One of the most exciting harbingers of spring for us farmers is getting the first little plants out into the fields. After a chilly winter of brown and white vistas across the farm, we know the season is really starting when we can get our hands in the soil again.
Yesterday was the perfect day to do some planting and we felt especially lucky after those cold and super windy days earlier in the week. The sun was shining and the winds were calm - the world was in sync with our schedule!
Since we contract out our transplant growing to a local greenhouse operation, we were eagerly awaiting the arrival of all the baby plants for the whole week. The first half came on Wednesday and we admired their shiny, fresh leaves. This first planting of the year is full of greens of all kinds. From kale and collards to chard and lettuce to cabbage and broccoli - we sure are ready for greens!
Earlier in the week Farmer Mike was busy out on the tractor readying the fields for planting. He applies compost to give the plants a boost of nutrients and then uses a special implement to shape the beds into neat rows. Irrigation lines are laid underneath the soil to be hooked up later.
Thursday morning we start by pulling out all the trays we hope to plant for the day. Our first round includes kale, cabbage, 2 kinds of collards, and 2 kinds of broccoli. Since the weekend temperature lows are looking quite cold, we're going to hold off on the rest of the planting until next week. The four kinds we did plant have the best chance of survival since they are reliably hardy greens.
We add a fish-based, nutrient-dense fertilizer to the water that we prep the planting holes with. After the tractor goes through and puts little holes at the correct spacing down the bed, we follow along and gently pop the plants into the soil. It's a great team bonding task!
Once the field is full of new plants we put up small metal hoops and big pieces of fabric row cover to insulate them against the cold. This layer of cover will also help to jumpstart their growth even when it gets warmer, hopefully granting us an earlier harvest. Just tucking in our little farm babies!
From now on we'll be planting pretty regularly through the season, usually twice a month to keep a good supply of vegetables for all of you! Seeing all this plant potential is so inspiring and invigorating for us, and we hope for you as well! Keep your eyes on our blog and social media for more updates as we keep preparing for the CSA season. Thanks for following along!