Spring Planting

Let spring come!!  We were worried there for a minute that spring was going to pass us by and all we would get is summer. Especially when the thermometer on the farm hit 90F in mid-March!!  Our cold season crops such as the brassicas, onions, and peas, are looking much happier with this cooler weather.

We are nearly done transplanting all our cold season crops, and have seeded quite a few as well.  Unfortunately, we have now run out of space in the main growing area.  We have a secondary growing area, but it has a lack of sun issue, so unless we can let go of our attachment to the big trees (that are looking a little worse for ware), the shade issue will not be fixed.

We have plenty more space in the lower field, currently planted in a winter rye/Austrian winter pea cover crop, however there are two main issues holding us back from planting yet: water and equipment.

We have a very useful, yet very long trench that awaits more work, but the rain has kept us from completing that work and spring planting has taken a priority.  There are still many more hours of labor needed to complete this project.  Crops planted from seed might do OK, but transplants would struggle if their planting was followed by a dry spell.

So yes planting fr

om seed would work. . . we just need a few things that are needed to follow the farming practices we believe in, which is no-till organic farming.  Rodale Institute has done a lot of research into this system and they have some equipment that works well.  The first is a roller/crimper.  This device does what is says, it rolls and crimps the existing cover crop at the appropriate time (just before it goes to seed) and essentially kills it.  A no-till drill (the second piece of equipment) is then used to plant the desired crop directly into the rolled and crimped cover crop.  This cover crop mulch serves many functions: 1) acts a weed suppressing layer; 2) feeds the soil organisms organic matter; 3) holds moisture in the soil; 4) prevents erosion; 5) cools the soil, which is very important in the heat of summer.

These two pieces of equipment are not currently in our possession but we are working on getting them.  We will keep you posted.

Roller/crimper at work in a no-till organic system Photo from Rodale Institute website
Roller/crimper at work in a no-till organic system Photo from Rodale Institute website