A cool Spring may delay the planting of some crops and interfere with perennial crops such as Asparagus. This Spring, we’ve had to discard frost burned asparagus spears due to freezing temperatures at night! On the other hand, there are other crops that just love this weather – think peas & lettuce! To ensure we have plenty of vegetables for all our CSA members, we schedule several plantings of a lot of different crops so if something doesn’t produce, we have back-up.
It’s amazing how many variables factor into creating a single perfect eggplant or squash. It is one of nature’s miracles that a single tiny seed can generate a bushel of succulent tomatoes in just a few months. Each Spring, we plant thousands of seeds in trays of organic growing medium at the required depth, making sure to provide the right amount of light, or not – as some plants germinate in the dark. The moisture must also be just so: not too wet or you get “damping off” which kills the seedlings and also not so dry that they shrivel up and – again – die. Germination temperature is also key, some plants need 50 degrees and others 75 degrees to sprout.
Once sprouted, we provide a proper environment for “growing-on” which may be cool or warm, bright or shaded. We also have to make sure that we label everything so we know what all the transplants are and then we must “harden” off the young plants, so they can go into a variety of growing environments including two greenhouses or outside to get large enough to plant in the fields.
We do this to have a predictable vegetable harvest. We want to eliminate the risks of seed failure, improper sowing, and harsh weather we would incur if we direct sowed seed into the fields. By planting young plants, we give each vegetable bed a head start in producing the highest yield possible.
We are hosting an Open Farm day this Saturday, May 14th from 10:00 am till 3:00 pm. Come see the farm and what we have growing – our perennial and early Spring vegetables in the field, plus all the transplants we have growing that will later become the delicious organic produce our CSA members enjoy during our 20-week season. We still have a few CSA memberships available for local Westfield area residents – contact us if you are interested.