Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Turnips Timing: How choosing when to sow turnip seeds can change everything


As we continue on into the early spring we begin to analyze the last of our winter decisions in the greenhouse.  This is a key moment, soon we will be back into our high season production and the increase in work is dramatic.  The time of growth and development of each plant will transition from weeks to mere hours.  Back in early February, we seeded a bed of mixed mustards.  It was not only the most beautiful bed I've worked with, but also the most unique in it's practicality.  We seeded the slower growing 'Hakurei' turnips with the fast-paced Ruby Streaks micro mustard green, both in the same plant family Brassicaceae.  Ruby streaks was cut out first leaving 6 evenly spaced rows of turnips to grow in and produce delicious and round turnip roots as pictured above.  This planting could not have come out any better.  It is almost a joke for me to try and explain how good it feels to set out on an unknown path for the first time and find a result as gratifying as this.  The boost in confidence is incredible and the growth and knowledge from the experiment is truly satisfying.  But what may be the most interesting finding from this turnip test is the comparison to...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pic of the Week: Oregon Giant Snow Pea


Our first Oregon giant snow peas.  The warmth in the propogation space makes all the difference as our one pea plant has already started to produce flowers and seeds.  Sweet, tender and delicious as advertised.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pea update


This weekend we truly welcomed in spring with the first 12 hour day of sunlight.  The movement and pace on the farm is changing.  The work days grow longer and I've started to finally feel how connected farming is to nature.  My schedule is very much a product of the sun, the moon and the earth, among other factors.  It was not all that long ago, I was fighting to get in my last transplants or soil bed preparations finished by a 4:30pm sunset and now it's 6:00pm before I know it and the sun is still hanging around long enough to let me get in my last tasks and still have time to sit and enjoy the greenhouse peacefulness.  The added heat and light increase the thirst of not just the plants, but the farmers as well.  Watering has increased more than twice as long in minutes per day and days per week and I've also noticed my water intake increase.  Distant memories of last summer pop into my head, it seemed as though we watered all day every day then, but in the winter, I found myself at times going a week or two without watering at all.  Earlier in the week, we discussed the increasing amount of bolting.  In many cases, the bolting is a sign that we will have to remove the remaining winter crops from the ground and prepare for the new wave of seedlings being brushed onto the soil.  For some plants, this surge is just what we've been waiting for.  Our pea experiment is prime for action as we've noticed a few of our stray plants starting to flower.  Last time we spoke about peas, I had just finished building my first trellis and we discussed the genetics experiment where we will be attempting to cross a purple podded pea with a sweet, tender green snow pea with the goal of developing a purple tender snow pea similar to the green Oregon Giant snow pea we love, but in order to begin, we need the peas to flower.  Interestingly enough...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Winter Pickin': How sunlight affects flavor


With the winter nearing its end, many changes have taken place on the farm.  The fields and terrace gardens have thawed and been plowed, the greenhouse reemay has finally been taken down and new life is starting to emerge all around us.  Spring is near or should I say, spring is here.  As we take our last cuts of this beautiful rainbow...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pic of the Week



Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Blurriness to Clarity: Take another look


Why is it that when we are introduced to something new we may struggle to see its individuality?  When I first came to the greenhouse all the plants looked the same, all the weeds looked the same.  It was difficult to do anything but generalize them all as plants and not go any further simply because their individual identities were not yet a part of my reality.  As I have spent countless hours learning, working and caring for them while respectfully battling weeds fighting for their fair share of sun and soil nutrients, I have come to see them all as individuals.  All unique in their own right, fighting communally, but wielding their specific strengths in an attempt to thrive.  It's funny to me because I can think back and apply this to many situations I have entered when at first everything looked like a blur, but by continuing to dig deeper and learn more, the uniqueness, individuality and originality always seems to shine through over time.  They say that first impressions are most important, but so many relationships whether plant, human, career etc all evolve over time.  Perception is a funny thing.