And just what do we mean by everything?  We start new transplants in the greenhouse every week.  Next week we will be starting 23,800 plants.  That means we put 23,800 seeds into 1”x1”cells.  We have been starting thousands of plants every week since March and will continue to do so into July.

As our little seeds grow into plants, they need to be planted into the fields.  This week we are scheduled to plant 16,900 plants into the fields.  I say scheduled because the wet fields and rain have messed with the plan.  We got 6,700 of the transplants in on Tuesday night between 6 and 8 pm.  A big thank you to the crew who stayed to help!  We couldn’t begin earlier because we were waiting as long as possible for the fields to dry out and two tractors and tractor drivers were busy planting seed potatoes in the ground.  They managed to plant  12,000 pounds of potatoes between 7 am and 6 pm.  Only then could we begin transplanting the fennel and lettuce. We stopped at sunset and will work the other transplants into the schedule as weather permits.  We had one day as a window for planting this wee, not enough time!

We have the help of some efficient machines when it comes to transplanting and planting.  People ride on the transplanters and handle each plant individually, but the machines do the planting work.  This is true for many plants.  But onions, for example were planted one at a time, by hand.  44,500 of them.  I could go on and on about plants, but I think you get the picture.  It consumes many hours of our time.

As plants live in the fields they need to be cared for.  This means different things for different plants.  Some plants need to be covered with a light weight row cover so insects don’t devour them.  All plants need weeding, either mechanically with a cultivator or by hand.  Tomatoes need to be trellised.  Peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, tomatoes get mulched with straw, tons of straw!  Soil needs to be prepared for planting and cover crops get planted where there will not be vegetables growing this season; for fertility, erosion control and soil conditioning.

And then there’s harvest.  Our Spring Share began last week and we need to harvest, wash, bag, pack and deliver all of those yummy greens.

The entire farm is one big 500 piece puzzle this time of year.  There are about 500 things to do and we need to arrange them in the correct order based on weather, time of day, day of the week and number of crew we have on a given day.  A plan can be written on paper but we have to be ready to re-write it multiple times, bearing in mind that it all gets done, maybe just in a different order.

So I guess this time of year can be looked at as one big juggling act with many balls in the air.  If one drops we pick it up and figure out where can best fit back in.

A few pictures from last week’s Spring Share harvest:

Ramp harvest in the woods (Kari and Toni)

Watercress harvest (Chad)

Jesse and Baby Paavo heading out to get some tractor work done

Little did David know when he bought a tractor with a fold down seat (we always called it the “girlfriend seat”) that the youngest Perkins farmer would be getting all of his lessons about tractors while accompanying his dad.

Harvest in the hoophouse

 

A sea of pepper and eggplant transplants in the greenhouse

Cabbage and kohlrabi transplants waiting to be planted into the field

Broccoli transplants in the greenhouse

Barb