Monday, September 26, 2011

Steaming the Greenhouses

The Steam Jenny

A Steam Pan

Dad forking the earth to let the steam get into the soil

Moving the pan

The Steam escaping from switching the hose

Steaming is one of the most labour intensive jobs this time of the year on the farm. Steaming is done to sterilize the soil and help kill the weeds.You are also able to plant at a higher density, as there is less weeds to compete.
Steaming began when we used to grow tobacco, as the seedlings were started in the greenhouse and then moved outdoors. Every September and October we steam the greenhouses to get ready for our next round of crops. There are two large pans- one for each side that run on wheels and pulley's. A hose is connected to the air tight pan for 1/2 hour, then the pan is left there for another 1/2 hour before it is moved. It takes two  sessions to get 10ft in.  It is not as common as it once was, as your greenhouse has to have center walkways and places for the wheels to get through at a certain size.  Before this all happens, the greenhouses have to be cleaned out, add fertilizer- in our case manure and rototillered. Then they get flooded, so the weeds will try to grow again. My favorite autumn smell of ripe fertile soil steaming. I look forward to it every year.
Hope your autumn is amazing!