Thursday, May 17, 2012

Planting Seedlings

Purple cabbage seedling
For the past couple of weeks, we have been planting seedlings, which were started in the greenhouse. Some crops will only be planted from seedlings. For other crops, we will plant both seedlings and seeds to extend the time when they are available. The first weeks will come from plants grown from seedlings, and the following weeks will come from the plants grown from seed.

Paul and Debbie planting on the water wheel planter
If you've ever planted seedlings or small plants at home, you know that getting on your hands and knees, digging a hole and putting in the plant takes time (and is hard on your back). With more than 2,000 seedings to plant, we needed a more efficient process. That's why we invested in a used water wheel planter, which has been a godsend for planting seedlings. The water wheel, which you can see between Paul and Debbie, makes a hole and fills it with water, and then Paul and Debbie insert a plant. As the water is absorbed by the soil, it pulls the plant into the hole.

Yep, that's muddy.

Debbie says that the process is murder on a manicure, but all the leaning and twisting is giving her obliques a great workout. Maybe we could do a "get rid of your love handles" exercise class and have people help plant seedlings on the water wheel planter!

Hoeing the rows
Once the seedlings are in the ground, Paul and Debbie go down the rows with a hoe to make sure the roots are fully covered with soil.

We have planted broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Swiss chard and other plants in this manner -- more than 2,000 seedlings in all. They are coming along, but the cool weather has resulted in them growing more slowly than we had hoped. Our best estimate is that our first pick-up day will be in mid-June, but that will depend on the weather. The plants need warm weather to grow!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Planting Potatoes

Red seed potatoes.
You may be surprised to see what a potato seed looks like. It looks like a potato, because it is one! That's a couple of red seed potatoes above.

Lorie, one of our cutting machines.
To prepare the potatoes for planting, we needed to cut the red potatoes into two to three smaller pieces. Each piece needed an eye, which is like a raised spot. In larger farms, there's a machine that does the cutting, but we're small so our cutting machines were Lorie and Tracy! (That's Lorie, left.)

Last week, we got all of our potatoes in the ground. We planted three varieties. The red potatoes are shown above. We also planted Lehighs, which are a yellow color and are especially good for boiling, like salt potatoes,. We also planted Adirondack Blues, which are bright blue all the way through the potato. If you have a mandoline, you'll be able to cut them thin to make blue potato chips! Or put all of the varieties together to make a beautiful red, white and blue potato salad!
Red potatoes, ready for planting.

This is just the red potatoes, drying overnight before planting. All in all, the potatoes took up four rows, each row about 750 feet long. That's a lot of potatoes! We planted plenty because everyone seems to love potatoes and they are especially delicious fresh from the ground