Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What’s New at the Farm? Wet Fields Slow Crew's Progress

It’s not new; it’s wet! Many of the fields have standing water and it’s the middle of May; not a good thing. Luckily we got a lot of field prep done early this spring. In fact, we got on some of the fields we can only drive by now. We did some field work Monday this week, but with Tuesday's rain we’ve been stopped again. At least we can transplant in the rain; this was Tuesday this week:

Muddy conditions slow work.

The most challenging part of farming is scheduling everything in. Planting in the greenhouses is all fine and dandy until they start to overflow - then where do we put everything? Anyone who has a greenhouse knows this time of year that space is at a premium and there’s never enough. Of course, once the plants go out into the field there’s some empty space there. Another challenge is what to do with the greenhouses after the big spring push is over?

This is a shot from last week. This greenhouse is full to the brim now:

Plenty of seedlings ready to go.

We grow seedlings most of the season, first for the bulk of the spring planting, to summer crops to fall crops and finally to crops we’ll grow all winter. In the summer we grow tomatoes in some of the greenhouses along with special projects like ornamental containers and fun projects; things we can experiment with and don't take up any space in our busy season.

So back to scheduling – let’s take this week in particular. Last week we received an ample supply of rain, making the fields nearly impossible to work. Friday was cool and cloudy – not a good drying day but at least we didn’t get any more rain. Saturday and Sunday were good drying days – Saturday in particular. Come Monday we made some beds and direct seeded some crops because we knew rain was scheduled for Tuesday. Spring carrots, radishes, and annual flowers got direct seeded yesterday:

Spring Chinese cabbages are under the row covers for protection from flea beetles. Stakes have numbers on them which correspond to a numbered system for keeping track of which variety is which.
Chinese Cabbage is in.
Keeping all 14 people we have on the crew busy this year is challenging when we can’t get out into the fields. Normally we’d be making beds and laying plastic all over the place right now.  With 11 different fields we rent or own we’re going all over the place at any given time. Until it clears off we’ll be cleaning and painting and organizing things so when we want to go we’ll be ready. We’re ready all right; right now would be good.
That’s it for now. The weather looks good after today. Next week’s column should see lots of field prep pics. 

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