Hello and happy late summer!

It’s been a full year now that our beautiful greenhouse has been planted and growing.

Here are a few photos of the greenhouse in full summer growth. We continue to learn a lot as we watch what works and what doesn’t. We’re also trying new methods of dealing with pest insects; for most of the past year we’ve used beneficial insects from M & R Durango ( green lacewings, Orius -thrips predators, leafminer predators, etc) which seemed to work pretty well, but we were curious as to our other options, so we stopped with regular releases of these insects and started a new regimen. Mainly, we still need to focus on improving our soil in the raised beds, although it is much better than a year ago as we’ve added a lot of peat, composted sheep manure, worm castings and worms, and more topsoil. With better soil, the plants become healthier, and can fend off disease and pests better for themselves, rather than treating the problem after it’s arrived. Until then, we’re currently spraying Neem Oil, which is a natural pest control made from trees and sprayed on our plants. We’ve also been applying a microbe spray that Jerome recommended and is supposed to help improve the micro organism count in our soil to help the plants uptake nutrients.

We’ve also finally started to plant our orchard behind the greenhouse. We laid out the guilds on the hillside, and are tackling it one guild at a time. We start with the center fruit tree (apples or pears) and then plant 3 or 4 Siberian Pea Shrubs ( which fix nitrogen- take it out of the air and pull it down into their roots, where it can then be released into the soil) and 2 or 3 berry shrubs ( currants or gooseberries) around the central tree in a circle. We will have plenty of room in each guild to add more shrubs and/or other understory perennials and annuals, but for now we want to get these established.

Our harvests are going well, and our passionfruit are not just beautiful- they’re delicious! There is also a photo of an artichoke which we did not pick but let go to flower… surprisingly lovely thistle!

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