This Week on the Farm 5/23
With all of the sunshine I haven’t had time to sit down at the computer and update our blog. Tyler and I are both excited that the sun has finally started to shine consistently and the weather has warmed up a little bit. Last week we had a couple of really cold nights. It took an hour or more each night to get all of the greenhouses and the high tunnel ready for the night.
We used row covers over the strawberries to keep the heat closer to the ground. Since our strawberries were in bloom and we wanted to protect the flowers from frost damage, we stayed at the farm and got up every couple of hours to check the temperatures. As soon as it dropped down to 34° or 35° we turned the sprinklers on. The row covers only help protect against frost for a degree or two, and if the temperature drops below freezing by a lot or for a long time that protection isn’t enough. The sprinklers keep the plants warm because as the water droplets freeze they actually release heat that keeps the plant tissue warmer than the outside air.
All of our efforts paid off and our berries are looking fantastic. The king berry is already setting fruit and the secondary flowers are almost done blooming. The buds for the tertiary buds are almost ready to flower.
We did have one rainy and cold day last week. We used the time to run errands and pick up irrigation equipment for the new field. Our pump from last year had a tendency to over heat and shut itself off. Tyler thought that maybe the pump wasn’t able to draw enough water at one time because the manifold was too small. We increased the number of hoses coming off of the pump from two to four and now the pump is working perfectly. It can empty our 1500 gallon tank in a little less than an hour if we let it.
Thanks to a large group of helpers this Saturday we were able to catch up on almost all of the transplanting and direct seeding we needed to have done by now. With all of the cold and wet weather we fell behind on our planting schedule, but with an extra seven sets of hands we were able to get a lot done in one morning. One crew worked on transplanting red onions (all of our onions are now in the ground!), one crew worked on direct seeding, and one crew used our two row planter and planted a lot of our cabbage family crops. In one morning we were able to plant over 70 rows of vegetables. To give you an idea of how many plants we planted, a row averages 140 feet and plants are spaced an average of a foot apart. That means on average there are 140 plants to a row, or 9,800 plants. Direct seeded crops are planted even closer together, so 9,800 is a low estimate! We planted over 1,400 red onions alone on Saturday morning! Talk about a productive morning!
In other news, the cover crop we planted last year in our “roads” next to all of our fields is holding up really well. The rye and the red clover are blooming and make a really nice contrast to the brown of the freshly tilled earth.
Finally, our new seeder from Johnny’s Selected Seeds is awesome! We have used it to plant carrots and lettuce. The rows are so evenly spaced compared to hand seeding or our earthway seeder! I love it!