[From 5 May 2016] The Planet Jr. rides again. Clara learns the way of the antique seeder, having just laid down three rows of Kestrel beets. This old seeder continues to serve well!
Especially in spring, with constant seeding and transplanting, moving gear around the field is a bigger deal than it may seem. Forget stuff, even little things like a hose fitting or a seed plate or some twine, and you’re heading back the equivalent of a block or two or three to get it. A trailer of some sort is the ultimate for a 2-3 acre plot, but with decent packing skills, you can fit a lot into a tiny tractor bucket, too! This carefully balanced load includes everything needed for some direct seeding: the Planet Jr. and Earthway seeders (can’t forget the Earthway seed plates, they’re a perfect fit in that coffee can); seed, clipboard for notes, twine and stakes for row marking (all in that large flower pot); choice rocks for anchoring row cover (it’s never too early to protect brassicas from flea beetles!); and there’s the last of a 50lb bag of snap peas nestled in. It takes a practiced eye to fit everything you need so nothing falls out as you bump along—do it a few times and…easy peasy!
Checking in on the fairly massive time investment we made in thinning 800′ of late-planted Touchon carrots—and it’s paying off! Not that there was any doubt that thinning works, it’s just so…tedious. After laying down carrot seed thick (in other words, after using the Earthway seeder), we spent hours removing thousands of extra seedlings. Because these guys went in so late, I wanted to give ’em every shot at making the best of good weather and sizing up while they could. Now, the effect of 1″ (2.5 cm) spacing really shows. We still kept them pretty tight, thinning a few short stretches to 2″ (5 cm) for comparison, but mostly did them like this, aiming/hoping for a big yield of fairly slender full-size carrots towards the end of October. You can see, second from right, a little one that escaped. It may seem obvious, I’ve found appropriate spacing is easy to overlook or downplay. When you’ve actually seen the massive difference it usually makes, it’s hard to ignore! Think better seeder. :)
Today, the last direct seeding of the season: spinach, radish, Asian greens mix, arugula, and a lettuce blend for baby leaf… Here, Tracy does the honors with the always-generous Earthway seeder, laying down thick lines of Rebel radish. But is it…too late? Well, who knows?! In good summer conditions, all of these crops can be ready to harvest in 40 days or so from seeding, but the sun is getting weaker now. Hopefully, this round will come up fast, catch the last of the reasonably strong light through September—there WILL be lots of sun!—then continue growing slowly until ready for the last couple of markets through the end of October. That is the…plan. Fresh young veggies at season’s end are a welcome treat! If it doesn’t work out, oh well (and we may get a chance to do a few days at the indoor market in November). In any case, we have the space and the seed, and pushing for the absolute latest planting date seems to me always worth the gamble. Seeing what happens is kinda…exciting!