At this meeting we continued to build compost piles, and did some preliminary layout work on the greenhouse. A piece of metal pipe inserted into the compost pile came out hot to the touch, so the pile is working well, probably due to all the coffee grounds we added. We will turn it at least once to heat up the outside, and speed up its progress.
The weather is still fairly pleasant, so we have continued working on our Lakewood Farm. At this meeting we continued turning our abundant supply of leaves into compost piles.
We also discussed plans for our greenhouse. It will be a simple hoop house, which has the advantages of low cost and ease of construction/removal. However, it will be less sturdy and harder to heat.
We will thread twenty foot lengths of rebar into pvc pipes, and bend the composite rods into hoops. These will be buried in the ground, and connected along the top by another rod. Then greenhouse film will be draped over the structure, and buried along the edges. Rope will be used to tie down the plastic and keep it from flapping in the wind.
Hopefully, we will be able to construct the greenhouse at the meeting after next. I will post pictures of the construction, and then record its performance. This is an Eliot Coleman style greenhouse, and part of it will be used for early plantings of cool weather crops. It will also house a hot bed for starting seedlings in the spring. These will be for sale, for member’s gardens, and for our farm site.
At this meeting, we got a hot compost pile started. We are layering leaves, manure, and coffee grounds in an eight by eight foot wire mesh bin. We also added a little blood meal. Sufficient nitrogen causes a compost pile to heat up. However, the manure we are using may not have enough nitrogen in it; the manure pile had not heated up. And we did not have enough blood meal and coffee grounds to heat up the pile by themselves. If, by next week, the pile shows no signs of heating, we will add some more nitrogen.