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This Week on the Farm 4/22
Like a lot of you out there, I just want some sunshine to brighten up these dreary April days. It feels like we have had one sunny day in the last week, and that is not helping to dry out the soil. We are probably two to three weeks behind where we want to be, mostly because we can’t get into the fields. The wet cold weather is preventing us from tilling the fields. Tilling is the first step in being able to plant our onions, potatoes, lettuce, setting the bulk tank in our new field, and putting up an electric fence in the new field to keep the deer and raccoons out.
Some good news is that our first planting of celery looks fantastic. We transplanted about 200 plants into four inch pots yesterday. The upscaling in pot size did mean that we have no more room in the greenhouse or in either of the hoophouses. We need to get out in the field to plant the onions, scallions, and leeks. If we are finally able to do that it will open up half of a hoophouse for new plants.
We have spent a lot of the past week working on equipment. Yesterday I reinforced our push tiller that Tyler made out of scrap wood last year. The handle was wobbly, so I added a chunk of 2×4 where the frame meets the handle to try to give it more support. I had to cut a lot of weird angles to get it to fit, but after about an hour of cutting, drilling, and chiseling I finally got it to fit. Then I added two sections of conduit to act as braces. I got my upper body work out pounding the ends flat with a mallet and the anvil. I had to get Tyler’s help figuring out how to get the correct angle to be able to bolt the conduit to the frame. It looks awkward, but now it is a lot more sturdy and should be easier to use.
Yesterday we were able to finally put the cover on the high tunnel. With help from Dave Carlson we put the poly on and laced it to the hoops in a couple of hours. It looks a little like the rabbit hole from Alice in Wonderland, except white and horizontal. The ends of the plastic are threaded through two t-posts and then wrapped around and through once more to keep the ends secure. It looks a little like how a bread bag is closed.
Now that the poly is on we are hoping that the ground will dry out more quickly than everywhere else and we can rototill inside. Once the ground is worked up we can install our drip-irrigation system and plant our leaf and romaine lettuce.
You may be wondering how we get into the tunnel since there is no door. The sides push up and are held in place by the friction between the hoops, the plastic, and the cording that covers the tunnel like a giant shoelace.
In other news, the garlic we planted late last fall is looking really good. The Chickity Doo Doo that I applied a couple of weeks ago has helped keep the leaves a very healthy green. We are not planning on putting any garlic in boxes this year, instead we are going to harvest all of it to use as seed for the 2012 growing season. Since garlic seed bulbs are very expensive, especially when they are organic, we are going build up our supply of seed. So far we have two varieties, and we are hoping to buy a few more varieties this fall to add to our selection.
Tyler and his dad are out in the rain this morning trying to move the front wheels of one of the tractors. We already widened the back tires, and now we have to move the front tires in line with the back ones. This will allow us to cultivate between rows with the tractor instead of having to do everything with the rototiller. It is turning into a larger project than we thought it would all because of a few stubborn bolts that don’t want to move. Hopefully a little WD-40 and some more elbow grease will get the job done.
I am crossing my fingers for sunshine this weekend!