Seeds And More Seeds–We Start Planting!!

To quote the late George Peppard, ” I love it when a plan comes together!” Megan and Bonnie finished the seed inventory last week. With 257 varieties in hand we are up and running in the greenhouse. So far this season we are up on the timing and making deadlines is seeming to be easy! Bonnie and her brother, Jason Grover, finished the re-glazing of the potting shed on Wednesday and spent Thursday getting  all of the the shelving set. With benches in place, Bonnie is starting to plant. First to go in are the Brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collards, etc.) and aliums (onions, scallions, leeks, etc.).

2006 lettuce flats in the potting house

2006 lettuce flats in the potting house

Next will be the lettuces and escarole. These will be set out in the field around mid to late April. This year I’m pushing the early greens earlier than I ever have since we have had bad luck in the past two years with a freak week of 80ºF weather in May. The strategy is to get them in and under row covers so that they can gain some size before (and if) a heat wave might drive them to seed. Bigger plants are sometimes more bolt resistant early on in the year.  When I first started growing commercially I did all my own transplants. In 1989 I first used a certified organic greenhouse grower called Silver Seed down in Maryland on the eastern shore. Jay Martin, the grower, devised a really neat hand-held wand that he used with a vacuum to plant into the plant flats rather than using one of the big commercial deck type units that cost thousands.

2006onions, parsley, cilantro in the potting house

2006 onions, parsley, cilantro in the potting house

I just found the same seeder for sale and picked up one for 72 cell trays and one for 128 cell trays; the two most common sizes I use. I started doing all my own transplants in 2007 again because shipping was just too expensive. This year we are planting over 300 flats and these new seed wands will save days of labor!!

Planting is a critical chore and one of the most rewarding when the seeds sprout and start to grow.  IF you are interested in helping, keep in mind that Volunteers are welcome! Contact Megan to schedule a visit.

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