While it is disappointing to miss an hour of sleep this time of year, that time change always seems to happen when we are just feeling like we could use an extra hour of work. Here’s a little run down of what we are working on this week:
The greenhouses are starting to fill up, as we seed a little more every week. Along with seeding comes teaching our new crew members the art and science behind watering seedlings in the greenhouse. Too dry is obviously a problem, because the seedlings will just wilt and die. But too dry is not always obvious; since we heat from below in some spots, there is a tendency to dry out from the bottom up. And it is definitely possible to water and think you have watered enough, but have the water only soak partway down in and still be dry on the bottom, which can result in plants that don’t fully fill out the cell, and grow as big and strong as they could. But then, on the other hand, the plants can die just as dead from being too wet, as the nutrients get leached out of the soil and “damping-off” diseases can take hold and fell the tender seedlings. The whole future of our farm season is contained in those greenhouses, so any disaster now can have long-reaching implications. So we encourage our crew to keep checking; pop the seedling out and feel how wet it is down in there, dig around with the stick, really see what is going on in there. Teaching our new crew how to water is part of our mission to train the next generation of farmers, and one of the cycles of our job that we enjoy repeating every year.
We covered the caterpillar tunnel back over (the plastic having blown off in the windstorm this last week; Jeremy got his whole execrcise quota for the week broadforking 900 bed feet by hand, and then we got salad mix, lettuce, salad turnips, and arugula planted in there, getting ready to keep bringing the greens during the spring after we turn the greenhouses all over to tomatoes and cucumbers.
And we are really moving into full-time mode on projects to get us ready for next season. Our old chicken trailer needed some updating, so we are doing a complete rebuild that will allow us to run half again as many chickens as we have had in the past, and which can be used to keep those hens moving to fresh pasture several times a week, giving them those deep yellow yolks.