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.