May 2016


Our son Eric is getting married on Saturday. The wedding is on the farm. What a great reason to get everything looking absolutely gorgeous. We spent Monday transplanting spinach, broccoli, celery and lettuce. We harvested rhubarb, turnips, radishes, scallions, spinach. Then after the work day was done and employees had gone home, eight yards of mulch (for the flower gardens) was delivered. Let the party begin. On Tuesday there was more harvest and washing of vegetables. In addition, the flower gardens around the house got weeded and mulched. We transformed one hoophouse from spring share to tomatoes. The tomatoes have been growing side by side with the greens. Once we finish harvesting the greens we tear the roots out, weed the area clean and change over the irrigation from sprinklers to drip. On Wednesday we finished the harvest, bagged the greens and got the yard looking really pretty. The decorating crew came on Wednesday night to transform the barn into a dance floor. Oh yea, we had to clean out the barn too. Best wishes to Eric and Loretta!   -Barb

The last harvest of salad mix.

The last harvest of salad mix.

Cleaning out the beds we have finished harvesting. Removing the roots of arugula as we make more room for the tomatoes.

Cleaning out the beds we have finished harvesting. Removing the roots of arugula as we make more room for the tomatoes.

Harvesting fennel. One of the last standing crops in the hoophouse.

Harvesting fennel. One of the last standing crops in the hoophouse.

And now onto wedding preparations:

Mulch pile on driveway (or is it a dog bed?)

Mulch pile on driveway (or is it a dog bed?)

Garden mulching crew.

Garden mulching crew.

Eric, the groom, getting it all in shape.

Eric, the groom, getting it all in shape.

Tom doing some fine tuning.

Tom doing some fine tuning.

It’s the season of putting little plants into the ground. We do a lot of it. We transplant absolutely everything we can. In order to be transplanted, a seed is started in the greenhouse and when it is big enough, about four weeks old, it is planted into the fields. We transplant crops that are unlikely candidates to most gardeners and many farmers. We transplant sweet corn, spinach, beets, Swiss chard, popcorn and snap peas. Why you may ask, would you start sweet corn or spinach or peas in the greenhouse when you can put the seeds directly into the ground and let them grow? There are several reasons. One, we want even germination. This is especially true for sweet corn. We want all of the ears of corn to mature at the same time for a uniform harvest. Two, weed control. If we start with a plant in the ground, as opposed to a seed, we have a jump start on the weeds. When planting seeds into the ground the plant and the weeds grow at the same rate. And since we weed everything with a tractor cultivator or by hand, having plants bigger than weeds is a plus. Three, organic, untreated seed. In the world of chemical agriculture seed is treated with a fungicide to prevent it from rotting in the ground. We don’t use such seed. Especially with peas, since we plant them so early in the spring into cold, wet ground, they have a high likelihood of rotting before they emerge. Transplanting takes care of that problem. Four, best use of space. We know we need a certain row feet of a crop for the yield we want. With transplanting we know we will have a plant every so many inches, making it easier to calculate how many bed feet of each crop we will plant. With direct seeding there can be gaps where germination was poor. In addition to harvesting vegetables for your share this week we did a lot of transplanting!

Becca and Abby riding our Ferrari transplanter. They pull the plants out of the cells where they were grown in and drop them into rotating cups. Most of our equipment comes from Europe where the scale of farming is similar to our scale.

Becca and Abby riding our Ferrari transplanter. They pull the plants out of the cells where they were grown in and drop them into rotating cups. Most of our equipment comes from Europe where the scale of farming is similar to our scale.

A close up of kohlrabi after it has dropped throught the tube, landed on the ground, fallen into a furrow made by two disks and had packing wheels tuck it in.

A close up of kohlrabi after it has dropped through the tube, landed on the ground, fallen into a furrow made by two disks and had packing wheels tuck it in.

Planting onions in the spring. Everything is not planted from the back of a machine.

Planting onions in the spring. Everything is not planted from the back of a machine.

Planting leeks using a different transplanter; specific for planting a bare root.

Planting leeks using a different transplanter; specific for planting a bare root.

Transplants in the greenhouse.

Transplants in the greenhouse.

And things are in full swing around here. Here’s a glimpse of our week…..Monday: Harvest salad mix, saute mix, arugula, radishes. Wash them in tubs of icy water. Band the radishes. Cut seed potatoes. Spend hours in the greenhouse planting sweet corn, lettuce, summer squash, winter squash and watermelon. Transplant broccoli, kohlrabi cabbage in the fields. Seed radishes and turnips in the field. Tuesday: Harvest spinach, dandelion greens, ramps, watercress, sorrel. Wash them in tubs of icy water. Bag salad mix. Finish cutting 25,000 pounds of seed potatoes!!!! Transplant fennel and swiss chard in the fields. Wednesday: Wash and band ramps. Bag sauté mix, spinach, sorrel, arugula, watercress. Move lots of plants out of the greenhouse to make room for more. Harvest lettuce heads and tot soi. Wash them. Weed the sauté mix and around the tomatoes in the hoophouse. Power wash over 100 seed trays so we can use them again next week to plant into. Begin to trellis the tomatoes in the hoophouse. Plant potatoes. Now it’s Thursday and we will pack the spring share boxes and deliver them. While two delivery trucks head out, the rest of the crew will stay busy on the farm. I’m sure they will find something to do. We love what we do and it brings us great joy to grow vegetables for you! Thank you.

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Washing and banding radishes in the packing shed.

Washing and banding radishes in the packing shed.

Watercress harvest. We find the watercress just behind our greenhouse growing wild in a spring fed stream.

Watercress harvest. We find the watercress just behind our greenhouse growing wild in a spring fed stream.

A harvester’s view of the watercress while standing on the board. If anyone slips off the board they sink into muck up to their knees.

A harvester’s view of the watercress while standing on the board. If anyone slips off the board they sink into muck up to their knees.

Pounding posts between the tomato plants so we can trellis them. You can see our spring share crops and interplanted with the tomatoes.

Pounding posts between the tomato plants so we can trellis them. You can see our spring share crops and interplanted with the tomatoes.