This is the time of year that it seems winter will never come to an end but we know it is getting close and spring will soon be here. We are still shelling beans that were dried in the greenhouse last fall. I often get asked how we dry our seed. We use the greenhouse for drying most things. This is a dry, warm environment and we are not using it for plants in the late summer or fall. Ears of corn are shucked and laid directly on the benches in the greenhouse to dry. Beans are spread on large framed screens laid on the benches. We got our framed screens donated to us last year by Dr. Schiller from Ohio O.M.S. We greatly appreciate this donation. Framed screens can be used to dry a wide variety of seeds ranging from sorghum and wheat sized seed to beans, peanuts and okra. Tomato seed, once fermented and washed, are spread out on parchment paper, wax paper or paper plates to dry. We do use a box fan to increase air flow in the greenhouse, improving and speeding up moisture exchange and drying of the seed. Squash seed and cucumber seed are quickly packed off over night by mice and chipmunks if left to dry in the greenhouse so these items are dried in the house. Once the seed it dried (and beans are shelled) they are tested for germination and then bagged and labeled with name and year and put in storage.
Last week we ordered the grafted grapevines for our new small vineyard from Double A Vineyards in New York and have them scheduled for delivery the third week in April. This is the time of year that we are working out what to grow out this season and where to plant them. We rotate crops the best we can and this helps reduce pests and disease (especially blight on tomatoes). I pulled a soil sample this week and sent it to Spectrum Analytic in Washington Courthouse. It only takes a couple days to get the test report back. We expect the soil ph to be improving along with an increase of organic matter.