Just as each spring before it, there comes a moment when the weather breaks just enough to start working the newly defrosted soil. The soil is usually a bit damp, but being careful, we can work the soil gently and get early crops tucked in. Many of the crops we are planting this year are cold tolerant and can deal with various frosts as little seedlings. Last week I planted two varieties of spinach, 2 beds of salad mix greens, 2 beds of carrots (5 varieties!). This week another 5 beds are planned to be prepped and planted…along with some of the cold tolerant transplants that are large enough to get into the ground.
After finishing the transplant greenhouse a week ago, we realized that we didn’t have enough plastic to have 2 layers. I ordered the wrong size plastic! This meant that we couldn’t use the blower we purchased to inflate the two layers to prevent more warm air from escaping. The idea is to not have to add supplemental heat to the greenhouse, or very little. Its been in the low teens at night this week. We had to borrow a neighbors propane space heater and turn it on at night to keep it above freezing. We’ve had some frost damage, but overall the plants have recouped because they are the more cold tolerant plants. The tomatoes we’ve started have been kept inside the house so far.
Andrew asked me last night if technically we could have a field entirely of quick hoops? I guess the answer is ‘yes’. I have been putting up more every week and now we have 4, 100′ beds under cover and 4, 50′ beds. I have planned to cover head lettuce in the next couple of weeks, kale for a bit and swiss chard in early May. These quick hoops are so inexpensive compared to the large hoop house, and easy for me to put up by myself–it seems like the more we have up, the earlier all these crops will pop up. I know there is a breaking point where the cost will not be recouped by the early income but I’m just not sure what that is yet. If we had planted more crops in the fall, we could have covered them and would be harvesting even more for sale right now. There is always next year…
Last Saturday we went to our first market for the season in Ann Arbor! We sold baby spinach (overwintered from last fall) and sunflower shoots. We sold out in about an hour! THats partially because we had so little, but partially because folks are pining for greens after a long winter!! It was great fun to be at market and see friends and familiar faces! Selling at market starts to feel like you are around family since you see the same people every week and support one another. I hope Plymouth Market feels the same!