This weekend’s weather provided a bit of the best of both worlds. Saturday was a great day for outdoor activity, while today’s rain let us focus on getting things done where we could stay warm and dry. And we took advantage of both!
Saturday was devoted to pulling up the ground cloth in the portion of the field that will be planted this spring, then tilling and leveling the ground, and installing below ground water lines that will improve our irrigation system and make general field maintenance and upkeep much easier. Though we ran out of time to do so, we had hoped to lay out new planting rows Saturday as well, with the thought that today’s rain might undo much of the leveling work that was accomplished. It rained much of the day today, but it was by and large a nice steady light rain that doesn’t seem to have washed gullies through the field, so that’s a relief!
The rain today was very welcome for a variety of reasons. For one thing, we definitely needed it. We ended 2017 in a moderate to severe drought, and January had so far done little to alleviate that. Today’s rain will help, though more rain is needed to get us back on track. Rain days tend to mean light work loads, another reason they’re so welcome on the farm! Today’s main task was to get the 2018 planting season underway in the greenhouse. We installed a new germination heating mat earlier in the week and were excited to test it out! The heat provided by the germination mat will warm the soil in the seed flats, speeding the germination process, especially for veggies that are typically thought of as loving sun and warmth, like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. Surprisingly, though, even many cool-season vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and many greens, will benefit from the germination mat, sprouting better and more quickly when soil temperatures stay constantly in the 75-80 degree range. Kohlrabi, cauliflower, tat soi, bok choy, Tokyo Bekana (Chinese cabbage), and arugula were on today’s planting list, with many more plantings scheduled for the weeks to come!