Transplanting Time?

This year one of the goals here on the farm (UT organic farm) is to increase yields – especially for our CSA program. High yield is the ultimate goal for all farmers whether in organic or conventional systems. One way to increase yields and get a head start on the growing season is TRANSPLANTING. Studies have shown that transplanting eliminates unhealthy seedlings from crop/field production. Crops produced from transplant often lead to early yields, uniformity in growth sizes, and better weed control than direct seeding. There is a definite advantage in growing one’s own transplant as to purchasing. Purchasing cutback on greenhouse fuel and labor costs. Well, what if you do not have a greenhouse and instead of purchasing, you intend to produce your own transplants. The following is a “do it yourself” list for transplant production in organic farming/gardening:

1. Set your budget
2. Select crop varieties for growing season
3. Purchase certified organic seeds
4. Design a pre-test for seed germination (place a number of seeds
on a damped paper towel and place in a cool area)
5. Select the proper potting mix, NOT soil – certified organic
peat or other soil-less mixes (this allows for aeration,
germination, water holding capacity, etc)
6. Container for seedlings – seedling flats
7. Watering seeds demands high attention (avoid over and
under watering seeds)
8. Know the transplant age, growth stage, and possibly ideal
growth temperature of your crop selections (e.g. tomatoes:
transplant age 5-7wks, at growth stage ready to transplant,
must have buds but, no flowers, and temperature for day 75
degrees and night 65 degrees)
9. Keep potted seedlings in controlled environment at proper
temperatures during the days and nights

Happy Seedlings Awaiting TransplantTransplanting comes with so many advantages that benefits the farmer and the crops such as: enhanced uniformity for better growth, weather adaptation, reduce input costs compared to direct-seedling, decrease weeds, fast turnaround time, minimize labor cost (highly important), and lastly, less seeds usage – which reduce cost on seeds.

First market this Wednesday!

The garden fills up fast and it’s looking great. We’re elated to have such good looking stuff to bring to market. Our leafy greens like the lettuce, kale, and chard have been enjoying the mild temperatures as of late and are not only beautiful, but especially tasty. We will also have broccoli, beets, and plenty of kohlrabi ready along with green onions.

We’ve been busy making sure we have good looking stuff to bring to market all season, and getting plants in the ground is our main concern at this point. We’ve put in several hundred tomato and pepper plants, and are currently planting melons, cucumbers, and beans. Our potato plants are finally starting to creep up after taking their sweet time since being planted a month ago, but it looks like we’ll get a good crop.

In order to speed up the transplanting of peppers and eggplant, our team decided to use the water wheel. Mary and Jordan can be seen below plugging freshly dug holes with our transplants. The water wheel is pulled behind the tractor, poking holes with big spikes and filling them with water as it roles along. Not the fanciest machine, but it was really helpful and fairly easy to operate

 

 

So the season is off to a good start. Everyone is done with exams now so we’re putting in long days at the farm. The new crew of interns are doing an excellent job staying on top of things. We’ve been spreading a heavy layer of straw around plants and between rows to prevent  weed germination. Tomatoes are stakes and ready to be trellised. The garden is well under way to being one of our best! We’re really excited to see all of you at market on Wednesday!