Part of the pleasure of my rooftop farm is the moments of surprise and wonder I get to experience, especially at this early stage in my learning process.
As those of you who have visited the farm know, it is divided into two sections, the half that is covered by the greenhouse, and the half that isn’t. Each half has 6 of the main raised beds,each of which has its own hoop house. Those two sections are also divided into three sections, or really categories, based on the required and desired temperature of the veggies: I have two boxes each of cold, medium, and warm. I can adjust the temperature by venting and pulling back the hoop house covering based on the daily temperature and the amount of sun. The covered section is almost completely planted. The uncovered half, though is about half planted. All the colds are in, and the mediums are about half in. The warms are a few weeks from being ready, but I need to start thinking about getting their boxes cleaned of weeds and about adding some compost.
All my beds were covered with hoop houses over the winter so that more worms would survive and more decomposition of straw and leaves could take place to fortify the soil. From beneath the plastic covering the warm beds I could see lots of green. The beds seemed to have been taken over by weeds and grass. I’ve been avoiding uncovering them because I thought the task would be rather involved. The deeper the roots of these weeds and grass, the more soil I’d lose when I pulled them and the more I’d have to carry up the ladder to refill the box. I kept putting it off,avoiding even looking under the plastic. Today, however, I pulled back the plastic covering to the hoop houses to take a look. There were some weeds, but also a surprise crop of kale and spinach.
I had planted these last fall as an experiment to see how far into the winter or fall I could get with them. Things froze pretty quickly and I didn’t think too much about them after that. But this spring, the soil thawed and the plants revived themselves and began growing again. They are going to provide us all with a nice bonus.
Those of you who know me have heard me wax poetically (or wax something) about kale. We love it. It can be boiled, sautéed, even baked or made into soup, but we love it best fresh in our salads. It’s a bit stronger than lettuce or spinach, but the broccoli-like flavor adds character to our salads throughout the year. Kale is very frost hardy and tolerates the heat. Its nutritional qualities are similar to, though may exceed, broccoli. I also like the way it tastes. Kale is the roof-top farmer’s best friend. There are lots of good Kale recipes available on that Google thingy that just made it to farm country 🙂
Other happenings on the roof: you may see some new color in your box with the addition, this week of a few radishes, as well as one or two other surprises. Other stuff is coming along, though we’ve been battling both heat and cold for the past week. Tomorrow the big greenhouse structure comes down. It looks like we’re beyond the major frost events, and the hoop houses should be able to handle any minor ones. At least that’s the hope.
In the meantime, enjoy this week’s box,