Construction on our seedling greenhouse is underway. While in Joppa we used a very inexpensive design for our greenhouse, the hoops were 1" PVC and were placed over rebar stakes in the ground. While this design was good and proved to work out well for us, it required a lot of maintenance in the winter during snowstorms. Since the PVC hoops are not very rigid they will collapse under an significant weight, so we were constantly sweeping the snow and ice off the house.

Well, for our new greenhouse we decided to upgrade to steel hoops and steel ground sleeves and give ourselves a little piece of mind about winter storms. The new house is also a couple feet wider and 20 feet longer so we won't be as crowded as we were before. It also means we'll have more room in the spring for growing plants for sale. In our sowing schedule are plans to start basil, cucumber, squash, tomato, pepper and many other plants for sale. In fact our transplants will be certified organic through MDA.

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I have been looking for a team of Belgians for this coming year. After placing several wanted ads in the Lancaster Farming I got a promising call from a farmer in upstate NY with a team of older Belgians for sale at a very good price. I've talked with several people this winter about buying horses and everyone has been saying that there is a shortage of draft horses and mules this winter. As if to emphasize this, while at a farm sale several weeks ago I watched a team of mules sell for $11,000 after the tractor went for $8,000! Incredible.

So, we weren't prepared to pay anything close to $11,000 for horses, or even $8,000, and I was beginning to feel panicked about finding a team this winter. Until I spoke with Ken from NY and he told me about his team, Lady and Toad. They are 16 and 17 years old, 16 hands and 16.2 hands high, and are what are called well broke. They stand really well, hitch easily, and seem to be very intelligent. Welcome to Flying Plow Lady and Toad!

We were excited to hear about Maryland House Bill 3 this week, which would legalize raw milk herd shares in Maryland. Here are two links to the bill, http://legiscan.com/MD/bill/HB3/2014,  http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2014RS/bills/hb/hb0003f.pdf. If you are interested in legal raw milk sales in Maryland we recommend contacting your representatives and expressing your support of this bill. Currently it needs to be voted out of committee to be brought to the House floor for a vote, something that we assume won't happen until the committee is sure they will have enough support to pass the bill.

In other advocacy news, Brittany is working on starting a Maryland chapter of the National Young Farmers Coalition. We'll have more info in later posts, but have a look at the NYFC website in the meantime.

Our Winter Harvest is back for this weekend! Have a look at the order form here. Carrots are on the order form, and we will be trying to dig them this week, but we're making no promises that we'll be successful. However, if we are able to get good carrots, you better believe they're going to be super sweet! Also, since we have regularly been running short on eggs, we're going to put a 1 dozen limit on egg orders. We'll also be at the Kennett Square Winter Market on Friday from 2 to 4pm.

Have a good week,

Tom


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