If you can believe it, we are starting to seed crops for this coming summer in our greenhouse! We started celery last week and will be seeding the first round of kale, chard, and lettuce this week.
These past two weeks, we have been hard at work preparing the greenhouse for the upcoming seeding season. This year we bought all new greenhouse tables that had to be constructed. Once these were installed, we could sweep and clean our floors of any leftover dirt and debris and sanitize the entire greenhouse to ensure no plant diseases rolled over into this season. We were certain to make sure the greenhouse froze for a good while throughout the winter to kill any lingering insect pests from last year too. We installed new rubber mats so we don’t slip in the aisleways when they are wet and built a new ergonomic potting mix station.
Once everything was in place, we install our large electric heating mats for our seed starting. Did you know that soil temperature is much more important for good germination than air temperature? Many of our seeds require soils to be at least 70 degrees, and some even want it as hot as 90! We’d never maintain constant soil temperature with just warm air. Placing our seeded trays on these mats warms the soil to just the right conditions for the seeds to want to pop up. We kind of have to trick them that it’s actually spring a lot sooner than it is outside.
We actually make all of our own potting mix here on the farm. It’s a LOT of work, but very much worth it. Good potting mix is essential for really healthy and strong transplants. We sift all our compost (want to get hands on? help us out and sign up for our upcoming compost sifting volunteer opportunities) and add that to coconut coir and vermiculite. We add all natural minerals like kelp, bloodmeal, greensand, phosphate, lime, and beneficial bacteria/fungi for all the important nutrients a plant needs to grow.
As farmers we always have to be months ahead of where you are as eaters! It takes about 6 weeks for plants to get to transplantable size, and then many more weeks for them to mature in the field. For those of you joining us in the summer, this celery, kale, and chard seeded right now will be what you’ll eat from your shares in June and July!