All is well on the western front. Things are right on schedule as planned and there are thousands of happy plants in the hoop houses growing more and more everyday. The only problem at the moment is that we are rapidly running out of space to put flats. The green house tables are full and we are sowing more every day. Building tables seems to be a recurring and un-ending task for me. Hopefully the weather will ease a bit here in the next week or so and we'll be able to start transplanting outside. I don't use row covers any more so I tend to wait for better weather to start putting things in the ground. It works for me, We still manage to have the first greens each year and I don't waist time and money fiddling around with keeping remay on the field during our frequent wind storms and I'm not filling the dumpster with piles of old torn up petrloeum based spun polyester. Grandpa Gid never used it and thats good enough for me. That said it does work wonderfully, it cuts maturity time by a third and keeps out unwanted pests.
There is alot to be done right now but it is also a time of moderation. Human nature is to just plow forward. However this is a fickle season for a farmer and one must work within the confines of the hand mother nature deals. We try to space our sowings out not only for succession purposes but for prophouse management and insurance reasons. for example I like to space my tomato sowing out to at least three or four seperate sowings spread out over about a 45 to 60 day period. I start some early in mid February, another round about the first of March, another Mid March and again around early April. This insures I have a wide selection of plants at variuous maturities to select and sort as plants we keep for the field and plants that go to market as starts. It also spreads out our potting on workload so We don't have to scramble as hard. One also has to take into consideration inclimate weather. One year we lost several flats of tomatoes overnight due to an unexpected hard frost. Luckily I had back up flats already sown. Ironically, even with the spread, all of those tomatoes seem to begin ripening at the same time. You can't really fool mother nature, at least we can't. If we had lots of money to throw at it we could grow tomatoes all damn year if we wanted to. I happen to be a seaonal farmer who believes in growing and eating with the seasons and not using heat and lights to push things to grow beyond their means.
We're about six weeks out from the first farmers market. It'll be here before you know it and we'll be off on another seasons journey. This time of year I like to take a step back and evaluate the progress and to re check some of my earlier planning thoughts. We are off to a great start this year. Things are coming together better than they ever have. This has the potential to be an amazing growing year for us, not just the plants but the whole farm in general. I'm trying to be a better manager, farmer and leader. I'm hoping to add to the equipment arsenal this year so we can add to our effieciency and grow more produce using less hand labor. We also have some new competition this year and that inspires me to be a better farmer. We also may have the opportunity to buy a neighboring parcel that could really change our scene. All in all I'm pretty pumped up. This just feels like it's going to be a good year.
Take care all.