[From 25 Apr 2016] In the last week, warm, sunny days, a field dry enough to start working, and the first round of seed is in the ground. Today’s sudden little blizzard, as full-on winter wonderland as it looked coming down, hardly got in the way—quick as it arrived, only six hours later, and all trace had vanished (helped along by a little rain). The weather: never anything less than exciting!
[From 20 Apr 2016] The low-riding late afternoon sun shines through lettuce leaves, creating quite the vivid show of color. (This is also great light for revealing carpets of the tiniest emerging weeds that are otherwise easy to overlook or conveniently ignore—seeing so clearly what’s to come really motivates you to get weeding early.)
Adding a pinch (5g) of fairly pricey Rushmore (a beautifully deep-red oakleaf) to a batch of salad mix. This is the basic all-lettuce summer blend: seven varieties, selected mainly for color (greens to reds), texture (flat to frilly), and to some degree, seed cost (the price range of lettuce varieties is quite extreme). This inexpensive digital gram scale makes it easy to add relatively small quantities of certain varieties, and keep each batch consistent. Weigh out, shake up in bottle, ready to go. Here: 100g – that’s a lot of little lettuce!
Leftovers, really, as bok choi and mizuna make their way toward producing seed by putting out bursts of cheerful little flowers. Normally, these plants would be tilled under way before this stage, making way for a new seeding, but since the ground is still too wet to work where they are, we’ve left them in for a bit, to harvest and toss into salad mix at the market. The stems can get woody at this point, the farther down you go, snipping off the tops or only the petals will do the trick. Mildly flavorful, mainly for the color!
[From 12 Apr 2016] Today’s transplants: Still steadily plugging in seedlings in the greenhouse, waiting for more ground to dry out. This round, lettuces (above) and bok choi (elsewhere). All this transplanting is pretty straightforward—taking the photo, I might wonder, “What’s the difference between these seedlings stuck in the ground, and any others…why bother posting the same thing over and over?” Well, I don’t literally ask myself that, but I can see how some folks may think that. There’s no good answer, it really is in the eye of the beholder.
On a tiny farm, where weather runs everything, you never know how little decisions will turn out, and how critically they may affect things. Decisions like, let’s put up this greenhouse in this wet-in-spring field that’s also slow to dry, and see what happens (because the alternatives are too expensive), and fix or work around any problems we may run into. In that greenhouse, THIS lettuce planting, in mucky ground, in all-new conditions that may also in a few days get infernally hot and downright lettuce-unfriendly if we don’t finish the end-wall windows for ventilation before the temperature shoots up, is entirely different from every other lettuce transplanting. New story, ending unknown, let’s see how it turns out! It’s always something different… :)
Friday harvest and the main green going right now is LETTUCE, appearing as small leaf salad mix. We’re waiting to do new greenhouse seeding – it’s still way wet in there – but a bunch of lettuce transplants are already in, some bok choi, too. So the season’s ramping up and the weekly look around to see what the weather has delivered for market…begins!
Parsley, curly and flat-leaf, overflows its 72-cell plug sheet. Time to trim it back (again), so they still fit under the lights. To be unfussy and safe, a quick shear of only 2-3″ off the top literally takes a few seconds and does the trick. Snip-snip-snip-snip-snip! This is what you have to do when you start seedlings extra early, and then wait on the weather!