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Transplants and Wintering Crops

Last week I shared about why and how we transplant.  I grimaced when I shared how an overly warm spring day could wipe out weeks of work by cooking small transplants and or how a slug can eat their way through hundreds of transplants in an evening. You can read it on our blog if you missed it. Well after last week, I have a new potential disaster to add to the trials of growing transplants. 

I was heading out to the greenhouses to check on the onion transplants. On my way, I checked in on the garlic. What a beautiful crop. The green tops look really vibrant and healthy. We have great germination on that planting. All signs point to a great crop in July. 

I also noticed that the wintery weather has been kind to our overwintering chard and kale crops. I am thinking that this will be the last picking/harvest for these two beauties, but if the quality is still good in a month or so, we will certainly harvest them again. Winter imparts a sweetness to chards and kales that has always drawn me to plant them every winter. This year it has worked perfectly – enjoy!

After checking out the garlic and greens, I looked in on the swallow houses. Should have a few new residents soon. Swallows and other birds are really important to the farm’s ecosystem. They eat their weight in insects every day! 

At about that moment, I glanced at the greenhouses and …. all was not well. We use a combination of sawhorses, 2×4 supports and pallets as temporary tables to hold our transplant trays. When you look in the greenhouses from outside, you can see the “tables” through the plastic. As I approached, it was obvious that eight feet of tables had collapsed and so did 20 trays of onions ☹ Ugh! Not all was lost. We were able to salvage 50% of the onion transplants. We can also reuse the potting soil for other transplants. The thing we can’t salvage is time. We lost 3 weeks of work.

In my 2 decades of farming, I have learned that stuff happens and since I can’t go backwards, I assess, develop a plan of action and move forward. Sometimes a crop gets set back like the onions and sometimes a crop is a bumper crop like the overwintering chards and kales. I do know one thing, if I don’t plant there won’t be a harvest. 

Time to get planting again!

Enjoy those greens!