It’s been a busy week at the farm as spring is truly pushing the winter-like weather behind us. From ripping out a honeysuckle fence-row, seeding summer squash, attaching plastic to the high tunnels, cleaning beehives, seeding more crops, and transplanting, the farm crew has been hard at work knocking out projects right and left. It has been quite a dance with the weather, as it always is in the spring, but the spring transplants braved it through some cold nights last weekend to “harden-off” and be ready for transplanting. “Hardening-off” is the process in which we slowly introduce the transplants to the variable outdoors by setting them outside (but still in their flats) to become exposed to the direct sunlight, the wind and extreme temperatures. This is a period of adjustment before we put them out in the field. Besides some minor sunburned leaves and windy weather, they passed the test and got transplanted this past Thursday when the soil finally dried out enough. The best time to transplant is late afternoon, not allowing the plants to wilt in the heat of mid-day. So after soaking them with plenty of water and fish emulsion (an organic fertilizer to stimulate root development and growth) we got started late afternoon and planted into dusk, with Dr. Mark Williams and Dr. Krista Jacobsen pitching in a hand with the last few beds. With the further rain this weekend, I’m confident we will see delicious vegetables maturing in no time.
Be sure to check out all the pictures on the Flickr page, in a new set titled “Transplanting 2011”. The pictures above highlight the ‘before’ and ‘after’. Aren’t all those colors of green just beautiful? What you see are: Broccoli, Cabbage, Kohlrabi, Collards, Chinese Cabbage, Joi Choi, Green Onions, Lettuces…as these are the cold-hardy crops and the last chance of frost in Kentucky hasn’t passed us quite yet.