Author Archives: colin

Low sun, low temperatures

Leaping Frog Farm is a four season farm that eliminates the absence of locally grown greens for any csa member during the long winter.  

In this picture one can see the small “shack” just off to the left from the middle focal point.  In this shack there is a water furnace that is fueled by corn pellets, a form of bio-mass.  The furnace is connected to two mains which are located in the middle and far left hoop tunnels.  The two mains are then connected to as many underground and above surface rubber tubbing is needed. Generally each bed has two tubes, one under and one above.  The heat runs through the tubbing via water. These tubes support all of Leaping Frog Farm’s CSA salad mix and kale.

Due to the highly efficient furnace and the highly efficient bio-mass (corn pellets) it is easy to keep the ground temperature above freezing for a week while only using three to four bags of pellets. Each bag weighs fifty pounds, making it about one-hundred and fifty pounds per seven days. (Note that the size of the hopper is relative to how often it needs to be filled.  This hopper could hold about twelve bags.) The heated water tubes are highly efficient, yet if not monitored while also keeping a close eye on the outside temperatures, it could easily cause problems for the hoop tunnel production. If the outside temperatures are well below freezing, the furnace remains active.  Otherwise the hoop tunnel temperatures do not need much assistance when outdoor temperatures remain around freezing. The passive solar hoop tunnel plus the thermal layering (remay and clear plastic) directly over the crops allow the plants to survive all winter long.

Limiting Fossil Fuel Use

When laboring a small farm it is pertinent to have as many efficient tools as necessary, and that generally means limited fossil fuel operated machinery.  That is just what you will find here at Leaping Frog Farm.  The entire land is shaped and nourished by hand except for the one combustion engine machine.  This machine is unbelievably efficient in the efforts of tilling large area of earth.  It would make less sense to do it by hand and hoe, unless of course that is your only means.  Within an hour I had the entire hooptunnel up and turned, just about two thousand six hundred square feet.  There are many tools needed due to each task having its own demands, a pair of sturdy hands and a critical thinking mind go a long way too! This process allowed the limestone and phosphorus minerals to be well mixed in with soil.

Leaping Frog Farm interning

Leaping Frog Farm is located between route 112 and the Deerfield river.  It is three acres in total. On this property one would find wild grasses on the southern bottom edge that are used for thermal mass insulation during the cold season and also for composting. Above this is where the produce will be planted and harvested.  There are now currently three hoop tunnels set up west to east, the largest one being about seventy feet long. (picture inside hoop house with beds being preped).

This hoop house consists of three hoop tunnels lined up, done with magical farmer ingenuity. This hoop house will support a large amount of kale and some collards which is used as members “cooking greens” for Leaping Frog’s CSA share, which is weekly through out the winter! The other two hoop tunnels are used for producing “salad greens”, being a large mix of tasty spinach, arugula, claytonia, swiss chard, pea sprouts and hybrid mesclun.  These other two hoop houses contain herbs and a soil blocking station as well.  These pictures show the property before our chilly winter swooped in.