Last of the spring planting

Transplanting winter squash & pumpkins

It’s another week till the start of CSA shares and the first picking of peas, and at least 3 weeks until some of the heavier crops—broccoli, cauliflower, summer squash—are ready, so Friday’s are still about general fieldwork, not HARVEST. Just ahead of the end of spring, Lynn, Libby and Jordan planted out a last wave of winter squash and some fast-maturing (80-90) Neon pumpkins. That brings the spring planting to a close, a little later than usual, overall, but considering the first-year, start-up situation, really good!

We also put in one bed of melons under infrared-transmitting (IRT) plastic mulch (above).  For a couple of years, I planted 5-10 50′ beds under IRT mulch (more heat to the soil), but yield wasn’t worth the effort, including the extra watering (didn’t use drip tape under the plastic). This year, with one bed to focus on, it’s an experiment—we’ll try to give them extra special care!

Lynn vanished early from lunch, only to be found reading her new herb book under a tree. This photo (below) doesn’t nearly capture the scene: it looked like an impossibly peaceful countryscape, from a simple, carefree world—fit for a postcard. We were laughing, and Jordan spontaneously got out his camera and took photos, too.  I asked her if she’d scouted the location for the setting (joking, but I can also be a bit of a cynic! :), she said it was just the best spot she could find for shade!

Reading in the shade of a tree

12 thoughts on “Last of the spring planting”

  1. Hey Thanks for the tip on the Neon Pumpkin….I’m in the same boat as you, moving the microfarm to a new site (I’m in Western MA) this year and turning up the hayfield as I go.  I thought it was too late to get any pumpkins in but I just ordered some Neon seed after reading your entry!

  2. David: This set of Neon are transplants, around 4 weeks old. Starting from seed at this point is real tight, but you may luck out. The Neon’s are kinda freaky, here at least, they’re like a Disney cartoon of a pumpkin growing, all perfectly shaped, green then suddenly orange. Hopefully, you’ll see what I mean! They’d be one of the first to go from an seed-saving, heirloom world, but they can come in handy as part of the line-up till then! :)

  3. Mike,
    I’ve been using old greenhouse clear plastic as mulch for my melons the last two years.  It has worked out really well.  I imagine you’ll notice a big difference even with the IRT mulch.
    Ken Allen (from Kingston) wrote a book about growing sweet potatoes in the north and what he’s discovered about growing with plastic mulch.  I’ve found it’s a very good resource.

  4. We here in the Catskills use Evo Organic.  Which is plastic mulch with irrigation hoses imbedded within.  As long as we don’t perforate the hoses it works extremely well.

  5. Some lovely pics, good luck with all of this!

    I agree about encouraging local farming and eating produce from your local area. Some good points made, thanks for this, very interesting. You may be interested in the work of Send a Cow - – We work with rural community groups in nine countries in Africa, providing small-scale farmers with the skills and means to feed their families and earn an income. It’s all about helping to develop sustainable farming methods!

  6. Chris: Clear plastic, that’s interesting. Seems like the heat could get pretty intense under there, like, you can use clear plastic to solarize the soil. Although, I tried that on a small area for a few days once, and it actually helped some weeds grow… And I guess if it’s used greenhouse film, then it’s fairly clouded.

    I think you mentioned that sweet potato book last year. And, out of the blue, someone just gave me a copy of it (actually, the same day, same person gave Lynn the herb book she’s reading in this post!). Just started checking it out: NEVER refrigerate your sweet potatoes, it’s practically a crime! :)

    Jeff: I’ll check that stuff out!

    sendacow: Will take a look at your site!

    cathy: It’s on topic: a Rodale herb book.

  7. I got the Ken Allan book last winter, and tried sweetpotatoes here in Montréal.  It worked!  Planted out on June 10th on Bio-Tello (black biodegradable plastic), I got about 60# of sweetpotatoes out of 15 surviving plants (20 planted, lost 5).  The slips where from Mapple Farm in New-Brunswick.  Most of the root are misshapen (long and gnarled, not round and chubby), and totally unlike what you get at the grocery store.  The taste, however, is really, really good.  My son likes to eat the root raw and unpeeled for snack. It’s also delicious in mashed potatoes and soup.  I will certainly grow it again for my own use.  Growing commercially? Not sure.


Leave a Comment