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Checking on the garlic

First look at garlic in spring

Today was the first walk around of the field of the year! The ground is still mostly frozen, but some spots have melted into a thick clayey muck that’ll take a while to dry out. So, you stick to the hard spots. Here, the fall-planted garlic beds are showing up. The row markers are there to prevent tilling accidents. The straw mulch is supposed to protect the cloves from heaving up during any quick freezing and thawing, by evening out the soil temperature (I doubt that would happen in this soil, it’s a just-in-case). The mulch does keep down weeds and hold in moisture during the spring and early summer, which alone is worth it. Garlic will be the first in-field veggie greenery of the season…if all has gone well.

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Melting from the edges

Melt-off

This is the fourth day of steadily rising above-zero daytime temperature, and melt-off is well underway. It’s a messy time of year underfoot, and totally fun. Here at the gate to the garden field, you can see it melting down from the edges.

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Profusion of parsley

Parsley

Parsley has been in trays for just over three weeks now. Like everything under fluorescents, they stretch, but do fine when eventually they make it out to the real light. So far this year, two varieties, Green River curly and a flat-leaf Italian (definitely stronger and more flavorful than the curly types). There are around 70 cells of each, some with two or three plants, others with just one. Potted up into three-plant bunches, there should be about 50 of each going into the ground in late April-early May.

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Monitoring spring melt-off

Barn roof melt-off

When the base layer of ice and snow finally slides off the roof of the barn, Spring Melt-off is truly underway! This sheltered east-facing roof is the official monitoring device. Without much snow build-up this winter, the satisfying crash of massive slabs falling 40 feet to the ground was absent. Still, a good deal of icy snow cleared in the last 24 hours, and warm weather is forecast for the next few days at least. Excellent! (Guest snapshot by C.)

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Grow racks in action

Grow racks

The grow racks are starting to fill up. First trays of eggplant and peppers, seeded yesterday, sit up top where it’s warmest. The lights run 14-hours a day, on a timer, with an extra hour or so of early morning ambient sunlight from windows on three sides of the room.

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Seed starting station

Seedling station

The seedling workstation… This high and narrow table is where I put seeds in cellpaks. The triple sink, a leftover from the dairy days when this was the sterile milk collection room, work out well for seed-starting, with all of the soaking, rinsing and draining involved. Today, the first eggplant and peppers.

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