May 20,2013 - Red Solo Cup, I fill you up, proceed to...plant tomatoes!
We've been super busy getting things potted up and transplanted into the field. The greenhouse is just about all tomatoes and peppers, with a few other odds and ends. All the others are soaking up a light rain in the field.
Our tomatoes started in flats, went up to 2 inch cell trays, and are now in pots (and some in solo cups when we ran out of containers!) It's a lot of work handling the tomatoes so many times, but it really helps them build a tight strong root system. It will give them a big advantage going into the field.
I have had a lot of help in the greenhouse, which is keeping me sane. Thanks to Mike, Mom, Kristina, Chelsea, and Ryan. Couldn't have got them all done without you guys.
We plan to transplant all the tomatoes and peppers by the end of May. Also going in shortly after: eggplant, melons, and winter squash!
We won't see a harvest on those guys for another few months, but right now we have lots of food just about ready to harvest. Lots of lettuce, kale, vitamin greens, mustard greens, tat soi, chard, and very soon summer squash!
To get the summer squash as early as possible, we use row cover and drip irrigation. Here's how we did it:
First we got an area (about 20' by 50') loosened up with the rototiller. We made 4 beds with the tiller; it makes a nice trench down the middle of each bed. We sprinkled in some Pro Gro organic fertilizer, and filled the rest in with compost.
Then we took our squash (and cucumber) seedlings and plant them one row in each bed. They get transplanted right into the compost, which is finished and won't burn the roots. When they grow through the compost they get the extra boost of organic fertilizer.
Then we laid out the drip tape. Each 50' drip tape connects into 3/4" tubing which is hooked up to the faucet at the well. We have a timer on the faucet that turns the water on for an hour early in the morning. The plants then have plenty of water to use to grow during the warm days!
We put wire hoops over the rows, and lay out the row cover. We use rocks to hold down the cover. Easier to install than shoveling dirt over the edges, and more secure than ground staples. We do have to remove them after, but they're only 50' rows, so its very manageable. The row cover acts like a little greenhouse. It lets in moisture and air, but softens the wind and keeps it a little warmer than outside. The plants are virtually stress free, and flourish. We'll take the row cover off when the plants begin to flower, so the bees can pollinate them.
We'll make sure to post a picture when we take the cover off.
We are just about ready to harvest and get to Goddard Park so you can enjoy our produce! It's a hectic month as I'm moving across town at the end of May; we'll be at the market right around the same time. We'll post a blog a few days before we'll be there.
Here's a few pics from the field.
Bok choy looking good
I've already been harvesting kale for a few weeks! The chard in the back is almost ready, too!
Thanks for reading, and look forward to seeing everyone soon!
Mar 8, 2013 - Something old, something new
Welcome back! Thanks for reading the blog!
The snow is still falling, but we're busy gearing up for another bountiful season. I think we really excelled at some things last year, and could have done some things more efficiently. Our pepper crop, for instance, was really great in 2012. For 2013, we'll grow our peppers just like we did last year. On the tomatoes, we'll be spacing them 24" apart instead of 18", and will be diligent about pruning, in an effort to combat blight. Healthy plants are much more resistant to disease; we want to have tomatoes into the fall.
Because we don't have a ton of space, we really want to focus on getting maximum yields from every plant. Some new things we're doing this year include
- Installing over 1000' of drip irrigation. Well watered plants produce more than thirsty ones
- Using fabric row covers, for early starts on some vegetables, and pest resistance
- Potting up transplants multiple times, for bigger, healthier transplants.
- Being more diligent about succession planting, so we can have lettuces, beans, etc all summer
I am a big champion of working hard, and doing things well. To be successful, you have to have a work ethic, and you have to do the right things. If you're passionate about something then this comes easy. That's why our farm will continue to grow more and more food every year.
The bottom line is that we're in business to get healthy chemical free food to as many people as we can. We're looking forward to a rewarding season!
A farmer's canvas. These pepper seeds are sowed in trays, and will be potted up to 2" cells, and potted up again to 4" pots for bigger transplants and earlier yields.
Happy almost Spring!
Read older posts from the 2012 Blog