Field Report, May 17

I’ve been plenty busy in the last ten days since my last field report.  We’ve had quite a bit of rain, which has been good for the plants, but has made it hard to get into the field to do more work.

The bad news is that the 200 kale seedlings (that cost me about $60 to buy) were almost all destroyed by a combination of bad weather (the row cover blew off in a storm) and rodents, who ate almost all of them.  The good news is that I have 140 more kale seedlings that we’ve raised, but it’s going to be tricky to make our first World PEAS delivery date.  But we might.  If the critters don’t eat them all.

flame weeder!

I did manage to plant more beet seeds.  This time, after I planted, I used the flame weeder on the bed.  I could already see lots of tiny weeds sprouting, and this was my chance to get rid of them.  A flame weeder is just like it sounds–basically a big blowtorch that you use to fry tiny little weed sprouts.  The trick is that you have to use it before they get too big, because then it doesn’t work very well.  When I was at the field yesterday, it looked like it had worked, because those beds looked great.

I wished that I could have used the flame weeder on everything else.  The weeds love the wet weather.  Here’s our kale bed, which is mostly a green carpet of tiny weeds.

more weeds than kale

My tools of the day were the hula hoe and the colinear hoe.  I’m getting faster with each.  Yesterday was the perfect time for hoeing, as our New Entry Farm Manager Matt pointed out, because the weeds were still small.  I can weed a 180 ft bed in about 30-40 minutes with a colinear hoe.  But if I waited two weeks, it would have taken a lot longer and my back would be aching today.

hula hoe and colinear hoe

I’d thought that the potatoes had been lost, too.  We planted them three weeks ago, and we hadn’t seen any signs of sprouting.  But this week, they finally started to show their heads.  Growing potatoes is an excellent lesson in patience.  There’s stuff working away under the surface, but you just have to wait.

finally a potato plant!

We’ve had plenty of water lately, but I did spent time putting together our drip irrigation system. We don’t currently have water at the farm, as we’re still waiting for the final electrical connection.  When it does work, we’ll get water from this hydrant:

hydrant at Smith Field

For now, when we put in seedlings, we’ll use this big tank of water that Matt brought over.  Most of our plants will be fine for now, since the weather seems to be on our side.

water tank ready to help keep seedlings alive

For now, we’ve got a lot of potential in the field.  Here’s what’s growing:

  • potatoes (2 varieties)
  • onions (3 varieties)
  • chard (2 varieties)
  • lettuce (3 varieties)
  • snow peas

We’re still waiting for sprouting from beets, cilantro, and calendula (just a tiny bit).  Lots of potential!

The chard seedlings are looking good!

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