We waited and waited for this phenomena called spring. We remembered it from seasons past so knew it would eventually come. The first week of March is our traditional greenhouse start up week, so we were anxious to get in there to do what we do in the spring, plant seeds. The greenhouse is very warm during the day when the sun is shining (70’s and 80’s even in March) and at night it gets as cold as the outside temperature; which during the first week of March was below zero. Once we start our plants we need to keep the greenhouse warm. This year, with propane prices at an all-time record high and temperatures at an all-time record low, we patiently waited a whole week longer than usual. We knew it would eventually warm up. Now, just five weeks after putting our first seeds into flats, the greenhouse is nearly filled up with transplants that will soon be planted into the fields.
The Spring Share is happily growing in its own special environment. We grow all of the tender Spring Share greens in unheated greenhouses (which we call hoophouses) where we plant directly into the ground long before we could plant them outside. Of course this means you can get early season greens soon! (hint: sign up for a Spring Share!) It’s been a long winter without fresh greens; beets, carrots, cabbage and celeriac are getting a bit tiring. The hoophouses are exciting places; the world where things are green. Promising places to walk into. We began planting in mid-March. Those houses got cold at night but it’s amazing how hearty the tender greens are. The coldest morning in the hoophouse was 19 degrees. When I walked in shortly before sunrise that morning everything was frozen solid; the plants, the ground, the newly emerging radishes and arugula. But within a few hours all was thawed and looking as if life was good. I’m thankful for my years of experience with cold mornings and little plants. I no longer panic when I see young tender greens encapsulated by ice. (warning-don’t let this happen with tomatoes).
Out in the fields David and Jesse are tilling the soil and planting cover crops: oats, alfalfa and vetch. The oats and vetch are providing fertility for fall plantings. They will be tilled under in July or August and followed by vegetables scheduled to be harvested in September and October. The alfalfa will be mowed and baled and used as mulch. Chives, sorrel and rhubarb are up and growing. The Sandhill cranes are making their presence known with their loud calls. We’re busy and happy and glad to be working outside.