The temperature has been up and down. At some points, we’re in shorts and tanks, and at others, in work pants and long-sleeved shirts. But the rain has held off; it’s been dry, for sure. Some veggies, like the peas, love this. They’ don’t want their roots to be in wet soil all the time. Other crops, like the newly sprouted carrots, need lots of water, so we’ve been setting the hose to them. Despite the temperature fluctuations and dry weather, however, we’ve accomplished a lot in the last couple of weeks.
Just this week, we re-skinned the the high tunnel greenhouse–the smaller of the two field greenhouses–with plastic. Kenneth devised an ingenious method. He laid out the plastic next to the structure, wrapped tennis balls in the plastic and tied ropes around the balls (so as to not puncture the plastic). Then a few people pulled the plastic up and over the ribs of the greenhouse. We secured one end with wooden slats, pulled the plastic taut, and secured the other side. Extra plastic hung off the end; we cut this up and used it for the doors and the ends.
Greenhouses need to be re-skinned every three to five years depending on how cloudy the plastic becomes. As the plastic starts to break down from sunlight and exposure, less light is transmitted through it. While the temperature is warmer in the greenhouse, which helps to grow plants sooner and quicker, without good light transmittance, the potential for smaller veggies and lower yields increases.
Bed prep continues. If you looked out over the fields recently, you probably saw the winter rye becoming taller. Winter rye is a grain with an extensive root system that helps to hold soil in place, and when tilled in, it puts much-needed bio-matter back into the earth. Now we’ve mowed down the winter rye, and we’re preparing, among other crops, our large nightshades – tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. Next we’ll turn over the beds and put that lovely green crop where it can be of use. (If you would like to get in some work hours this week, come help us plant them on Saturday from 10am-noon and 2-4 pm.)
The most impressive feat in these last couple of weeks was the planting of the potatoes. In only two days, and with sharers and volunteers from Boston Cares, we planted over a mile’s worth of potatoes (specifically, 6,200 feet, or 1.2 miles)! Look for gold, white , blue and red potatoes during the season. They are categorized as early, mid, or late potatoes with harvest days ranging from 80 or 90 days to 120 days. We planted the early varieties at the top of the field, and as they become ready to harvest, we can work our way down to the other varieties, which will be maturing right when we get to them.
We also want to give a big shout out to MathWorks for sending a large crew over last Friday for an entire day. We planted lettuce, bok choi, and kale, all in a 200-foot bed, planted tomatillos and mulched those beds, weeded the new strawberry beds, handed weeded the leeks and other onions at the parkland, planted flowers, cleaned used planting trays, staked 10 beds of peas, moved a pallet of stakes in preparation for the new sheds, and did some odd and ends clean up. They were farm-crazy amazing! Thank you for all your help!
Thank you to all those, too, who came out to do work hours. The farm doesn’t run without you all. Can’t wait to see more of your smiling faces!
See you in the fields!
Seth (who’s beard also needs watering from time to time)