This week on the farm we are preparing to transplant spring seedlings. Just look at all those seedlings ready to go in the ground: spinach, curly kale, red curly kale, cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli. And now, the waiting game begins. The temperatures look to be steadying about where we would expect them this time of year: daytime average highs in the upper forties to lower fifties and nighttime lows near freezing, but most of the week is looking too soggy for planting. We will look for our first dry-enough window to begin transplanting outside. Meanwhile, we will begin moving seedlings to our cold frame for hardening off. This keeps plants from going into transplant shock, moving from a controlled environment like a greenhouse to harsher, more variable conditions outdoors. This past Friday and Saturday, we were able to catch up on all of our direct-seeded crops outside. Parsnips, spring carrots, snow peas, the first sugar snaps, direct seeded spinach, and early summer beets are planted. We also seeded the fields we used for late fall and winter vegetables into cover crop: mostly oats and clover, although we are doing a small trial plot of field peas.
We also received some good news at the end of last week. We have been granted our first commercial seed contract. We will be growing three varieties of seed for commercial sale next season for Sow True Seed, based in Asheville, NC. They have also asked us to grow out two rare seeds in their collection (an argyrosperma winter squash and a family heirloom ground cherry) that they hope to be able to give to seed farmers in 2017 and to offer in their catalog in 2018. We are both very excited to be able to participate in this meaningful work.