Jesse said it well this morning, “We’ve just hit the crazy time of year.  I’m disking one field so it dries out and irrigating another field.”  Yes, it does feel a bit crazy around here.  Our planting schedule said that on April 15 we were supposed to go out into the fields with 40,128 plants (onions, scallions, chives, escarole, lettuce, sorrel) and we were supposed to seed thousands of row feet of spinach, radish, salad mix, carrots and turnips.  But…it was cold, rainy, snowy and the fields were saturated.  So, we hunkered down in our greenhouse and kept planting seeds into flats (a typical flat holds 192 plants).  Soon the greenhouse was bursting at the seams.  These plants needed to go out!  We got creative and used every square inch of space in that 1500 square foot greenhouse of ours.  Finally last Thursday it happened!  The fields (some of them) were dry enough for us to plant into.  We have been planting every day since then.  39,000 onion plants got planted by hand!  We used the help of a machine to plant 2,700 lettuce heads, 4,600 cabbage plants, 6,530 broccoli plants, 13,500 leeks and on and on and on…  Simultaneously, Jesse and David have been tilling fields and spreading compost.  And the craziest thing, we have been irrigating!  The warm winds and sun over the past few days have dried off the top of the soil, and that’s where the moisture is needed for the new seeds to germinate and plants to establish their roots.  We have irrigated all of the new seeding and the lettuce plants.  Yesterday and today we harvested, washed and bagged vegetables for the first Spring Share!! The spring share vegetables have been growing happily in two hoophouses (large greenhouses where we plant directly into the ground).  They also got planted about 2 weeks late because the outside temperatures were so cold the plants would have frozen, even inside their plastic house.  We do have a supplemental heat source, but it is not intended to heat these huge spaces for 2 weeks.  We rely on the heat of the sun to warm these plastic structures, but when the sun doesn’t shine for days on end, the hoophouses don’t get warm.  Ah, Wisconsin.  I am not complaining in the least, I rather expect each season to be different and extremes are not unusual.  I thought I would just share with you a snapshot of our weather dependent life style.  Enjoy your freshly harvested greens!  (and if you read this and don’t get a Spring Share and wish you did, contact us and you can get in on the next 3 weeks).

Transplanting scallions.  Three people put plants into the rotating black cups, the plants drop down a chute, get gently pressed into the ground by disks and then get watered.

Transplanting scallions. Three people put plants into the rotating black cups, the plants drop down a chute, get gently pressed into the ground by disks and then get watered.

The irrigation boom just finished watering carrot seeds, escarole and fennel plants. The white row cover (on the left) is pinned on top of the carrot seeds to help keep them moist until they germinate.  Then it gets rolled off and re-used, likely to keep insects off another crop.

The irrigation boom just finished watering carrot seeds, escarole and fennel plants. The white row cover (on the left) is pinned on top of the carrot seeds to help keep them moist until they germinate. Then it gets rolled off and re-used, likely to keep insects off another crop.

Caring for the hoophouse: weeding

Caring for the hoophouse: weeding

Harvesting spinach, one leaf at a time

Harvesting spinach, one leaf at a time

Barb