Things are heating up around the Farm these days. LOTS of stuff going on. Well digging, plowing, hoeing, furrowing, planting, you name it, it is happening. And that can only mean that the season will be in full swing in another 4-5 weeks.
On Monday, The Farmer and I planted 10 rows of snap peas (remember that our rows are 100 feet long when you are reading this post) and, 6 rows of Kennebec potatoes (more about planting taters below...). We also planted several yard wide swathes of mixed lettuces and likewise planted mixed mustards, spinach, endive and escarole. There are 60M carrrot seeds in the ground as well. We were keeping our fingers crossed that it would rain, which is why we planted in such a fury, so we wouldn't have to be watering everything in. It worked out perfectly!
Below there is a picture of the actual potatoes that I planted. I know that almost everybody reading this blog has had at least one potato in the bin too long and it started to sprout. That is the part that we very carefully save to plant. Each eye on a potato is a potential sprout and so we go thru a process of encouraging our seed potatoes to sprout. Once that happens, the potatoes are cut into a small piece everywhere there is an eye or a sprout because each one is a potential potato plant and seed potatoes (organic, that is) are VERY expensive. Mostly it is expensive to ship them but that is still part of the cost because there are NO suppliers of organic seed potatoes any where evenly remotely close to this area. So, mostly we save our own potatoes from year to year so that we can guarantee that we have what we need to plant in the spring.
Anyway, here is the picture of the cut potatoes that I planted. After they are cut, they have to dry out for a while, so these were sitting in the sun, doing just that when I snapped the pic. I cut these potatoes in the early morning and we planted them that evening.
Each little piece has to be set into the furrow with the sprout pointing up, so they have to be done individually, hence the title of this blog today.
For reference, there are about 750 pieces in this container or roughly 3/4 of a bushel of potatoes, cut into 1-2 inch pieces. Sound kind of like KP duty, doesn't it? Anyway, next time your potatoes are sprouting in the cupboard, remember that is a potential crop of potatoes. In fact, you could cut them up and plant them in your yard or in a big container and grow some for yourself!!!
We also planted carrots, lettuces, mustards, kohlrabi, Asian greens, spinach and a couple of other really early varieties. It has been really warm here this winter and I think some folks don't realize just how early in the growing season it actually is. Most of these varieties take about 50 days to maturity and we are right on schedule.
There are already several things we planted earlier that were already up and going strong, mostly things that take more than the 50 or so days we have until CSA starts up. Some things like radishes, arugula and some of the other spring items take less than 30 days to produce, so it is a little early to plant those. We could still have some really cold weather (the last average frost date in this area is April 14th...remember the killing frost at Easter last year?) so we are a little cautious about what we plant this time of year. Timing is everything in our weird spring weather and since we are such strong proponents of seasonal growing and eating, this season is our hardest to manage, in terms of planting schedules.
Another thing we planted yesterday was SUGAR SNAP PEAS!!!! This is one of my absolute favorite spring treats. There are 10 rows in the ground now and there will be another 8-10 planted in about 2-3 weeks, so that they don't all mature at the same time and we can have a little longer harvest period on those.
Since I originally started this entry, three days have passed and it has rained quite a bit. As I mentioned earlier in this post, we were trying to get these seeds, etc. in the ground in anticipation of the rain and it worked out great!!! Nothing washed away, everything is well watered in now and the only thing that I am concerned about are the potatoes sets.
Of course, this is the nature of farming as I always remind everybody. Not for those who have to have every "T" crossed and "i" dotted. We just never know what will happen when Mother Nature is in one of her "moods". If you can't take the heat (or cold or rain or drought or snow or flood or wind, not to mention the bugs or the weeds), you'd best stay our of the garden.
So, now this round of planting is done. The rains came, the weather was warm and most of the seeds are probably starting to pop out. And it is gonna be 26 degrees here tonight.....moody, moody, moody Mama Nature. (heavy sigh....)