29Apr2008

Warm, then Cool, a Chance to Catch our Breath!

We have been running like crazy these past 2 weeks! We have been taking advantage of all the incredibly dry and warm weather to prepare our fields, and we have been constantly seeding, thinning, transplanting and potting up everything in the greenhouses as well as harvesting our first few rounds of microgreens! It’s always nice to be one of the first in the stores with a Spring crop. The small but mighty micros do the trick everytime! We have, of course been waiting to hear on the HayGrove decision from the State and FEMA, and as I wrote in the last post, the decision came down – not super favorably, but a decision nonetheless, and now we can move forward with our season knowing exactly where we’re headed. Spencer has been promising to do his own post on the whole HayGrove thing, so I’ll let him cover all those bases.
Meanwhile, we have made some nice progress in the fields. As of today, all of the pearl onions, potatoes, and the first round of colorful carrots, orange carrots, arugula, romaine salad mix, heirloom salad mix, radishes, cilantro, basil, radicchio, escarole, and some amazing head lettuces are all in the ground!! It sure feels good to have so many crops in finally. We were waiting to receive our new BCS walk-behind tiller to start converting our fields to 30″ beds rather than the 60″ beds that the tillers we normally use with the Intervale tractors make. We have found the 60″ beds to be hard to straddle when weeding or transplanting, and we’d also like to see if we can try and clear beds more completely and on a better schedule if it the beds are narrower. At any rate, we had a late night delivery (9:30 pm!!) at the field from the good guys at New Haven Power Equipment, and then we were finally on our way with the bed prep and transplanting. We have had a couple nights under 32 degrees, but the ground is still so warm from those 2 weeks over 60 degrees, so we have so far staved off any frost fears of crops that are outside. We did have a few days of flood fears, but those, too seem to be over – just a few wet spots, but no major flood issues. Looks like we’re off and running! Some pictures to prove it:

We hand-lay the biomulch in our tilled beds. These are the normal sized-beds, and they all have drip-tape underneath.

We poke holes, toss a little sulfur in there (potatoes like lower pH), then plop the potatoes in the holes. We planted twice as many as last year!

The newly transplanted hoophouse – 1080 lettuce heads!

Two weeks later – we hope they’re ready for the first market on May 10th.

Here I am with the first pass of the BCS. We co-bought it with Abbey Duke at SugarSnap Farm. Our farms are adjacent and we have both been thinking about going to smaller beds. We took some time to drill some bolts on the apron so that it makes the lines to follow for planting.

By the way, the broccoli raab experiment in the hoophouse worked…kind of. The little flea beetles ended up coming out and hossing the leaves after all – but we certainly have harvested a lot for ourselves; which is better than we’ve ever done! So, we have decided to call it a success.

Broccoli raab floret – they usally bolt and the flowers open before we get to them. Not this time!!

Meanwhile – back at the greenhouses, we are plugging right along with transplanting and potting plants up; getting them ready for the field, and for sale to Gardener’s Supply Company and Four Seasons Garden Center. We’re doing quite a few mixed packs for them this year.

You can see some of the mixed packs here – all tagged and almost ready to go. We’ll make our first sale this weekend.

Our swale field flooded a little bit – we took the opportunity to see if Bullet can swim…

He sure can!! What a good dog!

Happy farm dogs – back at work!

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