Strawberry Hill Farm / Blog / Power coming back into the sun!

Power coming back into the sun!

Posted on by Tim Livingstone

For most people this may be hard to understand, but for anyone with a greenhouse, the lengthening days and increased sun have real significance.  Even though the temperature was still in the minus 20s last night, the sun today has warmed the greenhouse all the way up to plus 15 C and we were picking spinach.  

Last Saturday I cut up almost a cord of wood and am using it to help heat the greenhouse.  This along with the returning sun has helped things start to grow visibly again after having done very little since the beginning of December.  The cost of producing greens at this time of year is high; probably higher than people are willing to spend.  The good part is that we are learning a lot about timing, about minimum temperatures, and about what times of the year we can actually grow things productively in a greenhouse.  Winter greens are grown productively in southern New England and along the coast of Maine, but our weather is significantly colder and our winter days are shorter so we have to figure out what makes economic sense for us.

We started a new batch of laying hens just over a week ago.  These cute little chicks came to us about a day after hatching and are doing well.  We expect them to start laying eggs of their own in June in time for the start of our summer boxes.

The chicks are in a loft above the hens which protects them from the extreme cold.  The body heat from the hens keeps their room above freezing and the lights in the loft keep the chick pen much warmer where it is 35C or more under the lights.  Chicks are very social birds and they are full of energy.  It is fun to watch them run around and enjoy life.

We have just gotten our bacon and hams back from the smoker so we look forward to trying them and then putting them on the order list for next week.

This final picture was taken today showing how much the chicks have grown and how their first wing feathers are starting to grow.  They have almost doubled in size in just 8 days.  Glad we don't grow so fast !


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