Today,we finished tilling the open beds and breaking up all the soil so that it is light and fluffy. This way, we can transfer some of the nutrient-rich new soil (graciously donated by Snow's Farm) into the beds. Unfortunately, there is still lettuce in some of the beds - so we have to wait until we harvest that lettuce to till those beds. We also watered all the beds as well as the flats inside the greenhouse. Inside the greenhouse, we use fish emulsion to water the seedlings. This helps reduce any "shock" they experience (for example, during transplanting, crops can sometimes go into shock from the transfer and die shortly afterwards; this fish emulsion reduces any of those negative effects and provides a better chance of the sprouts lasting). We are also constantly counting the number of tomato, pepper, leek, etc plants which are sprouting to keep an eye on our growth rate. Coming up, we will have to plant more lettuce (since there will be a harvest of the outside beds in a couple of weeks, we need to have new lettuce ready to be transplanted in place of this harvested lettuce), continue to water the garden by hand until the drip irrigation system is set up, and continue to monitor the tomato, pepper, chard, and leek sprouts.
Today, we finished tilling the rest of the beds. Although the new soil has not been brought in to the beds yet, we managed to break up all the compacted soil (which has been so tightly packed from the winter weather as well as from a full season of growing in the beds). We also, again, had to water the lettuce again since there has been virtually no rain and our drip irrigation system cannot be hooked up quite yet (the town worries about the weather getting cold again, like it is this week, and freezing the pipes).
We'll also hopefully have instructional videos up soon!!
Yesterday we had a garden expo, in which multiple gardeners (who either worked with community or school gardens) came to hear some of our ideas and share some of their own. As a result, we managed to continue this "network" of gardeners within the area, and we hope that this network will continue to grow. Today, we had to water the lettuce since the tarps are no longer covering them (it would be much to hot for the lettuce under the tarps in this weather!). We also managed to till some of the beds and break up the soil clumps in the beds in preparation for the soil delivery we should be receiving tomorrow. This new soil will be mixed in with the old; the combination of the new soil, the tilling, and the breakdown of the winter rye in the beds should give us fantastic growing soil.
Today we direct seeded 6 types of carrots and 3 types of beets into a garden bed (each type has its own, labeled section). Luckily, since these are root crops, we do not have to cover the bed with plastic. Of course, now that the weather is warmer, we have to remember to take the plastic covering off the other beds if the day gets above about 50 degrees. This is because if the temperature gets too high, the lettuce can roast underneath the plastic. Inside, more tomatoes were planted. We also managed to till some of the other beds and bury the winter rye growing in the beds. This weed, when buried, will decompose and provide nourishment for future crops. All is well!
Today we transplanted two more flats of lettuce so that we have lettuce at all different stages. This way, lettuce will be harvested at different points going forward so that we have a continual harvest. We also planted more tomatoes in the 50 count flats which will be ready for transplanting into pots in a few weeks. Finally, we transplanted some of the carrots from the soil blocks into the beds outside. We made sure to plant the carrots into the bed closest to the building since this bed receives much of the heat from the building. We plan to continue at this rate for the rest of the year in order to maximize our harvest!
Today we managed to plant 9 more 50 count flats of tomatoes! These will be kept in the greenhouse; in a few weeks, we'll then transplant them into the larger pots which will also be kept in the greenhouse. In addition, we transplanted two 80-count flats of lettuce into a miniature greenhouse which encases a bed of soil. This way, the lettuce will stay warm, but will also have room to grow. Finally, we managed to clean out some of the beds in the garden so that they will be ready for carrots, lettuce, etc. As the garden picks up, we'll be posting updates on our progress. Soon, we even hope to upload videos of exactly how to plant/transplant lettuce and
As of yesterday, another two flats of lettuce have gone in the ground. So far, we have three beds covered with plastic tarps, and we expect to fill the rest of these beds with lettuce flats next week. Luckily, we don't have to worry about these lettuce plants: the plastic tarp not only keeps the bed about 10 degrees warmer than the surrounding environment, but the tarp also catches the evapotranspiration from the plant so that it condenses on the tarp and then "rains" down again on the lettuce. This way, the lettuce plants almost water themselves. We also managed to plant three different types of tomatoes in the greenhouse in 50 count flats. In a few weeks, we'll then transfer these plants into larger pots so that they can grow even more (the final step to this process would be to transplant the lettuce from the pots to the actual beds in the garden). On Tuesday, we'll also plant more tomato plants in the greenhouse in the 50 count flats. Finally, the carrots are growing nicely in the greenhouse and should be ready for transplant over the next couple of weeks. For these root crops, we used a soil blocker so that we could safely transplant the whole block of soil (roots intact) without causing stress to the carrot plant. We hope for 2012 to be a big year, so we're starting off strong.