Saturday, April 23, 2011

Plants in the ground!

We finally got some plants in the ground on Thursday. It was not a great day to transplant as it was sunny and very windy, but the peas had shot up and were getting pretty crowded in their pots. We started transplanting our early peas last year (as opposed to direct seeding, which is the usual) to make sure that we get a good solid stand. Cold, wet April soil can lead to pretty sporadic germination and the inevitable decision about whether to turn them under or go ahead and do all the work of trellising when you know yields will be low because there are just way fewer plants than there should be. Transplanting solves this and gives you the instant gratification of something green in the field.

The poor little guys were pretty shocked, but are looking better after some rain and cooler weather on Saturday. Sugar snap peas are a real treat so we go to great lengths to make sure we have them for as long a portion of the season as we can. With that goal we also direct seeded another 150' to be the late planting while another round of transplants are hardening off and will go in the ground in a week or so. We also direct seeded a bunch of other crops including arugula, salad mix, turnips, radishes, kohlrabi and parsnips. Some flowers were seeded during this round of planting as well.

The above picture is of our salad mix lettuce seed. We blend about a dozen varieties to get all the shapes and colors we like into the mix. It will be interesting to see if this blend, which we came up with while at Holly Hill farm, acts the same on the new ground. I assume it will, but I definitely have been curious to see what differences will emerge.

It's wild to be doing such familiar tasks in such a new environment. We got quite used to all the idiosyncrasies at Holly Hill and it will take us a while to get the feel for this new land. One big difference right off the bat has been the excellent drainage. We were able to spade, amend, do secondary tillage passes and plant a full section of the field we'll be growing on in April. The limiter was our time, not the conditions. We could have prepped the full 3 plus acres we'll be growing on this year if we weren't also trying to get some early crops planted. That was just never possible at Holly Hill where we had to use the drier sections of the drier fields first and then wait and hope for dry weather before proceeding. This is one change I welcome and love right from the get go, though it does make me worry about irrigation during the summer. We'll work on that when the time comes. Right now it just feels good to be farming again.