Saturday, May 7, 2011


Last year the first planting, potatoes, took place on May 12. Today, May 7, marked the start of this seasons planting. First in the ground was kale and kohlrabi. Pictures to commemorate the event will be forthcoming. Though planting has started sooner than last season, things are behind where David would like them to be. Though there were a couple of glitches, the greenhouse was not heated as soon as desired being one, the wet weather was the biggest culprit. Over the past few days the weather has been glorious and David was able to work the soil, thus allowing for the start of planting. Planting will continue tomorrow and the cycle of the season is now well under way. More trays of plants will be moved from the greenhouse to the outside tables to 'harden' them in anticipation of planting and then there will be more seeding, germinating, growing, planting of the grown up plants and moving the now ready trays of plants outside; and so on for the duration of the season. There is a continuity and regularity to the farm season that is consistent and comforting.

The anticipation is that market season will start the beginning of June. With more specifics to come, Z Food Farm will be: at the Lawrenceville Farmers' Market on Saturdays (yes, the market is moving from Sunday to Saturday), at the Rittenhouse Square Market in Philadelphia, also on Saturday mornings, at the New Amsterdam Market in NYC on Sunday mornings, and at the farm on Wednesday and Friday afternoons. Whew! That should keep David and crew busy. David and Z Food Farm are looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones.

This shows how full the greenhouse was, and this picture was taken on April 6. Much of what you see here has grown up and was moved outside to be replaced by new trays.

These are the trays of plants that have been moved outside and are waiting to be planted.

These are hops rhizomes. Let's brew some beer! Actually is will be a couple of years before there will be enough hops to actually do some serious brewing.

"In botany a rhizome is a characteristically horizontal stem of a plant that is usually found underground, often sending out roots and shoots from its nodes. Rhizomes may also be referred to as creeping rootstalks or rootstocks.

If a rhizome is separated into pieces, each piece may be able to give rise to a new plant. This is a process known as vegetative reproduction and is used by farmers and gardeners to propagate certain plants. Examples of plants that are propagated this way include hops, asparagus, and ginger." (Wikipedia)

This is Red Russian Kale that survived the winter and was producing delicious baby sized leaves of kale. It was delicious.

This is David's 'new' tractor, a 1977 John Deere. The blue tractor from last year was not powerful enough to pull the various plows and other implements to work the field and plant the crops. David was in the position of borrowing Farmer Matt's tractor throughout last season. Matt was very generous with his tractor, but there were times when David was in need of a tractor at the same time that Matt was using it; David thus had to wait. While David will still need to be patient about when he borrows some of the implements (ie. a chisel plow), having his own tractor will minimize the amount of time that he will have to wait. And if you are concerned about the age of the tractor, have no fear, nothing runs like a Deere.

This is what the field looks like after being chiseled plowed. Chisel plowing is the first step in preparing the soil for planting. This type of plowing breaks apart the top layer of soil that has been compacted over the course of the winter.

This is what a chisel plow looks like.

Here is David using the disc plow. After the soil has been broken up by the chisel plow, the disc plow turns the soil and breaks it up even more. Following disc plowing the soil will be rototilled and then David will use an implement to lay the plastic 'mulch' that helps, somewhat, to minimize weeds. Just like rust, weeds never sleep.

And here's your hippy, dippy farmer wishing you all peace, love, and organic vegetables.

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