Last week, I began removing all the remnants of last fall’s plantings in the greenhouse.
Finding worms is always a very good sign of healthy soil.
The chickens get to eat any leftovers. Nothing goes to waste!
On Sunday, Bill used the broadfork to loosen the soil. Then, Ross and Mike added compost and prepared the bed for planting — they put 12 rows of carrots in a 3 foot wide bed which was two passes with our 6-row seeder.
This year we are using all pelleted carrot seed. Carrot seed is so small that when you broadcast, it necessitates much thinning and waste of seed. This way, there’s hardly any thinning needed. This more than makes up for the added cost to purchase pelleted seed.
The bed was lightly watered, the soil tamped firmly to ensure no air pockets remained around the seeds, and then covered with black plastic. This cover will remain until the seeds have sprouted. We’ve found this method results in the best germination rate. Old timers used to cover their carrot seed with a board until germination!
We are filling this hoophouse entirely with carrots this year . Ya-ya’s, Napoli, Rainbow, and Danvers Half-Long varieties will eventually grow in the four beds here, with plantings at two week intervals from now until March. Once these babies have gotten a good start, by about April, we will move the greenhouse to the next plot where we will grow, among other things, about 100 feet of ginger. This normally tropically-grown crop is a new experiment for us. We really enjoyed the ginger we got from Noah Kellerman of Alprilla Farm last summer. He successfully grew it in his hoophouse in Essex last year. His ginger was delicious and gorgeous, and an awesome market draw.
The boys are making great progess on the construction of the second, larger greenhouse, and they are on track to getting it put up in time to plant an early greens crop inside. This greenhouse will also be moveable, and will be also used to grow tomatoes, eggplants and peppers this summer, after it’s moved off the early crop. Next, I’ll try to get some photos of Michael welding the steel used for the skids, or skis…