enough that it takes care of kitchen scrapes, or big enough it can handle greater amounts of plant matter. Tamara will be visiting a vermicomposting worm farm in Kitchener to learn the ropes, then begin with a house-sized setup with the intention of scaling up. She hopes to have a composting bin built that is continuous flow; the worms stay near the top to eat through the fresh material, and thoroughly composted material comes out the bottom. The process of vermicomposting will help to close the nutrient cycle on the farm, creating a more robust and regenerative farming system.

Kitchen Corner

Kohlrabi is what you get if you cross a turnip with a UFO. It’s bulbous, it’s got some wild leafy hair, but it’s delicious. Remember, all parts of kohlrabi are edible, but peeling the bulbous portion is highly recommened as it's quite tough. You can enjoy the bulbous portion on its own raw, with a little hummus, or roasted with a little olive oil and salt. Or dress it up a bit with some herbs! 

Kitchen Clean-Up

Some people signed up for a winter share last spring and then signed up a second time this fall. Tamara has caught some double sign-ups and contacted these people, but please double-check you are not signed up for two so you can avoid paying for two and figuring out what to do with all those veggies!

That’s all for now folks, happy eating until next time!

Farmer Erika