This has been one interesting spring, to say the least.  As farmers, we expect to roll with the weather, and roll we do.  We intently listen to forecasts and watch radar.  I don’t have to tell any of you that this has been a particularly cool, if not cold, spring.   As I sit here and look out of my window towards the tree covered hills of the Town of Vermont, I can’t even see that faint spring green, it’s all still grey.   We start most of our vegetable plants in our greenhouse and then when they are about a week from being transplanted into the fields we move them into  the ‘harden-off area’, an unheated space where they can feel the wind, direct sun and cooler temperatures.  We have a retractable plastic roof so we can expose them to the elements and cover them in the evening or if the weather is harsh.

Harden-off area all closed up

Peas on trailer waiting to be transplanted

The greenhouse and harden-off area have both been bursting with fullness as plants have had to wait to get transplanted into the field.  We continue to start new plants in the greenhouse, on schedule, but can’t move plants into the field on schedule.  We have way more in there than planned and have become very creative with space.  We patiently wait until we can get the plants out to the fields.  Even if the weather is nice, the ground has to be dry enough for us to drive our tractors and till and transplant.  Last Monday was a window of opportunity.  About 2:00 pm the ground was dry enough (it hadn’t been dry enough in the morning).  We headed out to the fields with 2300 lettuce transplants, 3450 escarole transplants, 6530 broccoli transplants, 3450 scallion transplants and 6335 pearl onion transplants!  David was in one tractor tilling the beds; Jesse was driving another tractor, pulling the mechanical transplanter.  Chris, Deb and Eric sat on the mechanical transplanter putting transplant after transplant into rotating cups that dropped them into the ground.

Deb, Eric and Chris transplanting escarole on mechanical transplanter

Newly transplanted scallions and lettuce

At 5:30 Jonnah and I joined the crew and walked through the planted beds, tucking in any plants that had the misfortune of laying on their side or were otherwise buried.  The momentum was intense, perhaps urgent.  We worked until 7:45, got every last transplant in the ground. It started raining 15 minutes later.  We did it.  Repeat…that was one week ago.  We have the same situation in the greenhouse and hoophouse again, they are both overflowing with plants waiting to get into the fields.  We see tomorrow as another window.

Written by Barb