The 2017 growing season is underway. I had started a ton of seedlings to have as teaching tools for the many seed starting workshops that I have done in the last month or so. ( 10 classes on seed starting this season). The first seeds were sown under the lights in my office seed start growing station in January.
At about a week or so of age, when the seedlings were at the true leaf stage of one or two leaves, I divided them and transplanted into cell packs.
The seedlings were allowed to grow in 1″ cells for another couple weeks. We had a really nice warm up lately and I knew I was going to be out of the office for a while for a conference so I took them to The Urban Farm to transplant. I picked a bed to use that was close to the parking lot to make use of the nice warm microclimate that the blacktop would provide. I had looked at the forecast to see the 60 degrees was going to go back to closer to normal. The first thing to do was terminate the cover crop to get a planting area.
The soil was awesome at this point. It had broken down further, was very friable and a nice dark color. Extremely easy to work, I could plant with my fingers and did not need a trowel.
I spaced the plants for planned harvest. The lettuce was on the edge and was on about 7″ centers. The broccoli alternated with lettuce on 10″ centers. As I harvest lettuce every other head, the remaining heads have room to get bigger, and when the lettuce comes out completely the broccoli can have that whole side of the bed to expand. The leaves will quickly make a canopy over the soil making a nice microclimate to shade the soil to conserve moisture and help prevent weed germination. Basic bio-intensive principals.
The whole bed was covered with medium weight row cover. This will allow water, air and 90% of sunlight to penetrate to the plants while providing frost protection as well as predator (deer and rabbit) protection in this time of little forage.
Now I need to see how the seedlings grow. If you remember back when the growing medium was added I had concerns of chlorosis as the pH of the growing medium was a little too sweet. The cover crop and ammonium sulfate should have corrected it, but I want proof before the May 1st target date. If everything goes well we should be able to start private sales of this produce in a few weeks.