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transplanting

Posted 6/1/2012 11:04am by Dave.

 

We’ve had a wet May here on the farm, with plenty of thunderstorms keeping our fields soggy.  May is perhaps not the worst month for rain here – March and April are probably worse – but an excess of rain during our transplanting season is never an easy thing to work with.  We can’t rototill, we can’t drive the tractor, and the weeds grow like crazy – but at least some crops are already in the ground and can enjoy the rain on their own.  Then if we get even a few dry hot days back-to-back, the ground dries out and our hopes go up…and the race begins!  The farm crew was working late into the evening on Thursday, planting and planting and planting, and Friday morning we started on it again.  Meteorologists called for showers most of the day today but it held off until two in the afternoon and we got a lot planted, at the expense, perhaps, of a shorter-than-usual Farm Note.  Yesterday we might have caught up but we picked strawberries for almost the whole day instead, squeezing in harvests of kale, peas, and asparagus between 4 and 5:30.  We haven’t had a crew member to spare lately, and the tasks keep piling up – trellising, harvesting, and whenver the fields dry out transplanting.  The newly-planted rows, and the berries, look beautiful though! - Dave

 

Produce and Cooking Notes

 

Lettuce –Two heads of our lettuce for everyone this week – lots of Magenta (reddish-green), plus some Simpson (lime-green) and Rouge D’Hiver (red romaine)..  One of our favorite and most reliable crops here at the farm, we aim to have lettuce for you every week through the year (but sometimes fail in hot summers).

 

Kale – A bunch of kale for everyone, perfect for a quick side dish or anything else that needs cooking greens.  The kale has some flea beetle damage but should be very tasty nonetheless…just reminding us why we tend not to grow kale too late into the summer.

 

Asparagus OR Cucumbers – Asparagus has dropped off sharply this week, between the cooler weather and a little too violent of a weed control effort last week.  As a result there’s not much – enough for full shares to either take a small portion or a couple of our first summer cucumbers.

 

Beets – Full shareholders are getting a bunch of beets – the last “winter” crop to come out of our greenhouse.  Remember that the greens can be used very much like chard.

 

Garlic Scapes – Garlic scapes are the flowering stalk of the garlic plant, pulled out so that the plant puts all of its energy into sizing up the bulb.  They can be used like a scallion, or, with a bit of olive oil, make a delicious pesto ground up in a food processor.

 

Strawberries – The strawberry harvest is picking up, so here’s some more ripe red berries for your snacking. 

 

Peas – Our tunnel is starting to yield lots of delicious sugar snap peas – I can barely resist eating them raw, but they’re also delicious lightly stir-fried.


Snap Peas with Scapes and Dill

Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

(Deborah Madison writes that this is an easy dish to vary – try other herbs, or use asparagus tips to make it into a spring vegetable sauté – Dave

  •     ½ pound sugar snap peas
  •     3 or 4 chopped garlic scapes
  •     1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  •     2 tablespoons chopped dill or another favored herb
  •     Salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Put the peas in a skillet with the scapes, a few pinches salt, the butter, and enough water to just cover the bottom.  Cook until bright green and tender, after a minute or two – taste one to be sure.  If using olive oil, add a little to the pan now.  Taste for salt, season with a little pepper, and add the dill.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Greens with Peanut Sauce

- from Simply in Season

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • ½ tsp. ground coriander
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 bunch collards, chopped
  • ½ c. water
  • 2-3 tbsp. chunky peanut butter
  • 1-2 tsp. hot water

 

In large soup pot, sauté onion and garlic with olive oil. Add tomato and simmer 2-4 minutes. Add spices and stir 2 min. Add greens and water and steam until greens are tender, but not mushy. Avoid overcooking. Stir occasionally to coat greens with spices. Combine peanut butter and hot water and add to greens at the end of cooking time. Serve over brown rice.

Posted 6/6/2011 9:24pm by Brosi Bradley.

Not sure what a June bug is exactly or what makes it so busy, but that is how it feels at the farm.  It is a satisfying level of busy along with a thankfulness that it stopped raining long enough to get transplanting.

The farms transformation seems as sudden and rapid as the trees getting leaves this spring.  I know its going to happen but still shocks me everytime with how rapid the spring melts into summer.  The early taste of August weather around Memorial Day has been a boon for drying out fields, but a stress for keeping those plants already in the ground happy.  We have  an irrigation system, but the man hours required to get it set up are currently primarily devoted to the 3 person beast known as the transplantor.  We've all spent many a fine hour in the comfy seats.  

You start by squeezing little plants out of their plastic trays, hoping the roots hang together, planting them into the opening left by the metal water wheel along with a nice puddle of water that will tide it over until rains or irrigation.  Adam has spent enough hours in the drivers seat during the end of last week that he should have been able to reach California, unfortunately due to only reaching max speeds of around 0.4 mph, he instead only would have barely made it out of town.  Instead of the miles of black tarmac stretched ahead he sees raised black plastic beds or freshly prepared soil.  While the speeds are slower and noticeably less exciting than Nascar, it requires the same level of professional driving to keep the wheel centered on the plastic bed, while avoiding the drip tapes hidden below.

Today the strawberry plants Roy ordered finally made it out from the cooler and into raised beds courtesy of Dan, Deb, and Adam.  Last week it was a mix of transplanting from corn and soybeans (yes most other farmers find this insane but it gives us a good stand establishment and a jump of those weeds), cantaloupe, sweet potato slips, cucumbers, zuchinni, eggplant, and winter squash.  Most of these seedlings seemed to have a peculiar propensity to grow rather tall and leggy, which is not desireable in a transplant as you'd prefer short and sturdy stem rather than one more liable to snap.  I'm not positive what's been causing this, most likely leaving them inside the protected greenhouse for longer than I should.  However, I prefer to think its like the way pets begin to resemble their owners or vis-versa, hence plants seeing my height as a guide.

As we have more and more plants in the ground more time is devoted to taking care of those plants, weeding, watering, harvesting, putting on row covers, taking off row covers, and so forth.  Its definitely been a slow start to the spring, but things definitely seem to be taking off for the most part with these last couple of sunnier weeks.

Hope everyone has had a chance to get out and enjoy this beautfiul spring weather.

Posted 5/12/2011 8:14pm by Brosi.

I'm sure if we end up in a drought, I'll be complaining about the sunny days, but for now we are all just so grateful the soil eventually has become dry enough to prepare and seed and transplant into.  So we've been rather busy this week, but in a very good way.  Rather than blogging about rainy days, we've been more apt to be found sitting behind a tractor going at a speed somewhere between snail and turtle, leaving a trail of green behind us.  Although we have transplanted some things by hand (first tomato planting, spinach, some chard etc,) we were finally able to use the new transplanter Roy aquired over the winter.  While it took a bit of adjusting, it was able to seat 4 people which made the onion tranplanting twice as nice. As has the wonderful timing for Deb to join full time and jump right in at full speed. Before we can transplant though, it takes a lot of work to transform the fields into either smooth seeding beds  or raised plastic beds for those that need the extra warmth or weed control.  Staying late on Saturday, after the crew worked on field prep, Adam and Dan made enough beds for us to plant to our hearts content Monday and Tuesday with plenty of vacancies for all those trays of onions, peppers, eggplants, zucchini, and cucumbers.  Another wave of seedlings will be ready to go out shortly but it feels good to be moving them out to the field not just rearranging trays.

Onion Transplanting 

more onion transplanting with the tractor

Transplanting onions (Adam driving, Dan, Brosi, Deb and Fabian transplanting in the back)

 

 

 Below is a photo from a few rainy weeks back of Dan and Dave transplanting early potatoes by hand as tractor transplanting was ruled out by the wet ground.  It is a bit easier to have the tractor carry your plants, dig your holes, add water, and give you a ride versus planting by hand. However, the potato plants now poking out and growing well makes the early extra effort seem worth it.  

 

Dan making holes with the kentifer for early potatoesDave transplanting early potatoes by hand

 

The first planting of tomatoes (those early jungle ones) were also transplanted by hand up on the hill above the road.   The plastic beds, which were made late last fall, provided the earliest chance to get things in the field. 

 

Dan and Dave back to business transplanting roma tomatoes by hand

Transplanting tomatoes by hand up on the hill

 

 The forecast doesn't call for sunshine forever and there is more to finish up before the next rain.  However, I am so grateful that instead of walking by the greenhouse and feeling guilty at the sight of onions imprisioned in their tiny trays, I can walk to the field and look at the new rows of tidy greens, with plenty of space to grow finally.  The same holds true for the corn, beans, peppers, eggplants, sprouting potatoes, zucchini monsters, and tomatillos.  A few giant tomato plants waiting to go out here and there is something I can handle.  Although most things won't be producing for quite some time, it is a wonderful feeling as we start the first summer distribution this week to know such progress is being made!