Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Low tunnels help our early planting weather their first frost.

It has been an interesting spring.  The first spell of unseasonally warm weather pushed our baby lettuces and greens on a little faster than we had planned.  I guess that we will have adolescent lettuces and greens instead of “baby” this first harvest.  We were beginning to wonder if we would need to set up our low tunnels at all this spring.  Well, a check of the weather forecast yesterday brought us back to reality and we (Ken, Patsy, Norma and Jason) worked late into the evening to get everything covered.  We had a pretty good frost this morning, but everything looks good under the covers.  We will keep the covers on for a couple days and nights until some pretty warm weather blows in from the south.


First caption:  Low tunnels over early tomatoes.


Second caption:  Patsy and Jason setting up low tunnels in the high tunnel over the even earlier tomatoes, squash, etc. 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Looks like mixed lettuce mix, salad/cooking greens, spinach, arugula, radishes, asparagus for CSA next week. Potatoes are up.

Lets take a look at progress on crops.  Lettuce mix, salad/cooking greens, spinach, arugula, radishes and asparagus ready for next week’s CSA.  Coming soon: baby summer squash, squash blossoms, snow peas, sugar snap peas, Swiss chard, broccoli raab, baby beets, green onions, kohlrabi and strawberries.  Coming along: tomatoes (flower buds ready to open), diakon radishes, Chinese cabbage, cucumbers and carrots.  Planted in the field or high tunnels but down the road aways: green beans (at our neighbor’s), peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes (they are up) and sweet corn (not up yet).  Up in transplant trays: watermelons, cantaloupes, okra, cilantro, and basil. Not planted yet: eggplant, pumpkins and winter squash.


On the communication front:  we are now using, where we send an email with photo attachments and the title is the heading for the blog and the text is the body of the blog with the attached photos.  Also the title of the email becomes the twitter text.  Last week the tweet did not come through, we will try it again this week.


Caption first photo:  Things are moving along pretty rapidly in the high tunnel.  Spring greens, peas and root crops on the right.  Tomatoes, peppers, Chinese cabbage, in the middle. Summer squash and cucumbers on the left.


Caption second photo:  The first seeding of cantaloupes and watermelons, part of 25,000 transplants produced in a season.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Plants getting ready to take-off in exponential growth! Two new plots started: kitchen garden and raised beds for low tunnels.

The photos we will show here are already six days old. We will have another blog with photos in a couple days, so you can see a bit of how rapidly things are growing now. At the time the photos were taken, nagging questions, like: Will we have produce ready for the first CSA delivery? or Will some things be ready to be harvested before the first delivery?, flitted at the back of our minds. This unusually warm weather has forced us to change some of our plans.  We were worried that it was getting too warm in the high tunnel for some of the cool season crops. We started some of these cool season crops in our 18’x18’ kitchen garden which we considered not planting this year because we had access to extra CSA produce.  We planted snow peas, sugar snaps, spinach, swiss chard, radishes, mixed greens, salad mix and transplanted some leaf lettuces.  In one of our photos below you will see another change.  We have both green and black plastic mulch.  The green mulch warms the soil up more than the black.  We were going to use all green mulch between the greenhouse and high tunnel, but decided to go with one-half black because we were afraid that with the warm temperatures we were experiencing the soil might get too warm for optimal growth. We have been harvesting asparagus for several days, but we should still have it in our CSA offerings for a couple weeks.  Also we have planted the first sweet corn, the day after these photos were taken. 

Caption first photo:  Patsy, Norma and Danielle transplanting.  Danielle is a regular fixture around here, but she was here when the photos were taken for the website.

Caption second photo:  Green and black plastic mulched, raised beds for our low tunnel plantings.  The only thing is we are not sure that we will need the low tunnels with the early spring.

Monday, April 12, 2010

First potatoes are planted, all high tunnel tomatoes are transplanted, coming soon, sweet corn, cukes, squash, peppers.

We put together a two row, seed potato planter using an old plastic mulch layer and cultivator parts. It worked pretty well and we will probably put out 1 or 2 more plantings over the next month. We also transplanted all the tomato plants that we will grow in our high tunnel. We will transplant cucumbers, summer squash, peppers and few other crops in the high tunnel before we have it all planted, probably sometime this week. We are also planning to plant the first sweet corn this week. Also hope to get the beds ready for the low tunnel tomatoes, which will hopefully go out next week. We have been playing around with different ways to enter the blog and twitter information, so there may be some formatting differences. Enjoy the weather.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Potato seed pieces are ready for planting in the field and tomato transplants are ready for planting in the ground of the high tunnel.

This unusually warm weather is making it very tempting to jump the gun and start planting seeds/plants that would be killed or damaged by the hard frosts we are nearly certain to have yet this spring. Our friends at the local orchard said that the apple buds are two weeks ahead of schedule and they are concerned about the potential for frost damage. We are also wondering about this years strawberry crop which can be damaged if strawberry flowers experience a hard frost. We are planning to push our plantings a bit, for example, in mid-April if soil temperatures are high enough and we have a week of frost free weather in the forecast, we may plant sweet corn two weeks early. We are planning to put out our first planting of tomatoes two weeks early, but we have the back up protection of low tunnels this year. All the crops, we planted in the high tunnel are up and looking good!