Well it sure feels great to sit down and write for a while! As rewarding as it is to start seeing the growth of our produce outside, the physical workload during the month of May is always a bit of a shock to the system since we do our farm work with human power. Pretty much every day in May involved the spreading of compost, transplanting of seedlings, and setup of irrigation systems in varying proportions. It is a time of year, when I appreciate that we grow many different crops that all operate on unique schedules. That makes it possible to spread the spring transplanting over many weeks.
The question I get most at this time of year is "How are the crops looking?" so I'll assume you are wondering the same thing and give you a brief summary. I will start with the good news. We have put extra energy this year into potting up our tomatoes and peppers into huge 4" soil blocks and have also delayed planting of these crops a little longer to wait for the soil to warm up more. These changes seem to be paying off as these two crops are looking fabulous so far. The leaves are all dark green and broadening out nicely.
Other highlights would be that our super early carrot crop is still growing well, all of our onion transplants are looking quite healthy, and we have already started harvesting some early salad greens for Common Ground members. We also know that snap peas aren't too far away as the first snap pea blossoms came out yesterday!
When I consider all things as a whole, crop performance is pretty stellar. However, just as my attention as teacher was always drawn to struggling students, my thoughts as a farmer often dwell on the struggling crops. This year that crop is cucumbers. There were a couple of irrigation malfunctions and numerous cutworm attacks right after transplanting the cucumbers, and since they already really dislike the transplanting process, these added stresses significantly diminished our cucumber population. Oh, and then it hailed! This week however, the surviving cucumbers are starting to establish themselves, and I was quick to plant replacement cucumber seedlings to start filling in the gaps. These new seedlings will unfortunately be about 4 weeks behind the first batch, but that is the best that can be done at this point. Thankfully we have plenty of other healthy crops to fill in the gaps for our members.
The focus of the next month will be setting up trellises for our tomatoes and cucumbers, and getting our distribution system set up to begin full harvest weeks at the start of July. We also have another big farm upgrade happening this month that we will be excited to share with you in the near future.