Snow lingered on the farm fields this spring, giving us a late start in the fields. It finally melted away the first week in April, leaving the soil too wet to work until last week. Our plan had been to begin planting the last week in March: Our seedlings have been begging to be released from the confines of the greenhouse for two weeks!
Before we plant into the open farm fields, we give our seedlings a few days to toughen up. Seedlings spend their first 4-6 weeks inside the greenhouse, protected from extreme temperatures, direct sunlight and strong winds. Farmers wait on these seedlings hand and foot, tending to their water, nutrient and temperature needs, inspecting them frequent, and yes, even cooing over them:-). To get the seedlings ready for the harsher world of the farm field, we move them outside onto hardening off benches where they get a full dose of wind and sun for 3-5 days.
When the seedlings are toughened up, we load them onto the transplanter and head to the field to plant them into the soil. Last week we transplanted over 10,000 seedlings. And we’re just getting started!