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  • Published Articles - TransplantingAnnuals
    in our eastern field would provide enough row footage to spend the afternoon transplanting Slightly more active than weeding transplanting proved more manageable in the rain Wielding trowels and hori horis hundreds of cabbage broccoli collards kale and kohlrabi went into the ground that afternoon We were able to keep warm as we moved flat after flat of plants out of our big coldframe greenhouse and smiled to see our collection of starts freed to the open air and fields of dirt After weeks of careful care we now had to trust to biology and climatic good fortune With luck each plant will grow into the best case scenario To get to this point in the season however was the result of much indoor seeding work Through February and March we seeded thousands of cold tolerant plants into flats Broccoli cabbage brussels sprouts kale collards chard and kohlrabi fill our seeding shelves early in the season warmer crops such as tomatoes cucumbers and squash come later contact us if you have questions on seasonal timing These were kept under lights in our basement and watered every few days As seeds germinated grew sprout leaves and slowly developed their true leaves we monitored them closely As they sized up we moved flats to our cob animal house greenhouse combination building Here plants were introduced to natural daylight and the temperature fluctuations between day and night As they began to outgrow their original cells plants were potted up into 4 pots and shifted to our big coldframe This building has less thermal mass than the cob greenhouse and thus temperatures fluctuate to a greater degree Moving plants into this building was another step in the process of accustoming plants to natural conditions As time and space allowed we shifted plants outdoors during

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2012/transplantingannuals.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Edible Landscaping
    flurry of planting new stock these past few weeks chestnuts buartnuts hazelburts currants gooseberries blueberries peaches cherries apples asian pears mulberries quince rhubarb and lingonberry fill out our list of recent plantings We ve also however been busy dividing and transplanting established species This is a long and varied inventory Over the past couple weeks you could find us digging about in patches of chives walking onion rattlesnake plaintain and black locust to name a few Each year though we focus primarily on the following species comfrey lupine ella campagne valerian and mullein These species are hardy and plentiful and do wonders for our garden system There is of course the aesthetic element as each of these plants produce beautiful flowers The bees appreciate this as much as we do having such species in abundance promotes healthy habitat for our pollinator species However it is the underground efforts accomplished by these species that is so important to us With long taproots they are able to grow deep into the ground accessing nutrients that other shallower rooted plants are unable to reach Furthermore the ability of plants such as lupine to fix nitrogen through their root system further enriches our soil chemistry The vascular system of broad leafed plants such as comfrey for example enhances the ability of the plant to maximize its use of solar energy and available soil nutrition The result is a plant that is invaluable as animal fodder a compost additive and as garden mulch Attending to perennial stock in this manner we are boldly working for the future While annual plants will provide our short term calories perennials represent the long term viability of our homestead food production soil fertility and pollinator habitat are all provided by these species Edible food forests are our goal and

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2012/ediblelandscaping.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Energy Conservation
    at D Acres And this past month surprised me just a bit We could pat ourselves on the back and say that nevertheless the many residents of D Acres are only using the output typical of an average family And yes there are a myriad of seasonal explanations that make the month of March energy intensive numerous grow lights for one example But both those statements are false comfort We want to be proactive models Consequently the numbers have sparked personal examination What are our own habits Our preferred conveniences Our energy addictions And how do our personal choices intersect with group uses Ultimately the quantity of power used or not used here at D Acres is a reflection of our collective body No one of us can stand apart What are we doing about it For one our response is that of renewed vigilance Turning off appliances such as printers and computers when not in use leaving no lights on if a room is exited transitioning young plants to greenhouse space as quick as possible These details reflect our habits being present for our own reflexive actions is simple to write and more challenging to enact Conscientiousness is an ongoing process In regards to the larger picture of organizational energy uses our discussions are considering the following energy saving strategies computer free days No power during daylight hours Blackout days So here we go This coming Sunday will be our first power down day With a generator ready to provide water if needed for guests or visitors we will turn the power off for the daylight hours No lights no computers no shop tools In what terms will we consider our experience As an adventure A burden An inconvenience Can we create new habits for ourselves This is a

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2012/energyconservation.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Ladders and Pruners
    most years we are perched atop crusty snow working quickly in the cold of a morning to avoid the post holing challenges of pruning in the mushy slush of a late afternoon This year though is certainly one of ease With bare ground and mild temperatures there is no balancing of ladders atop ice no waiting for the melt to see the raspberries no snow covered limbs of low bush blueberries Pruning is one of the first outdoor tasks that we undertake as the gardening season begins each year As such it is accompanied by excitement at attending to living plants once more and the fresh faced glow of days spent outside After a winter of cold pruning on a sunny March or April morning can elicit a ready smile It is in a sense making order out of chaos The goals of pruning are to encourage plant and tree health and to maximize production As such we are striving to shape the tree with the future in mind directing the plant to grow into the template we have imagined for it While many fruit and nut trees will have a central leader followed by aerial branches smaller berry bushes have a vase like habit An effective pruner must be cognizant of the species with which they are working and sculpt accordingly Extra branches and limbs are eliminated to maintain an open form and to foster the arrival of sunlight and air to all aspects of the given plant Dead branches are cut off as are suckers and waterspouts In all pruning work clean cuts are a must Effective pruning comes down to effective tools Blades must be sharp and function with precise alignment Cuts that are jagged or torn are slower to heal To minimize impact on the given

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2012/pruningperennials.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Give Something, Get Something
    social addictions to new items a credit card economy and vanity in personal appearance In response the dress code modeled by myself and the crew here at D Acres trends to simplicity repetition and functionality Granted we may represent an acute reaction to general social malaise compounded by a rampant cultural compulsion to shop I we stand by it nevertheless And this coming weekend we offer you an opportunity to shop in a neighborhood way March 31st and April 1st D Acres will be holding its annual Clothing Swap 10am 4pm This is an opportunity to both give something and get something Have used clothing items that you your family or your friends will make use of no longer Bring it here Please don t throw out apparel please don t stuff another landfill with useable goods fill the tables at The D Acres Garage Mall and offer it to the public By the same token if you re in need or yes in want of some new items swing on by Someone else may have dropped off the very piece for which you are searching There is no charge to drop off nor to pick up anything leftover at the end of the weekend will be brought to the Plymouth Community Closet Thrift Store So what s the advantage to the D Acres Mall open one weekend per year Well this clothing swap event provides the opportunity to extend the life of clothing items that would otherwise be trashed recycled or shipped overseas It provides consumers with the option of items they need without fostering an economic dependency on sweatshop labor and distant resource extraction And it s free We are attempting to redirect the wealth of objects we each possess to benefit our community and replace the dominant

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2012/clothingswap.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Spring Planning
    for the anticipated arrival of spring and bare ground these early sprouts will continue to garner our attention as weekly duties now involve checking and re hanging lights Fluorescents are hung close to the seedlings to prevent them from being spindly and leggy slowly being raised as the plants develop Watering duties are once again a part of our weekly work schedule as well a sure sign that spring must be on its way Just as exciting is the ordering and arrival of seeds we order through Fedco a cooperative based in Clinton Maine This imbues another level of excitement and urgency to our spring work There are greenhouses to plant and gardens to plan While the ground is still snow covered the greenhouses have thawed and the soil workable the rich smell of fresh dirt greets the senses upon entering An essential means of season extension early spring plantings of greens in our greenhouses are our only chance of fresh food by mid April Without greenhouses we d be waiting for bare ground to transplant into this could be April this could be May So as we prepare for spring and gradually stock our shelves with flats of seedlings yearning for sunshine and the richness of a garden bed we are engaged in an annual process of guesswork As garden maps are drawn and irrigation discussed we are looking out on snow but imagining fresh soil and rich compost We are guessing part conservative part aggressive when the last snow will fall when the ice will melt when the final frost will hit Guesses fueled by anticipation and based in experience and observation For spring is just the beginning the first leg of a sprinter s marathon Winter is a time to rest and restore ourselves Spring however can

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2012/springplanning.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Currency in Community
    statement of value Yet money so effectively affects our judgment of value Twists it undermines it and counters a traditional value system rooted in place landscape resources and community Rather than judging worth value by the time it took to make an object or the neighbor s par excellence skill with a particular tool or the resources you had to pull from your own land for the creation of a good or the necessity that an object can claim in our daily life rather than any of these reasonable tangible based in reality systems of value we have chosen to use paper currency as a value determining middle man Not only that but paper currency is now an international value resulting in total detachment from a community based scale of value We have evolved into a system that determines value largely devoid of the people places and resource base from which objects and services originate Is this really how we want to continue With money flowing out of our communities for objects created in exploitation of distant people and resources subsidized by governmental agreements and sanctioned by international political status quos Not me for one Here at D Acres we are emphasizing a resource based skills based economy one grounded in place reflective of our regional identity and responding to community needs Resiliency flexibility and sustainability are tenets of a local system rather than power exploitation bureaucracy and unrestricted development We want an economy grounded in the reality that surrounds us We want to maintain money value within our communities Wealth based in resources skills is wealth that is tangible necessary and empowering And so we are envisioning a new system one that reflects our identity our landscape our resources and our community needs Sounds like grand philosophy I suppose

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2012/local-currency.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Sauerkraut
    cooked down in a skillet or mixed with our winter staples of pork potatoes and squash It shows up for breakfast please it s great with eggs lunch and dinner It s so good that we re offering sauerkraut as part of our multi farm winter CSA and rationing ourselves the rest at a rate of one gallon per week In the words of one farm resident I just can t get enough lacto bacilli Certainly not the average conversation starter but there you have a sampling of our sentiments for sauerkraut It s good and good for you A celebration of sauerkraut is also a celebration of seasonality As I write this temperatures for the night are descending below zero Not the habitat for fresh greens and vegetables Yet thanks to the root cellar our natural refrigerator dug below ground with a dirt floor w have maintained a supply of storage crops potatoes carrots beets and turnips top the list Fresh cabbage our closest approximate to fresh greens lasted in fine form until the end of December We have successfully stored cabbage until February in prior years though a portion is lost due to an ungraceful aging curve in this hearty brassica This is where the story returns to sauerkraut Cabbage is given a longer shelf life in the form of sauerkraut Shredded and mixed with salt cabbage will produce a brine of its own Packed in a jar and stored in a cool locale cabbage will then safely and successfully ferment itself into sauerkraut Healthy and advantageous bacteria will easily preserve cabbage turned sauerkraut for many months In this manner our hundreds of cabbage heads Mammoth Red Rock Melissa Savoy Frigga Savoy Fun Jen to name a handful of varieties are living their second life sliced diced spiced

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2012/sauerkraut.html (2016-05-01)
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