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  • Writer's pictureThe Farmer's Wife

Momentum on the farm

Greetings All!

I'm happy to share that things are trucking along here at the farm. We got our potatoes planted last week on Thursday ahead of all of that rain! Ben uses a wedge to make trenches, then the seed potatoes are placed by hand and then Ben go goes over the top with the wedge again but offset to the rows of potatoes. By the time the field is planted the ground is pretty level but there is a little mount on top of the potatoes which is a good thing.

We want them to start out low enough in the ground because their instinct is to grow up. If potatoes are unearthed and grow too close to the surface of the ground, they turn green which is called a sunburn. Some folks continually hill their potatoes throughout the growing season and I'm sure that works great- I just don't think it's necessary in the super heavy ground we've got here because we've never had a big sunburn problem.

Check out the seed potatoes! We cut them and then let them dry for a day or two until they form kind of a crust on the outside "meat" of the potato. That way, they're not wet when you put them in the ground, and they can protect themselves from rot. That is an especially helpful method during springs like this where the rotting is a real threat. We did plant the potatoes on the highest part of that field though so they should be AOK up there ;)

In other fields....

It doesn't look like much but... We JUST planted the first of our SWEET CORN yesterday! This is either genius or totally nuts. Most likely a little bit of both, which seems to be a theme in our lives lately!

When seeding corn you have to make sure the ground is warm enough to germinate the seed (which takes several days in the spring) or the seed has potential for rotting before the little plant breaks through the seed kernel.

In our field of work (pun intended), we always try to get sweet corn in the ground as soon as possible. That's one of the most exciting times of the year! When you guys get that first sweet corn of the season- it's just so tasty and there is nothing like it. We harvest your corn the same day it's delivered and you'll know exactly what I mean when the time comes this year....

So this year Ben decided to start a few thousand sweet corn plants in trays in the greenhouse! It took up a lot of space in there but we made it work. Since Ben germinated the seeds in the greenhouse and then transplanted these plants, this corn will be ready earlier than ever before, hypothetically. Of course, I have to add that at the end because it is all weather dependent and mother nature can do anything she wants.

Ben was saying the other day that if everything goes as planned, the corn will be knee high by the 4th of June! ;) Let's see how this experiment turns out and fingers crossed- we'll all have sweet corn much earlier in the summer! Because who wants to wait?!

Hoop House Update

We made a tiny bit of progress on the new hoop house... notice the picture with the two posts. We got the 4 corner posts put in (can't see the other side), which seems silly but those 4 posts mean a LOT. They're exactly square, which is very difficult to do when they're 30 feet wide and 95 feet long- you have to buy special measuring tapes for this stuff- it's such a far distance! Keep in mind the bows that need to go into those ground posts are hundreds of pounds each and we'll have to use the tractor to get them into position to drop them into the ground posts. Metal on metal 3-inch piping- it has to be exactly perfect. So, like, no pressure!

I really am happy that we got it started at least- and we got all of our bows made, with the exception of the end bows because they're framed differently with wood so we can add doors.

We didn't get a chance to put in anymore ground posts but that's because it hasn't stopped raining long enough to get out there again. It's been raining for days at a time and really dumping on us. Thank goodness that we got all the fields worked up before the rain- that helps the moisture go INTO the soil instead of RUNNING OFF. So that's crucial and I'm happy to say that we've got a few little puddles in the fields but nothing that will be a problem when it's time to plant. I'm actually relieved to see a couple of little puddles... after last summer I LOVE seeing the moisture, especially because I know these puddles will be long gone before we start planting.

What's next this spring

We've got a greenhouse full of plants and we look forward to starting to get some in the fields in about 2 weeks depending on the weather. Look at the lettuces in the picture above! They're such a beautiful color and they're at such a cute little stage in their growth. These are the romaine lettuces you'll get in your CSA boxes in a few weeks!

We usually start planting in the middle of May, but 2 years ago we weren't able to get into the fields until the last week of May. That was a heck of a spring! Then we were planting like crazy trying to get everything in the ground asap so it could put roots down and start growing. Every year is so different!

This year the ground is nice and moist which is great for little plants. The little plants can root easily when the ground has plenty of moisture and it doesn't stress out the little seedlings! If it stops raining long enough, we'll be able to start planting next week most likely. The ground is warm enough and the overnight air temps are good for planting too. We've had cold snaps and frost in June though- so this time of year is just really risky because it always looks so nice!!!

We're in good hands.

Farmer Ben is so good at what he does that it looks easy, but I can assure you that it isn't!

He waters the greenhouse multiple times a day (which can take a half hour each time, depending on what's in the greenhouse), he's seeding and transplanting into larger cells (like we talked about in my last blog). He has to adjust how far the greenhouse sides are rolled up depending on the weather, if the sun comes out he has to be nearby to open up the doors because it can increase 20 degrees in a matter of minutes... it's just crazy how detail oriented everything in the greenhouse is, and how little I ever see of that side of things.

Ben just knows what to do and does it every single day, 10x a day. He's basically married to the greenhouse now until the early part of June basically. A good example, a few days ago we were at the school PTO fundraiser and had to rush home because he noticed it clouded up quick and looked like it might rain. So we hurried home (15 minutes away) and never even got to use all of our tickets for the games. No biggie though- we were going to support our school and PTO and we did that :) That's how every day is though- if the sun is out vs cloudy vs raining, it all changes what he does and he's always on-the-ball when it comes to the greenhouse.

I want to end on this note- that we're in good hands- because I want to convey the amount of confidence and respect that I have for Farmer Ben to keep this whole farm moving forward. It's incredible how many things he's able to juggle & keep straight. He makes it look easy but I know better- he's just really, really good at what he does!!

Our first harvest isn't until June 17th, but that will sneak up on us like it always does ;)

We'll be in touch!

Eat Good & Be Well,

~The Farmer's Wife

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