Sunday, March 15, 2009

In the Field: Shaping beds and planting spring roots

This week amidst the usual scramble to get everything packed for market and keep the farm stand running smoothly, a bit of time was set aside for the second attempt at early spring seeding in the field. The first attempt was about a month ago and was unfortunately taken out by an unknown pest (perhaps slugs, perhaps earwigs, any ideas?).

This second time around the seeding focus was primarily on roots including beets and carrots to serve the earliest needs for the CSA and farm stand this spring and the never-ending demand for carrots in the city year-round.

Wayne even invested a few extra minutes of time into helping me to understand tractor operation-mechanics are still a bit mysterious to a grower like myself who might rather run around with hand tools all the time. It is proven and obvious that mechanics are necessary on a certain scale of agriculture to keep the operation sustainable. I believe there is a rational balance between doing things by hand and mechanically. Wayne proceeded to shape the recently tilled beds with precision in order to prepare them for the tiny seeds. A smooth and stable bed allows for consistent seeding and germination conditions and later cultivation and harvest convenience.

Next we attached the seeder to the tractor, seeding 3 rows at once with efficiency and consistency. As the seeds are sown, Lee and I follow along to ensure seeds do not run out, weeds to do catch in the furrows, parts do not fail on the seeder, to make decisions about what goes where, and to keep detailed records of the activities. From this point on the seeds are left to be watered and watched and hopefully not eaten by nasty little pests this time around.

Planting will continue on the farm from this point on as broccoli, cabbages and lettuces are nearly ready to be transplanted into the fields and leafy greens are planned to be sown in the coming days-weather dependent as always. It only gets busier as a new growing season is upon us....stay tuned for more planting news.

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