Posted by: A Part of the Solution | July 12, 2010

Succession Planting

It’s getting to be that time on the farm. We’re reaping what we seeded and sowed in the late winter and early spring. As we do so, the bare spots in the garden grow–and the yielding portion shrinks. Therefore, it’s time to put more stuff into the ground.

Of course, we’re a little shell-shocked by our mini-drought of eight weeks duration. Not that we didn’t need the object lesson the dearth of rain represented. What we learned, in our first season of farming, is to plan for many contingencies. Now we’re working with the local power company to get electrical service to our Ag(gricultural) well so that we can install drip irrigation in our vegetable fields. Handwatering really does mean standing over each plant with a hose and a sprinkler head attached for hours and hours each day. It’s not a good use of the otherwise skilled labor any pair of hands might represent to our workload. Drip irrigation uses less water more efficiently, and it doesn’t take an entire person out of the picture for the duration.

We’re righting ourselves, and the now semi-regular rains are helping to get us back on track. We’re also expecting an influx of WWOOF volunteers starting at the end of this very week. WWOOF is a well-established means of making our farm’s task list known to a broad assortment of persons wishing to spend some time volunteering on an organic, or sustainable, farm. The organization has spread to ninety countries in its forty years of existence. Our first volunteers are from China and Japan and will be staying here through the first week of August. Those extra hands will come in extra handy with all we have to do just now.

Because it really is time to decide what goes into the ground for the next round of growth. We’re still a little early for the fall harvest crops, so we’re trying to choose seeds that want to germinate when the soil and air are both hot and which will come to harvest readiness with good flavor and texture before mid-Autumn is upon us.

More beets, and chard are going to go into the ground. One staffer just put fifty pounds more of seed potato into the ground yesterday. We’re thinking more onions, shallots, leeks and carrots ought to be planted as well. We’re likely to try to get another round of basil going as well. I’m also considering which herbs have any chance of maturing at this point in the season. Probably I’ll put in more cilantro, since the first round is coming along nicely in this extreme weather–though I could wish we’d seeded more of it.

We’ve resorted to buying pepper and chili plants to put in, since they take so long from seed and we lost about a hundred (or more) plants to the drought. Hey, it was a choice and the tomatoes took precedence–for what seem to us to be obvious reasons. What else should go in now? Any thoughts?

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