Farm Engineering

Now entering our 6th season farming at the Intervale, it feels good to be in a groove with certain things – specifically the infrastructure of our farming plans – trellising! We always feel like we’re getting into the groove when the 2x4s come out and the tomatoes, eggplants, cukes, peppers and squashes have all been successfully cold-framed and hardened off and are ready to go into the ground. It always surprises me when I make the mental shift from greenhouse work to field work and find that we actually have the plants ready to go… as my plans said they’d be! Well, I guess that’s testimony to the value of good farm planning in February! We also are getting the irrigation under control and making sure everything has a drip irrigation system in place for any unforseen non-rainy days (like this coming weekend scorcher prediction) – we want to make sure that the plants have everything that they need, and that all WE need to do is to turn on a faucet to make it happen!
In other interesting news, this year we made a $27.05 purchase that has revolutionized transplanting for us – it’s the bulb auger from Johnny’s Seeds company in Maine. This little gizmo took the work out of digging the holes for all our long-term crop transplants this year – what a huge deal for us! In about 30 minutes with a really good drill (DeWalt 14.4 volt cordless drill) with fully charged batteries – 2 of them, we could auger 400 perfect-sized 4″ holes for transplanting! What a nice change from the old trowel-digging-on hands-and-knees system! At any rate – worth every penny!

Feels good to be in the groove with markets as well – the downtown Saturday market is off and running, and we start the New North End Market’s 7th season next Thursday! Summer is definitely here.
Some pictures of our process….

Planting the squashes – squash blossoms, here we come!

In they go…

Spencer commanding our new gizmo to drill perfect holes into our soil.

All the plants in the foreground are waiting to go into those holes!

Everybody’s in – time for drip irrigation lines to be placed. Spencer came up with our new drip line feed system – put a pole through the spool, place pole between two cinderblocks that are sitting up on our garden cart. Presto! Cart moves easily to next location with super-heavy drip tape spool already threaded and ready to go! Nice easy adaptation to our old system of one person holding the spool, the other drawing out the line – exhausting work!

Joining the tape with a coupler to a new roll, and laying the last section.

Tape in place, plants being watered! A super-nice system.

Spencer happily tying up the strings for trellising our tomatoes – tomorrow’s project!

All the twine is in place and ready for the tomatoes!

In other news – the bumble bees are doing their job, and pollinating the fava beans in our hoophouse – we have little beans emerging; they must grow faster than that – the cherry tomatoes are ready to go in their place!

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